The American heart disease nutrition and lifestyle working group recently concluded that there is strong evidence that six foods are good for the heart.
Beans such as black beans, soya beans, peas, broad beans, lentils and chickpeas are rich in nutrition, low in fat and high in protein, rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber and active substances such as polyphenols and saponins, which help to reduce cholesterol. A meta-analysis of 25 studies found that eating 130 grams of soy a day reduced “bad cholesterol” (LDL) by 0.17 millimol/l and systolic blood pressure by 2.25 millimeters of mercury. The study also found that eating one cup of beans a day (about 200 grams) can reduce weight by 0.34 kilograms and total body fat by 0.34 percent.
Coffee is rich in bioactive polyphenols (mainly chlorogenic acids), caffeine (a stimulant alkaloid) and lots of mineral potassium. A 16-year study of 186,000 participants found that those who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had an 18% lower risk of early death, including cardiovascular death, than those who did not drink coffee. Drinking one cup of coffee a day also lowered the risk of early death by 12 percent. The main functions of polyphenols in coffee include reducing blood sugar concentration, inhibiting fat absorption and promoting the decomposition of triglycerides in adipose tissue.
Tea is rich in flavonoids and polyphenols antioxidants. A study involving 66 patients with coronary heart disease found that regular consumption of black tea can significantly improve vascular endothelial health and reverse vasomotor dysfunction in patients with coronary heart disease. A large-scale study of 200,000 men and 300,000 women in China found that drinking tea every day (any kind of tea) can reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease by 8 per cent and the risk associated with heart disease by 10 per cent. Experts say it is best not to add sugar, sweeteners or cream.
Numerous clinical studies have found that eating mushrooms regularly protects the heart. Mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and help increase vitamin D levels in the body. A variety of amino acids and beta-glucan (polysaccharides) from mushrooms prevent atherosclerosis, reduce blood pressure and lipids, and regulate the immune system. Regular consumption of mushrooms also reduces heart disease complications such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which have a protective effect, can be divided into Marine sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and plant sources of alpha-linolenic acid. The former mainly includes salmon, tuna, mackerel and other deep-sea fatty fish. A large analysis of 220,000 participants found that moderate fish consumption reduced the risk of death from coronary heart disease by 7 percent. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids mainly include green leafy vegetables, walnuts, canola oil and soybean oil, flaxseed oil, etc.
Foods rich in vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with serious blood and neurological problems. Several large prospective studies have found that vitamin B12 supplements reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and recurrence. Foods rich in this nutrient include lean meat and fermented soy products.
The researchers also stressed that added sugars and energy drinks were the most detrimental to heart health. The former increases the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, while the latter increases blood pressure, increases platelet aggregation, and increases the risk of arrhythmia.