Heart Friendly Foods

Heart disease results when plaque builds up inside the arterial walls, which causes a partial or complete obstruction of blood flow. This reduces flow of blood to heart and may result in angina. Angina is a sensation of discomfort, pain, burning or pressure, generally felt in the chest area.

Angina may be the first indication of heart disease. But many people with heart disease often get no warning signals, until they suffer a full heart attack. Chest pain should not been ignored, even when it is not permanent.

During a heart attack, the supply of oxygen to heart is cut off, resulting in tissue death for a part of the heart muscle.

There are certain foods that lower cholesterol and thus the risk of heart disease. The following heart friendly foods are important for the health of your heart.

  • Apples: Drinking 12 ounces of apple juice or eating two whole apples a day is beneficial. Research has shown that phytochemicals in apples could help cut the risk of death from heart disease or stroke in half.

  • Onions: Eating half a raw onion a day raises HDL (good) cholesterol by an average of 25 percent in most people.

  • Legumes/Beans: One serving of dried beans/legumes a day can reduce cholesterol by up to 10%. The fiber and other compounds present in legumes and beans can lower cholesterol, blood clotting and improve blood-vessel function. These are also a great source of folate, which keeps homocysteine levels (an indicator of heart trouble), in check.

  • Oats: Eating about one-cup of cooked oatmeal a day significantly decreases blood cholesterol levels. Oats contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibe that is responsible for cholesterol reduction.

  • Walnuts: Eating walnuts can reduce your total cholesterol level by 12% and LDL cholesterol level by 16%. Walnuts contain a type of fat called linolenic acid, which lowers cholesterol and prevents blood clots.

  • Olive Oil, Canola Oil: Of all cooking oils, olive oil contains the largest proportion (77%) of monounsaturated fat and has powerful antioxidants, which lowers LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL levels.
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