Heart Healthy Foods for a Happy Heart

 

You might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk. Heart disease is Ireland's No.1 killer with approximately 30% of all deaths being attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD) - including coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and other circulatory diseases.

Many foods can help keep your heart at its best. How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods. This strategy can shape up your diet as well as your heart and waistline.

Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are five heart-healthy foods. Some will help to lower your blood pressure; others keep your cholesterol in line. So add these items to your shopping cart:

Oily Fish

Salmon, mackerel, herring and trout are all good sources of omega-3. Omega 3 fatty acids can help to prevent heart disease and stroke by decreasing triglycerides, blood pressure and inflammation.

Nuts

Nuts are a great package of healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols and other nutrients for a healthy heart. A portion is a small cupped hand.

Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a great plant-based source of the anti -inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Use them in milled form to get the most bang for your buck.

Oats

Oats are a source of β-glucan, a soluble fibre proven to reduce cholesterol. Having high cholesterol, a type of fat found in the blood, can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Pulses

Pulses such as chickpeas and lentils, are a rich source of fibre, which can directly impact your heart by helping to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and indirectly by helping to maintain a healthy weight.