Heart Healthy Food DefinitionSource : Google.com.pk
From asparagus to sweet potatoes to a robust cabernet -- every bite (or sip) of heart-healthy foods delivers a powerful dose of phytonutrients that prevent and repair damage to cells. That's the essence of preventing heart disease.
"There really is an abundance of fruits and vegetables in many colors, shapes, sizes that are good for your heart," says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, a dietitian with the Preventive Cardiology Center at The Cleveland Clinic. "You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating these foods every day."
Indeed, fresh produce provide the cornerstone for a heart-healthy diet because they help wipe out free radicals in the bloodstream, protecting blood vessels.
It's what Zumpano calls "the whole-foods diet. You want everything to be in its natural form, as it comes from the ground, the less processed the better," she says.
Whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, fatty fish, and teas are just as important -- offering all sorts of complex heart-protective phytonutrients.
That's why variety is best in selecting heart-healthy foods, says Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver.
"Everyone's looking for that one magic food," Farrell tells WebMD. "But heart-healthy is not only about oatmeal and omega-3 fats. You need to look for ways to get all the different nutrients. Plus, you'll stick to a heart-healthy lifestyle longer if you have variety."
With the help of these nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, we've put together a list of the "best of the best" heart-healthy foods.
The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels. We've also got menu ideas -- so you can easily bring heart-healthy foods into your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Omega-3 fatty acids.
Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens.
Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods -- yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber.
Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
Black or Kidney Beans
B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber.
Give soup or salad a nutrient boost -- stir in some beans.
Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.
Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.
Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
Imagine a world where bacon double cheeseburgers, Krispy Kreme donuts and nachos are great for your heart, and fried chicken, French fries and hot fudge sundaes make you shed pounds like a bride before her wedding day. You could indulge in whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, your health would only improve and the weight would only disappear. Sounds like paradise, doesn't it? Sadly, the foods many of us often crave aren't the things we should be eating. In the real world, what we should be eating is spinach, Brussels sprouts and cantaloupe -- not as compelling for many of us.
Heart disease is a worldwide problem and the leading cause of death among Americans. The good news is that over the years, nutrition experts have come a long way in determining what's good for our hearts. Things like alcohol and fat aren't the evil things doctors once thought they were. The trick is to have the right kinds of fats and to drink alcohol in moderation. There isn't any one magic food that can guarantee a healthy heart, but adding certain foods to your diet on a regular basis can go a long way to helping you to avoid the emergency room or operating table.
We'll get to some specific foods in our top five list, but what most people should know is that a whole-foods approach to eating is the healthiest way to go. By whole-foods, we don't mean the trendy grocery store that puts a dent in your bank account. We're talking food in its most natural state. For example, raw veggies are best, followed by lightly steamed or sautéed. Fresh potatoes with the skin on are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, but potato chips will clog your arteries. Whole grains like oatmeal are great for you, but sugary, processed instant oatmeal packets lack many of the healthful properties of their unprocessed cousin.