In an age where most of our food options are nutritionally deficient and loaded with fats, salts, and carbs, it’s hard to know exactly what to eat to have that well rounded and healthy diet. Introducing: Superfoods. These foods are naturally grown and loaded with important nutrients and antioxidants that fight against everything from your everyday cold to terminal diseases. If you’re looking to prevent issues like high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, clogged arteries, and diabetes, a healthy diet matters most. Some simple changes to your diet and routine exercise are directly correlated to a longer, happier, and healthier life. Read on about the amazing powers of these superfoods and how they can help you live the kind of life you’ve always wanted!
Next time you pass by the fruit section of the grocery store, make sure to pick up some oranges. This fruit not only provides the body with tasty hydration, but is also high in various nutrients, fiber, and Vitamin C. The secret behind the power of oranges is in their high levels of pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally gets rid of the cholesterol found in your body. And if you thought bananas were the only fruit with potassium, think again! Oranges have an extraordinary amount of potassium, which gets all that extra sodium out of your system so that your blood pressure naturally returns to a healthy level. Best of all, the potassium in oranges neutralizes proteins that can scar the development of heart tissue and lead to heart failure.
The popularity of kale has grown substantially in recent years, and now it’s difficult to find a supermarket that doesn’t carry it! This is great news if you’re looking to stop the onset of heart disease. Kale has a variety of nutrients that regulate your cardiovascular system which regulate the function of vital organs, including your heart. You might not believe that kale has way more omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber than most other vegetables out there! As an added bonus, it has low calorie and fat content, so if you haven’t been adding kale to your meals already, it’s time to get started!
Garlic is well-known for its ability to repel vampires, but did you know that it has superfood properties that make it a worthy addition to your diet? Garlic has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the plaque in your arteries that can lead to heart problems. But wait, there’s more! Garlic can also decrease the number of enzymes that constrict your blood vessels. If you’re not a fan of the taste or lingering smell of garlic, a great alternative is to take a garlic supplement in the form of a pill. Studies show that this method of ingestion reduces the build-up of plaque in the arteries by as much as 50%!
We have some good news for all you chocolate lovers out there! We all know this sweet treat helps with our mood, but did you know that it also reduces the chance of heart disease and strokes? A new study from Harvard found that people who regularly ingested raw cocoa showed absolutely no signs of hypertension and in fact, their blood pressure reduced! This is because dark chocolate has an antioxidant called flavnols, and eating a small and regular amount can lower blood pressure and lower the chances of heart-related diseases.
Lentils are a great superfood already part of many diets around the world. Besides being a great way to add some flavor to salads or other dishes, lentils have tons of great health benefits. This powerful legume reduces the risk of strokes and heart disease. Lentils have high amounts of proteins, potassium, and magnesium, and this combination has been shown to regulate blood pressure, decrease high levels of cholesterol, and eliminate dangerous plaque build-up in blood vessels.
Who knew that such a tasty nut could boost your IQ? Almonds are a popular snack choice, but did you know their unique mix of nutrients has been shown to increase intelligence and memory? As if that wasn’t reason enough to grab a handful, they also lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The reason is that almonds have a high level of plant sterols, which prevent your body from absorbing bad LDL cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Pomegranates are a great addition to salads, smoothies, and shakes. If their great taste wasn’t convincing enough to add it to your pantry, this fantastic superfood harbors an excellent mix of antioxidants that protect the accumulation of plaque on the walls of your arteries. If warding off heart disease isn’t reason enough, scientists have found that the fruit helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and also helps keep your skin, joints, and liver healthy and in working order! Oh, and pomegranates also help your teeth look great.
Have you ever found yourself craving… blueberries? This superfood is part of the family of berries that regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce plaque build up in arteries. Each berry is jam-packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that are so powerful that they stop some types of cancer right in their tracks! Last but not least, they help lower the risk of heart disease. Now that’s what we call a superfruit!
These purple vegetables are unique in their color and in the high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Unlike other vegetables, they contain B-vitamin folate and betaine. Studies have shown that this colorful addition to salads brings down homocysteine levels in the blood, which reduces the chances of developing heart disease. Moreover, beets have been found to mysteriously strengthen various organs and eliminate the chances of contracting certain forms of cancer.
Green tea recently became popularized in the West thanks to lattes and other tasty drinks. This herbal drink is a superhero when it comes to the number of antioxidants it contains. Just one cup of green tea can stimulate the reduction of plaque in arteries, lower bad cholesterol levels, and also improve heart regularity and overall health.
Salmon has always been a restaurant staple for its fantastic taste, but did you know this type of fish has enough omega-3 fatty acids to stop the onset of heart disease? The combination of nutrients and good fats found in the fish can reduce triglyceride levels, open up closed off blood vessels, and stop the occurrence of blood clots.
Turmeric is the best ingredient to enhance the flavor of any kind of curry. This spice has been a part of medical treatments in the East for centuries, but only recently has it entered the diets of those living in other parts of the world. Recently, scientists have isolated the active compound that makes turmeric a superfood. Curcumin, specifically found in turmeric, has been found to block cardiac hypertrophy, also known as heart enlargement. Turmeric also fights against obesity, high blood pressure, and lowers the chances of developing heart disease.
