10 Foods Known to Improve Heart Health

Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.
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The human heart is a muscular organ about the size of a fist, located just behind and slightly left of the breastbone. The heart pumps blood through the network of arteries and veins called the cardiovascular system. In this article, we’ll be discussing 10 foods that help greatly to improve heart health.

A heart-healthy meal is essential for a healthy heart, which is in turn essential for general well-being. At any age, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid heart disease and reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke. It’s never too late or too early to start caring for your heart. Understanding how the heart works will give you a greater incentive to live a heart-healthy life as you age.

How the Heart Works

Your circulatory system, which is a network of blood vessels that transports blood to every area of your body, is centered on your heart. Blood transports oxygen and other vital nutrients to all human organs, ensuring that they remain healthy and function properly.

The job of your heart, which is a muscle, is to pump blood throughout your circulatory system.

The heart is a wonderful organ. To keep you alive, it circulates oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. This fist-sized powerhouse beats 100,000 times every day, pumping five to six quarts of blood per minute, or almost 2,000 gallons per day.

Your heart is an important component of your cardiovascular system, which also includes all of your blood veins that transport blood from the heart to the body and back.

When you look at the outside of the heart, you can see that it is made up of muscle. Contracting (squeezing) the strong muscle walls pumps blood to the rest of the body. Coronary arteries run over the surface of the heart, supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. The superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and pulmonary veins are the three major blood vessels that enter the heart. The pulmonary artery leaves the heart and travels to the lungs, carrying oxygen-depleted blood. The aorta leaves the heart and transports oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

The heart is a hollow, four-chambered organ on the inside. A muscle wall called the septum separates the left and right sides. The heart is further divided into two top chambers, the atria, which receive blood from the veins, and two bottom chambers, the ventricles, which pump blood into the arteries.

How the Heart Pumps Blood

Your heart is divided into two separate pumping systems, the right side and the left side.

  • The right side of your heart receives oxygen-poor blood from your veins and pumps it to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide.
  • The left side of your heart receives oxygen-rich blood from your lungs and pumps it through your arteries to the rest of your body.

Blood flows through your heart and lungs in four steps:

  1. The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle through the tricuspid valve.
  2. The right ventricle pumps the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs through the pulmonary valve.
  3. The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle through the mitral valve.
  4. The left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood through the aortic valve out to the rest of the body.

What Could Happen if you Don’t Take Good Care of Your Heart

You may not have a family history of heart disease, but your bad behaviors could make you the first. Some of you may believe that you are too young to begin worrying about your heart health but trust us when we say that you don’t want to take chances with your heart.

Heart failure generally occurs after the heart has been injured or weakened by other disorders. Heart failure, on the other hand, can develop if the heart gets excessively rigid.

The main pumping chambers of the heart (the ventricles) may stiffen and fail to fill correctly between beats in heart failure. The heart muscle can be injured and weakened in some persons. The ventricles may enlarge to the point where the heart is unable to adequately pump blood throughout the body.

The heart can no longer keep up with the normal demands placed on it to pump blood to the rest of the body as time passes.

By measuring how much blood is pumped out with each beat, your doctor can evaluate how well your heart is pumping (ejection fraction). Ejection fraction is a metric that is used to classify and treat heart failure. The ejection fraction of a healthy heart is 50% or more, which means that each beat pumps out more than half of the blood that fills the ventricle.

Factors That Affect the Heart

1.     Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like molecule found in all of your body’s cells. Cholesterol is required by your body for the production of hormones, vitamin D, and chemicals that aid digestion. Your body produces all of the cholesterol that it requires. Cholesterol can also be found in animal-based meals including egg yolks, meat, and cheese.

If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can form plaque when it combines with other molecules in your blood. Plaque adheres to the inner surfaces of your arteries. Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of plaque. It can cause coronary artery disease, in which your coronary arteries constrict or become completely clogged.

2.     Uncontrolled blood pressure

When the average arterial blood pressure on a regular day is 130/80 mmHg or greater, it is considered hypertension. Hypertension causes the walls of big arteries (aorta, carotids) as well as smaller arteries (cerebral, coronary, renal, and retinal) to deteriorate over time, making the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body.

3.     Resting heart rate

Adults should have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute. In general, a lower resting heart rate indicates better cardiac function and cardiovascular fitness. A well-trained athlete, for example, would have a resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute.

