5 Plant Based Foods that Keep Your Heart Healthy
Eating more Plant Based foods can be an excellent way to improve heart health! Heart diseases account for more than one-third of all deaths around the globe. Diet and exercise both play a significant role in optimal heart health and can have a positive impact on reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. You might already know that consuming certain foods can decrease your risk, it’s often challenging to change your lifestyle and eating habits.
Whether you simply want to fine-tune your diet or have years of unhealthy eating under your belt, here are some plant-based heart-healthy diet tips to maximize your heart health.
Plant Based Food #1: Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy greens like kale, coriander, collard greens, and spinach are famous heart-healthy foods. They are well known for their wealth of nutrition profile that contains potent vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. In particular, they are a source of vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect your blood vessels and promotes blood circulation and proper blood clotting.
Studies have shown that eating more leafy green vegetables can decrease arterial stiffness, reduce blood pressure, and improve the function of cells and tissues lining the blood vessels.
Plant Based Food #2: Whole Grains
All three nutrient-rich parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients. Whole wheat, brown rice, rye, oats, barley, quinoa, and buckwheat are some of the well-known whole grains – thanks to their numerous health benefits. These plant based foods are so versatile!
Compared to refined grains, whole grains like rye, oats, barley are high in fiber. Multiple studies have found that whole grains with high fiber content may help reduce “bad” cholesterol, improve good cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart diseases.
- Pro Tip: When looking for whole grains, make sure to carefully read the label and ingredients list. Phrases like “whole wheat” and “whole grain” indicate that a product contains whole-grains, while words like “multigrain” and “wheat flour” may not.
Plant Based Food #3: Berries
Looking for plant based foods that are also sweet and tasty? Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed full of essential nutrients that play a significant role in improving heart health. Berries are also rich in polyphenols and antioxidants like anthocyanins, which are proven to protect against the inflammation and oxidative stress that may contribute to the onset of heart diseases.
Studies show that eating different varieties of berries can reduce risk factors for heart and metabolic diseases. For example, a recent study of 27 participants with metabolic syndrome revealed that drinking a beverage made of strawberries for at least ten weeks decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol by 11%!.
Plant Based Food#4: Beans
Garbanzo beans, cranberry beans, kidney beans, and flat beans are some of the healthiest plant based foods that are heart-friendly. Multiple studies recommend eating beans to reduce certain risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, eating different varieties of beans has been linked to reduced inflammation and blood pressure, both of which are primary risk factors for heart disease.
Plant Based Food #5: Seeds
Hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are all rich sources plant based foods with heart-healthy nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Numerous studies have shown that adding seeds to your diet is beneficial for heart health and can improve many cardiovascular disease risk factors, including blood pressure, inflammation, triglycerides, and cholesterol. For example, flaxseeds are rich in arginine, an essential amino acid that has been linked to reduced levels of certain inflammatory markers.
The Bottom Line
With the emergence of new evidence, the link between heart disease and dietary modifications is growing stronger. According to a famous saying, “you are what you eat,” your nutritional choices can influence every aspect of heart health, from cholesterol levels and triglycerides to blood pressure and inflammation.
Including these plant based foods in your diet that are very heart-friendly can help keep your heart pumping and reduce your risk of developing heart diseases.