Chia seeds taste great in pudding or as an addition to any kind of smoothie. These tiny seeds are among the world’s best superfoods. They’re loaded with protein, antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Better yet, they’re super low in calories! Their combination of nutrients and antioxidants work hard to lower your cholesterol, lower the risk of a plethora of diseases, and keep your heart healthy and strong — no pills necessary!
We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” That old adage isn’t far from the truth! Apples are a commonly overlooked superfood that have incredible amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. That apple a day lowers blood pressure and reduces the chances of developing heart disease. The best news is that, since there are so many varieties of apples, you’re bound to find one that you like! Or, if you get bored, you can always switch it up for a new tasty flavor.
Avocados are a tasty addition to your meal or snack, any time of day! They are probably the one kind of superfood we could never live without. In addition to being amazingly delicious and versatile, avocados have tons of antioxidants, potassium, and monounsaturated fats. This combination promotes the health of your heart and also reduces the chances of developing heart disease.
These fantastic purple vegetables are great grilled or baked, as well as in a cold vegetable dish. They have high amounts of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, flavonoids, and even nasunin! These purple vegetables are your cardiovascular system’s best friend because they increase circulation, lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, and also reduce the risk of heart disease. Your brain might also enjoy your next eggplant dish, too! They help prevent cell membrane damage and ward off cancers in brain tissue.
Broccoli might be one of the most dreaded dinner vegetables for children and teens, but these little green trees are an excellent source of nutrition for your heart. So as an adult, we hope you’ve overcome your dislike for this green giant because it’s an excellent addition to stir-frys, pasta, and sometimes even salads! Broccoli is known to lower cholesterol and keep your blood vessels healthy and strong. This superfood is rich in sulforaphane, which helps with problems related to blood sugar issues.
Carrots are a great crunchy snack by themselves or paired with ranch, hummus, or other delicious dips. They are also a food that keeps your heart in tip-top shape, and in fact, can help you see better at night! This orange superfood has high levels of carotenoids and this antioxidant fights against the free radicals that can lead to heart disease. Carrots also have an abundance of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C, and a ton of other nutrients as well. This combination of vitamins and nutrients have been studied and seen to fight against the onset of cancer, promote healthy bone growth, and maintain a healthy nervous system.
Chicken is the first superfood listed that isn’t a fruit or vegetable, and that’s for a very good reason! This amazingly lean meat has less saturated fat and cholesterol than any other red meat. Because of its health benefits compared to red meat, meat eaters often choose baked, stir-fried, or grilled chicken over that cholesterol-dense burger option for dinner.
Chickpeas are much more than the tasty main ingredient of everyone’s favorite side dish: hummus. While small and seemingly innocuous, these little peas are packed with nutrition for your heart. Each one of these little legumes is loaded with potassium, fiber, Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin C. More than any other legume out there, chickpeas use this special combination of nutrients to reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
We have some fantastic news for the coffee drinkers of the world! A new study has shown that coffee actually helps your heart (in addition to being a great start to your day). Moderate coffee intake reduces the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, and even stroke! Hold on, I’m getting my french press.
Cranberries might be tart on their own, but they’re a staple juice in households around the world, and also a staple Thanksgiving dessert for Americans. These berries are high in antioxidants, and just like blueberries, they reduce the chances of developing heart disease. Regular cranberry intake also reduces the chances of contracting a urinary tract infection and lowers the chances of developing stomach ulcers and cancer.
Figs are one of the most underrated fruits at the grocery store! Raisins, dates, and figs all contain the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy heart. This versatile fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, or even in the form of a jam. Figs are high in fiber and calcium, and these two work together to keep your heart healthy and astoundingly reverse the effects of heart disease.
Flax seeds are essential to any diet that doesn’t include fish or nuts. This is because flax seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help maintain a healthy heart. Flax seeds can be sprinkled onto smoothies or salads. One tablespoon of these seeds has more estrogen, antioxidants, and other nutrients than many other seeds!
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Excuse the comparison, but besides making for a fantastic rock band, this terrifyingly spicy vegetable is, in fact, great for your heart! The tiny terrors contain capsaicin, and this neuropeptide helps lower cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy blood pressure. While they are a great addition to your diet for heart health, it might not be a good idea to ingest them whole, sort of like this guy! If you’re up for the challenge, make sure to have your water ready!
If you’re a sushi-lover, we have great news for you! This wonderfully-smelling spice has been linked to maintenance of a healthy heart. You might be surprised to learn that a small daily intake of ginger can lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease and even hypertension. It’s no wonder that this superfood has been a vital part of recipes for centuries.
Grapefruit is an exotic fruit in both appearance and taste. The reason for this is because the pink fruit is loaded with nutrition. This delicious fruit has high levels of potassium, lycopene, choline, and vitamin C; now that’s not a combination you see every day! Grapefruit helps keep your heart healthy and is also included in the highly recommended DASH diet. It also helps lower blood pressure.