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Five top superfoods that will keep your ticker happy for decades to come, according to science

by , 21 February 2017
Five top superfoods that will keep your ticker happy for decades to come, according to science
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. Luckily, though, deaths due to the disease have begun to drop in recent years. Plus, thanks to science, we now know how to prevent cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes.

One thing we know for sure is that following a heart-healthy eating plan (and exercising regularly) can significantly improve your heart health and help prevent heart problems. Keep reading to learn which five top superfoods you should include in your diet to keep your heart healthy and happy for decades to come!

Five science-backed heart-healthy superfoods

#1: Berries (rich in anthocyanins)
Berries like blueberries and strawberries are rich in anthocyanins; a type of flavonoid (antioxidant) that gives plants their red and blue colours. According to a study published in 2013, women between ages 25 and 42 who ate three servings of blueberries or more per day were 32% less likely to have a heart attack, compared to those who ate less. According to the authors behind this study, the heart-healthy benefits of berries can be attributed to anthocyanins. They noted that this flavonoid also helps dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

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#2: Dark chocolate (rich in polyphenols) 
Dark chocolate contains polyphenols; a type of flavonoid that helps prevent inflammation, high blood pressure and blood clotting. According to a study published in 2012, eating dark chocolate every day may reduce your risk of non-fatal heart attacks and stroke – especially if you’re at high risk for such cardiovascular problems. The study authors noted that in order to reap these benefits, you should eat dark chocolate made up of at least 60% to 70% cocoa. Unfortunately, milk chocolate doesn’t have the same heart-protecting benefits – and the same goes for most chocolate bars.
 
#3: Fatty fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids)
Thanks to the abundance of omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like sardines, mackerel and salmon, they’re the superstars of heart-healthy superfoods. A body of research proves that omega-3 fatty acids lower risk of irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and plaque build-up in your arteries (atherosclerosis) as well as decrease triglycerides. If you don’t eat fatty fish at least twice a week, you can get your omega-3 fix in the form of a daily fish oil supplement.
 
#4: Legumes (rich in protein)
Legumes such as lentils, beans and peas come are a fantastic source of protein. And, because they come from plants, they contain very little unhealthy fat. One study uncovered that people who ate legumes at least four times a week were 22% less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who ate them less than once a week. An added benefit of eating legumes for people who have diabetes is that they help avoid diabetes complications (one of which is heart disease) and keep your blood sugar levels steady.
 
#5: Nuts (rich in fibre)
Nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamias and pistachios contain copious amounts of heart-healthy fibre. They also contain vitamin E, which is proven to help lower your bad cholesterol. What’s more, certain nuts such as walnuts are brimming with omega-3 fatty acids, too. You may avoid nuts in your diet because they’re high in fat, but according to studies, people who eat nuts every day are actually leaner than those who don’t. Just make sure you opt for unsalted varieties only!
 
Make sure you add these five delicious, heart-healthy superfoods to your diet!

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