Today, we look at 10 heart-healthy foods that prevent and even reverse heart disease.
Number 10. Papaya.
Find this tropical fruit at your local market to add its incredible health benefits to your daily meals!
One medium papaya provides 224% of your recommended daily value (RDV) of vitamin C. It also contains high levels of fiber and potassium.
Vitamin C is needed to manufacture collagen – the “glue” that connects your tissues and cells. It keeps your arteries strong, yet pliable, as they flex and contract with the pulsing of blood.
When there is a deficiency of vitamin C, tears appear in the arteries and your body packs cholesterol into these cracks.
Over time, cholesterol builds up into plaque, especially if you eat refined carbs and unnatural fats that are “sticky” like margarine, corn oils, and vegetable oils.
Vitamin C helps to repair damaged arterial walls, and thus prevent hardening of the arteries, lower blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar.
To get these cardioprotective benefits, eat vitamin C from whole foods and NOT ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is water soluble, which means you must get what you need from your diet every day.
Runners up in vitamin C content are not citrus, as you might expect. Bell peppers (157% of daily value), broccoli (135%), and Brussels sprouts (129%) give you far more of this essential heart nutrient than citrus!
Number 9. Pomegranate.
This exotic fruit contains highly beneficial compounds not found in any other food.
Punicalagin and punicic acid showed scientifically proven results in lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol, removing plaque blockages by 30%, and regulating blood pressure by a whopping 12% across study participants.
These results are based on participants consuming one ounce of pomegranate juice per day for one year. Some patients saw results in as little as two weeks.
The control group that didn’t consume the juice saw a 9% INCREASE in arterial plaque over the course of the study.
Pomegranates are anti-inflammatory, which is a key bio-marker for heart disease.
This fruit not only brings your LDL cholesterol down, it prevents LDL from oxidizing or breaking apart.
Oxidized cholesterol floats in your bloodstream and ultimately clings to arterial walls.
Number 8. Eggs.
One of the best things you’ll find in eggs is vitamin K2, also called menaquinone. Different from vitamin K, K2 is in a category by itself.
Egg yolks contain 30X more vitamin K2 than egg white. And eggs from pastured chicken contain more K2 than grain-fed chickens in cages.
Vitamin K1, which is called phylloquinone, is mostly found in leafy green vegetables. It’s required by your liver to manufacture blood-clotting proteins.
Vitamin K2 is responsible for calcium allocation. It helps to move calcium away from the blood vessels and kidneys to the bones and teeth where it is needed.
This is important to prevent coronary artery calcification. The longer your body has calcium floating around without a home, the more likely that it will end up as plaque.
Your body converts K1 to K2, but it doesn’t do it efficiently, so you need it pre-formed.
In one Danish study involving 53,000 adults over 21 years, those with the highest levels of vitamin K1 and K2 intake, were 21% less likely to be hospitalized for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
You’ll also find vitamin K2 in natto, grass-fed butter, goose liver, sauerkraut, dark meat, eel and cheese.
Number 7. Curcumin.
Curcumin is the source of the bright yellow and orange coloring of curry dishes. There are over 3,000 scientific studies on this special compound found in turmeric root.
The health benefits for your entire body are incredible because of its ridiculously effective anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric prevents your arteries from hardening and developing fatty deposits.
Adding turmeric to your diet can help reduce inflammation and damage to your endothelium or artery lining, which are leading causes of plaque buildup and blood clots.
Not only is curcumin powerful by itself, it also improves the activity of other antioxidants in your body!
Number 6. Spinach.
Organic spinach is one of the best sources of natural magnesium. Every cell in your body requires magnesium to live.
This essential element is needed for muscle tissue and nerve repair, metabolizing glucose, regulating insulin response, and is especially critical to the heart.
That’s because magnesium is involved in the biochemical reactions in your heart muscle that generate your heartbeat.
Studies have shown that people with higher levels of magnesium have fewer incidents of hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.
Conversely, magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), endothelial dysfunction (damage to the arterial lining), and sudden cardiac death (SCD).
One serving of spinach provides almost 40% of your RDV and is high in other nutrients as well. In the United States, experts believe that as much as 80% of the population is magnesium deficient.
Other excellent sources of magnesium are pumpkin seeds, lima beans, almonds, avocados and dark chocolate with 75-85% cocoa.
