There are certain cardio-healthy foods that can truly act as medicines to your body’s blood vessels and these are best foods to eat to reverse any existing heart conditions or to keep any incoming ones at bay. Below is a list of foods that you may want to start eating if you want to help your heart stay in tiptop shape.

1. Break-up with Soft drinks

Statistics have listed an astounding figure of 180,000 people who die each year worldwide due to consumption of sugary drinks, particularly sodas. About 45,000 of those deaths are results of heart attacks. Heart dilemmas may set in because people who are prone to drinking too much carbonated drinks tend to gain excess weight, become diabetics, and then suffer from premature heart blockages as time goes by. Soft drinks are also known culprits for elevated blood sugars, which coat fats and proteins and convert them into a harmful form that can damage your arterial vessels. Researchers from the Harvard University, who have been studying around 40,000 doctors and 88,000 nurses in a span of nearly 20 years, have found out that women who consumed more than two servings of sugary beverages on a daily basis were 40% more likely to develop heart disease than those women who drank fewer. And those men who drank more sodas were 20% more prone to having heart attacks than those who drank very little amounts of carbonated drinks.

Power Prescription: Just give up soda. If you drink several servings of these per day, then try to be realistic. Start swapping a glass for iced tea or try to dilute it by mixing ½ glass with seltzer. Drink less and less soft drinks over time until you’ve reached zero servings in a day.

2. Eat a lot of veggies

Nearly everything you can procure from the produce section of a local market is good for your body. Plant foods are ultra rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and special phytonutrients—all of which are good for your heart.

Power Prescription: Eat a serving more of fruits and veggies than you had the previous day and try to keep this up for an entire week. Next week, try to add another serving. Keep on doing this week after week until you’ve surpassed five servings. Ideally, you should keep adding to your servings until you’re
somewhere in between 8-12 servings.

3. Leafy greens

Beets, lettuce, arugula, spinach and kale are all packed with nitrates—a form of nitrogen that these plants absorb from the soil. During the process of digestion, the nitrates are converted into nitric oxide—an important gas that makes your arteries resist contraction, blood coagulation and plaque development so strokes and heart attacks won’t occur.

Power Prescription: Add greens to your meals (if you can) and by these we mean your sandwiches, smoothies and whatever else you can possibly think of.

4. Spices and Herbs

A lot may not know this, but many spices and herbs serve as good medicine for the body. Spices and herbs are plant concentrates, meaning, they contain the same protective compounds that plants use to ward off diseases and pests. When people consume these chemicals from spices, they too protect the
cells in our body from infections. Garlic is best known to help in reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels and lowering the risks of developing heart diseases. The curcumin in turmeric can aid in reducing blood sugar levels, triglycerides and cholesterol as well. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory compound, and sweet spice cinnamon improves blood flow.

Power Prescription: Sprinkle some apple pie spice (contains nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves) on your oatmeal, fruits and even in your regular cup of joe.

5. SMASH fish

There are certain types of fish that can be rich sources of the heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to help in reducing inflammation, lowering triglyceride levels, stabilize heart rhythm disturbances and also aids in reducing blood pressure. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent plaque build-up in arteries. To remember which kinds of fish to go for, remember SMASH: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring.

Power Prescription: You may want to try eating fish twice a week. Avoid large varieties like swordfish as they contain a high concentration of mercury which can be detrimental to the health.

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