Stress, hormones, and medication all have a bad impact on it. Getting in better shape can help save your life as well as lower your resting heart rate. Even among those who don’t have classic heart disease risk factors, studies have demonstrated that a greater rate is linked to a higher chance of mortality.

4.     High blood sugar level

If left untreated, having too much sugar in the blood for an extended length of time can lead to major health complications. Hyperglycemia damages the blood arteries that supply important organs, raising the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, visual issues, and nerve problems. These issues rarely appear in children or teenagers who have just had the condition for a few years. However, they can occur in adults with diabetes, especially if their diabetes has not been effectively managed or controlled.

5.     Cardiorespiratory fitness

Aerobic exercise can increase heart rate and endurance. Low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and death during the last three decades, according to growing research. High levels have been associated to a reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

How you can Improve Your Heart Health

  • Eat a lot of foods that have proven to be great for heart health, this of course includes a lot of fruits and vegetables. Start your day with some fruit and whole grains, such as oats, bran flakes, or whole-wheat bread.
  • Cut down as much as possible on alcohol and smoking
  • Meditating and yoga practices have been clinically proven to be great for heart health.
  • If overweight, losing weight can do a lot to improve your heart health, just a few pounds can make a difference.
  • Exercising is a great direction to go when looking to improve heart health. If you haven’t exercised in a while, a short walk is a good place to start. It’s a good way to get extra activity into your day if you do.

Foods Good For Heart Health

Diet has a significant impact on heart health and can influence your risk of heart disease. In reality, specific foods can affect blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, all of which are heart disease risk factors.

Below is the list of important nutrients the heart needs to stay healthy:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Monosaturated fats
  • Folate
  • Potassium

1.     Oranges

Oranges are good for heart health

Oranges can be consumed at any time and in any location. The fruit is minimal in calories and fats, and it has no cholesterol or saturated fats. Oranges are high in dietary fiber, tasty, and juicy, and they provide a long list of necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for general health.

This citrus classic is great for your heart. Orange flavonoids (naringenin and hesperidin, to name a couple) have been shown in studies to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They may also lower blood pressure and reduce the chance of developing atherosclerosis.

An orange has over 170 phytochemicals and over 60 distinct antioxidants! Another fascinating fact about oranges is that they are high in potassium, an electrolyte component that aids normal heart function. According to a new study, eating more citrus fruits like oranges and lemons can help you stay fit and reduce the negative impacts of obesity-related heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes.

2.     Nuts

Nuts are good for heart health

Almost every nut contains heart-healthy elements such as vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and unsaturated fats. They may help you lower your cholesterol, reduce inflammation, enhance the health of your blood vessels, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

The best part is that there are so many delicious ways to prepare them. You can eat them as snacks, add them to salads, eat them as nut butter, blend them into yogurt, or otherwise incorporate them into your diet. The most crucial thing, though, is that you consume them.

According to research, eating nuts can help you:

Reduce your triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels, which play a crucial role in the formation of plaques in your arteries, improve the health of your artery linings, lower levels of inflammation linked to heart disease, and reduce your chances of getting a blood clot, which can cause a heart attack and death.

Some of these nuts include:

  • Cashew nuts
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts

3.     Salmon

Salmon is good for heart health

Salmon is the common name for various ray-finned fish species belonging to the Salmonidae family. Trout, char, grayling, and whitefish are all members of the same family.

Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. This delicious fatty fish is not only high in nutrients, but it may also help to minimize risk factors for a variety of ailments. It’s also delicious, flexible, and abundantly available.

This cold-water fish is a great source of protein and is also packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to lessen inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body can cause blood vessel damage, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Omega-3 fatty acids may benefit heart health by:

  • Decreasing triglycerides
  • Lowering blood pressure slightly
  • Reducing blood clotting
  • Decreasing your risk of strokes and heart failure risk
  • Reducing irregular heartbeats

In general, eating at least two servings of fish per week, particularly omega-3-rich fish, appears to lower the risk of heart disease, especially sudden cardiac death. Here are some ways you can be creative with your fish: 5 ways to be creative with your fish

4.     Beans

Beans are good for heart health

Legumes like dry beans have been shown to improve serum lipid profiles in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). A growing body of evidence supports the positive effects of dietary legume consumption on health, particularly in relation to risk for CHD.

Beans contain resistant starch, which is resistant to digestion and fermented by your gut microbes. Resistant starch has been shown in animal tests to promote heart health by lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood. Eating beans has also been shown in multiple trials to lower some heart disease risk factors.