Number 5. Krill Oil.
Considered almost 50% more potent than fish oil, krill oil is used more efficiently by your body. That means every dose provides greater heart health benefit- without the “fishy” burps.
Krill oil is packed with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — omega-3 fatty acids long recognized as necessary for a well-running heart.
Omega-3s lower both cholesterol and triglycerides. Even in people with normal triglyceride levels, omega-3s can reduce inflammation and high blood pressure and the risk of atherosclerosis.
Other outstanding sources of heart-healthy omega-3s are sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, seaweed, and algae (spirulina and chlorella).
Number 4. Garlic.
Freshly cut or chopped garlic is one of nature’s most powerful protections against heart disease, diabetes and many other serious illnesses.
All forms of garlic are good for you and add layers of flavor to a variety of dishes.
However, only fresh garlic emits hydrogen sulfide when chopped or crushed. The gas dissipates when garlic is cooked, dried, or processed.
This compound relaxes your blood vessels, which keeps your blood pressure in check. Garlic also increases nitric oxide, which dilates your blood vessels.
The primary sulfur compound found in garlic is called allicin. It also has significant levels of vitamin B, vitamin C, and manganese.
Studies show that garlic naturally lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol, and is just as effective in reducing hypertension and slowing the buildup of arterial plaque as ACE inhibitor drugs.
Number 3. Coconut Oil.
Don’t listen to the hype about the saturated fat content in coconut oil.
Studies have proven time and again that the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil are used by your liver for clean fuel called ketone bodies.
This unique property creates better energy levels that result in more efficient fat-burning – as much as 120 more calories per day.
In places of the world where the coconut is a staple of daily diet, the population is incredibly healthy. They have fewer incidents of stroke or heart disease while consuming 60% of their calories from coconut.
Despite being 90% saturated fat, coconut oil helps to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
Some studies have found that it lowers triglycerides and reduces visceral abdominal fat – a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Number 2. Green Tea.
This is the one drink you need for total body wellness. This ancient beverage does more than improve brain function, prevent neurodegenerative disease, and fight cancer.
Any type of green tea will do, so long as it’s loose leaf – and preferably organic. Black tea and oolong tea are also excellent for heart health.
The results of a study of 40,530 Japanese adults showed that people who drank more than five cups of green tea a day had a 26% lower risk of death from heart attacks and strokes compared to those who drank less than one cup a day.
Polyphenols found in the tea leaves, called catechins, fight oxidative stress and inflammation that are major underlying causes of many diseases, including heart disease. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the major active catechin in green tea.
Drinking three cups a day is shown to ease hardening of the arteries, regulate cholesterol levels, and reduce body-wide inflammation.
Number 1. Grass-Fed Beef.
If you’re a meat eater, the type of meat you eat is just as important as how much you eat. Grass-fed cattle are raised on grass, and don’t have any antibiotics or growth hormones. The result is beef with lower unhealthy fat, higher levels of healthy fats such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), more omega-3s, and more nutrients overall.
Commercially raised cattle eat grain feed with a history of bacterial contamination, junk fillers, and GMO ingredients such as corn.
Lean meat with a fat content of less than 10% is best for your heart. The L-carnitine content is the highest in beef. Other lesser sources include seafood, chicken, and dairy products, but red meat has more than triple of this valuable nutrient.
Carnitine is an amino acid that helps get fat cells to where they’re needed for energy. It has been effective in controlling weight, reducing the risk of heart attack, sharpening cognition, and helping the body use oxygen and nutrients more efficiently.
Our bodies can make carnitine, but production decreases as we age.
In several studies, carnitine has been shown to increase the chance of survival after a heart event and improve tolerance of exercise in patients with angina or chest pain.
It also helps regulate LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and lowers amounts of lipoprotein (a), which places diabetics at a higher risk of stroke and heart failure.
Another huge bonus of grass-fed beef is that it contains coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – another incredible nutrient that is primarily found in beef, poultry, and seafood. A deficiency of CoQ10 is common in patients who experience severe heart events.
Post-surgery, CoQ10 aids in healing and better blood flow throughout the heart muscle. This enzyme also regulates hypertension and relieves chest pain. You can supplement these vital nutrients if you aren’t a meat eater. However, if you love the occasional steak, choose grass-fed beef as a nutritional boost.