If you’re suffering from heart disease you’ll definitely want to make the switch to a plant-based diet. Research published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases found that a plant-based diet slashes mortality risk from heart disease by a whopping 40 percent. If a drug could do that it would be considered a miracle drug.
Even if you’re eating a plant-based diet, some foods are still better than others and should make up the bulk of the foods you eat. Here are my top picks for the 15 best foods to eat if you have heart disease.
Research published in the medical journal Nitric Oxide found that consuming more nitrates, which are prevalent in beets, is helpful in the treatment of hypertension. Naturally-occurring nitrates are converted in your body to nitric oxide, compounds that improve blood pressure.
Blueberries are among the foods with the highest concentration of these flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins give blueberries their rich blue color and act as antioxidants that destroy free radicals linked to heart disease.
Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 4915mg of heart-healing, inflammation-reducing Omega 3s, making these tiny seeds a huge benefit for those suffering from heart disease.
A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that taking 120 mg of cinnamon daily (that’s a fairly low dose since one teaspoon equals about 2600 mg of cinnamon) resulted in lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, offering heart health benefits.
Rich in fiber that helps reduce excessive levels of cholesterol, one ounce of flax seeds contains a whopping 6388mg of Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids boost heart health by reducing inflammation in the blood vessels that would otherwise be repaired with plaque.
If you’re suffering from heart disease you’ll want to load up on your favorite greens, including: kale, lettuce, parsley and spinach. That’s because research in the journal Atherosclerosis found that some vegetables are better than others in preventing condition. Vegetables with a high lutein content, like leafy greens, were particularly beneficial in reducing heart disease and in treating the condition after it has formed.
Pomegranates support great heart health. Their ruby-red color provides visual cues to the high levels of antioxidants present in the fruit. These antioxidants help protect artery walls from free radical damage and reduce the likelihood of arterial plaque. Researchers found that pomegranate juice on atherosclerosis and determined that therapeutic intervention with antioxidant polyphenols contained in pomegranate juice had both preventive and corrective effects.
Research published in the Journal of Food Science found that many varieties of radishes and radish sprouts offer a wealth of nutrients, particularly ones known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a group of plant nutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as cholesterol-regulating, and blood vessel relaxing properties.
Red Cabbage Microgreens
Research in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that microgreens grown from red cabbage may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The researchers found that red cabbage microgreens lowered lipids and inflammatory compounds called cytokines linked to heart disease.
Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that adding the herb rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) to your diet can also help treat heart disease. The researchers found that compounds naturally present in rosemary have significant anti-inflammatory effects, which is an underlying factor in heart disease.
Oats have been well-established at reducing harmful markers for heart disease, including lowering cholesterol. A study conducted by the University of Washington study found that eating whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease. They found that people with a low intake of whole grains were more likely to die from heart disease.
Red and purple grapes are high in a compound called resveratrol which is a potent anti-inflammatory, making these fruits an excellent choice for heart disease. Resveratrol tends to improve the dilation of blood vessels, which may allow blood to flow more easily through blood vessels. It also relaxes the walls of the blood vessels, which may help to lower blood pressure.
Quinoa, a staple of the ancient Incas who revered it as sacred, is not technically a whole grain but the seed of an herb. However, like many whole grains it can help reduce heart disease risk. It is high in magnesium which is needed to maintain strong heart health.
Lycopene found in tomatoes are well-known for their ability to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Lycopene also tends to prevent clumping in the blood (known as platelet aggregation) which is a risk factor for atherosclerosis.
A study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington found that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by nearly half. The scientists also found that a low intake of nuts and seeds was the leading dietary risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), accounting for 11.6 percent of deaths due to CVD. Walnuts are particularly great because they are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation throughout the body, including within the arteries.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Cancer-Proof: All Natural Solutions for Cancer Prevention and Healing. Follow her work.