Heart disease remains the single biggest killer of all Australians.
In a recent study from Emory University, researchers found that more than half of all heart disease-related deaths could have been prevented with a small handful of dietary changes.
By incorporating these heart-healthy foods into your diet you can turn back the clock on your heart and keep up with the kids!
1. DARK CHOCOLATE
That’s right chocoholics, you get to keep your dessert! Studies have shown that the cocoa in dark chocolate is great for cardiovascular health.
This is due to the anti-inflammatory compounds – polyphenols and flavanols – that help to protect the heart by supporting cell production. Unfortunately, these benefits don’t extend to milk chocolate or other types of chocolate, sorry guys.
Opt for dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa to reap maximum benefits, and limit yourself to a few squares a day.
Tomatoes are one of the most consumed ‘vegetables’ in Australia, and that’s a good thing. Tomatoes are particularly rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that, unlike most nutrients in fresh produce, increases after cooking and processing.
Studies suggest a relationship between regular intake of lycopene-rich tomatoes and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, skin damage, and certain cancers.
Since the disease-fighting polyphenols in tomatoes occur in the skin, grape and cherry tomatoes are a healthier option.
Salmon is an amazing high-protein, low-calorie superfood to include in your diet. Not only this, but it’s great for your heart!
Studies have shown that foods high in Omega-3 fats are linked to better cardiovascular health.
Two servings of fatty fish per week, like Omega-3 rich salmon, has been proven to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.
4. SWEET POTATO
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives orange fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which can assist with the prevention of heart disease.
Change up your white potato for sweet potato, and keep the skin on! A sweet potatoes skin contributes significant amounts of fiber, potassium, and quercetin.
Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. Avocados are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health.
Try adding a small amount of the calorie dense fruit to your salad or meal to reap optimal benefits.