Eating pinto beans lowered blood triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in 16 participants in one trial. A diet rich in beans and legumes was also found to lower LDL cholesterol levels in an analysis of 26 research. Furthermore, eating beans has been related to lower blood pressure and inflammation, both of which are heart disease risk factors.

5.     Avocados

Avocados are good for heart health

Researchers have found that avocados may protect the heart in a similar way as olive oil and nuts do in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. They’re high in fiber (which can also help reduce cholesterol levels) and they have been associated with a decrease in metabolic syndrome.

Avocados are also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and a decreased risk of heart disease. One study examined the impact of three cholesterol-lowering diets on 45 overweight and obese persons, with one of the test groups eating one avocado per day. The avocado group had reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, notably tiny, dense LDL cholesterol, which is thought to increase the risk of heart disease dramatically.

6.     Olive Oil

Olive oil is good for heart health
Image credit: Afrimash

Saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and monounsaturated fats will all be present in some proportion in all oils. While one tablespoon of any oil will supply around 120 calories, the quality of these calories will vary. Butter, coconut oil, and hydrogenated oils all include saturated fats. The fat in your body might raise the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Olive oil contains unsaturated fats, which can aid with HDL “good cholesterol” levels.

Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been demonstrated to lower the risk of heart disease. Olive oil also contains antioxidants that protect red blood cells from harm, which could otherwise lead to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.

Researchers have found those who eat more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day have a 15% lower risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease thus going a long way to improve heart health. Replacing one teaspoon of butter, margarine, mayonnaise or dairy fat with the same amount of olive oil may the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5% and coronary heart disease by 7%.

7.     Tuna

Tuna is good for heart health

Tuna is a saltwater fish eaten all over the world. It’s incredibly nutritious and a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. However, it can contain high levels of mercury, a toxic heavy metal.

Tuna fish’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids may assist to lower levels of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol that can build up inside the heart’s arteries. Omega-3 consumption has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular illness, including heart attacks, according to research.

Tuna is also rich in potassium. Omega-3 fatty acids in combination with potassium bring an anti-inflammatory effect to the cardiovascular system, which in turn benefits us by lowering blood pressure, risk of stroke, and heart attacks.

Mercury is released into the sky or straight into the ocean by natural processes such as volcanic eruptions and industrial activity such as coal burning, where it accumulates in marine life. Too much mercury in the diet has been linked to major health problems, prompting worries about regular tuna consumption.

8.     Berries

Berries are good for heart health

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are chock-full of nutrients that are essential for heart health. Berries are also high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which contribute to heart disease development. Several studies have shown that consuming a lot of berries can lower your risk of heart disease. For example, one study found that drinking a beverage composed of freeze-dried strawberries for eight weeks reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol by 11% in 27 persons with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Another study discovered that consuming blueberries on a daily basis increased the activity of blood vessel lining cells, which assist manage blood pressure and blood clotting. Furthermore, a review of 22 research found that eating berries were linked to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and inflammation indicators. So, if you’re wondering if berries help to improve heart health, you have your answer. Yes, they do.

Here are fruits in the berry family you can start out with: 5 fruits in the berry family you would love

9.     Garlic

Garlic is good for heart health


Garlic and garlic supplements have been found in certain studies to improve heart health by preventing cell damage, decreasing blood pressure, and controlling cholesterol. Garlic supplements may also help to prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, according to other research.

The arteries of a healthy person are elastic and flexible. However, as we age, they can stiffen, harden, and develop plaque, all of which hinder blood flow. Garlic may help prevent scarring and hardening linked with atherosclerosis because it can help lower blood pressure.

Aged garlic extract has also been demonstrated to help lower the quantity of “soft plaque” in the arteries in several studies. Soft plaque is more prone to break off and obstruct arteries, resulting in a heart attack.

10.  Green Tea

Green tea is good for heart health

Green tea has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including improving heart health by better fat burning and insulin sensitivity. It’s also high in polyphenols and catechins, antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation, and safeguard heart health. A larger intake of green tea catechins was linked to considerably lower levels of LDL and total cholesterol in a meta-analysis of 20 studies.

Furthermore, green tea was found to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in a study of 1,367 adults. When compared to a placebo, ingesting green tea extract for three months reduced blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol. Taking a green tea supplement or drinking matcha, a beverage similar to green tea but brewed with the entire tea leaf, may also help your heart.


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Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

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