7 Essential Foods for a Healthy Heart
They say our second brain lies in our heart. This is because our hearts are at the centre of our cardiovascular systems and are responsible for almost every function of the body. From transporting oxygen, to ensuring a healthy immune system, the heart does it all. Why do we ignore it then?
Very often, in the pursuit of making a daily living, we forget about the health of our dear hearts. A quick take away lunch or dinner from our local restaurant has become a weekly affair for most of us, owing to the paucity of time. In the bargain we lose out on so much, starting with a healthy heart. A lot of us believe that a good run or an hour at the gym could take care of that. But exercise is just one side of the coin. It is scientifically proven that our food choices go a long way in influencing our health. In other words, ‘we are what we eat’. Thus, in commemoration of World Heart Day on September 29th, we have put together a list of super foods that can be included in your diet for heart and will help keep you ‘heart healthy’.
Let’s begin with breakfast. One of the most sought after breakfast items, oats are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Rich in fibre, this superfood can help lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear if consumed regularly in your diet for heart.
Almonds and Walnuts
Perfect for a mid-morning snack, these nuts are not just tasty but are filled with the goodness of Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, mono and polyunsaturated fats. You could even chop these fine and sprinkle them over your salads for a more crunchy eating experience.
Also known as the wonder food, flax seeds are a perfect example of the power of small. Known to fight heart diseases and maintain optimal heart health these seeds are best eaten raw. High in Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and lignans (a group of chemical compounds found in plants that are high in antioxidants and support the immune system), flax seeds can be eaten as a snack or even sprinkled over a salad in your diet for heart.
Quinoa, which is another name for Inca Rice, is considered to be one the world’s healthiest foods. Packed with all the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre, quinoa is one of the only plant food that is a complete protein. Great for a lunch do, quinoa is a super versatile ingredient that you could store in your kitchen and dish up as a salad, khichdi, dosa or even a burger.
The olive oil revolution began a couple of years back in India, owing to its proven health benefits. Along with giving a healthy glow to your skin, olive oil also looks after the health of your heart. Loaded with monounsaturated fats that are essential for optimal heart health, olive oil goes great with salads and stir fry’s and is thus perfect to be a part of your diet for heart.
Also known as the miracle herb due to the health benefits it provides, garlic adds an oomph to almost any dish it is added to. However, research shows that this herb is best consumed in its fresh form, since it generates hydrogen sulphide, a gas that functions as an intracellular signalling compound that protects the heart when consumed in small quantities.
Rich in Omega acids, salmon also contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant. Perfect to eat over dinner, salmon is light on the tummy as well as the heart. Eating this fish twice a week goes a long way in ensuring most than just heart health.