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By Aleisha Fetters
Mother Nature has developed her own treatments. Eat your heart out
Inflammation in your artery walls can increase the risk of a heart attack, says cardiologist Adam Skolnick,of NYU Langone Medical Centre. “You can counter that process by eating at least a cup of blueberries a day,” he says. Their inflammation-battling antioxidants are the heroes here. If you can’t find fresh, frozen berries work. Deploy them in a breakfast cereal or yoghurt.
These purple roots unleash helpful compounds called nitrites into your blood, expanding your vessels and improving bloodflow, Dr Skolnick says. In a study in the journal Hypertension, these benefits helped lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in people with high BP. Eating them is easy: chop and toss ’em into salads and shakes. (Don’t toss the beetroot greens! They’re packed with potassium.)
Almonds, walnuts and pecans are all good. People who ate a handful of nuts five or more times a week were 29% less likely to die of heart disease than those who avoided nuts, a New England Journal of Medicine study found. Nuts contain heart-healthy fats, protein and fibre. Snack on unsalted raw nuts, nut mixes, and nut butters to improve your heart health. (Nutty science: magnesium in almonds keeps your ticker on track.)
4. Fatty Fish
Salmon, sardines and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, which are shown to improve cardiac capacity during exercise. (Tuna’s great too, as long as it’s green-listed yellowfin.) Twice a week, eat a serving of fatty fish about the size of your smartphone, says Heather Garza, of the Stanford Preventive Cardiology clinic. For lunch, replace chicken salad with canned salmon. (Wild-caught salmon is a more nutritious choice than farm raised.)
Think of beans and lentils as buckshot loaded with soluble fibre. In your gut, soluble fibre binds to cholesterol-laden bile acids and carries them out of your body, says Kate Patton, of the Cleveland Clinic. Aim to eat 5 to 10 grams of fibre a day; a cup of legumes provides 2 to 6 grams. Use canned black beans with red onion, coriander, lime juice and salt to make a healthy salsa.