According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both genders. Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease, which kills more than 385,000 people annually. Coronary heart disease alone costs the US approximately $108.9 billion each year (this total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity).
You are at risk for heart disease if you have high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and/or if you smoke. Other medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can put you at risk are: diabetes; overweight and obesity; poor diet; physical inactivity; and excessive alcohol use. You can help protect your heart by lowering your levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
The thing is, most of the lifestyle induced diseases can be preventable! With the right lifestyle choices, many people can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, every year from medical bills and medications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical measures to fight cardiovascular disease alone costs around $312.6 billion per year for just Americans. That’s a lot of hard-earned cash thrown away.
Check out these 10 nutrient rich superfoods that you should be eating to fight heart disease so that you can start living a vibrant and disease free life.
1. LEAFY GREENS
Eating leafy greens ( Kale, Spinach, Collard greens, etc )has been linked to completely reversing “heart disease, depression, most mood disorders, liver disease, kidney stones, chronic inflammation, arthritis, gout, urinary tract infections, asthma and numerous other health conditions,” including preventing and fighting off cancer, and helping cure type-2 diabetes! The reason greens has been associated with curing many of these health conditions is the fact that it contains tons of phytochemicals, nutrients, vitamins and minerals!
Berries, whether you prefer strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries (the list can go on for a while), are rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that kicks butt when it comes to cancer-fighting and diseases.Try eating berries raw, adding them into smoothies, or make a berry-licious dessert.
Cauliflower, along with its cousin’s broccoli, kale, collards, and brussel sprouts, contain indoles – nitrogen compounds that can help prevent tumors. This cruciferous vegetable is known to help prevent the risk for many cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
Cauliflowers are versatile. Eat it raw, sauté it, boil it, steam it, or roast it.
Carrots contain lots of carotenoids, an antioxidant that may protect against cancer, cataracts, and/or heart disease. Other fruits and vegetables that are packed with carotenoids include sweet potato, kale, pumpkin, spinach, and cantaloupe. Carotenoids help give these guys their bright, vibrant orange and green colors. These antioxidant ninjas fight off the bad guys – free radicals – and ensure they don’t hurt any cell membranes or DNA.
5.BEANS & LEGUMES
All beans and legumes contain cancer-fighting potential. Studies show that those who consume beans & legumes on a regular basis have a decreased risk for diseases such as pancreatic cancer, due to the food’s abundance in folate. Not only are beans and legumes high in protein, they are easy on your digestive tract and wallet.
Apples are the richest fruit source of pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, decrease the risk of colon and breast cancers, and maybe even lessen the severity of diabetes.
Beets are loaded with antioxidants and have been found to protect against cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. Naturally sweet and full of fiber and vitamin C, beets make a delicious and nutrient-packed addition to any meal. Try finely grated raw beets in your salads or roast them along with sweet potatoes and parsnips for a colorful and flavorful side-dish—just keep in mind that certain cooking methods (like boiling) may decrease their nutritional value. And don’t forget about the leafy green tops, which are rich in iron and folate, and can be prepared much like their cousins, Swiss chard and spinach.
8. NUTS AND SEEDS
Raw nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals, and other antioxidants that protect the fragile freshness of the fats therein; they also contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol. And because nuts and seeds supply certain fibers, phytochemicals, phytosterols, and bioactive nutrients not found in other foods (such as polyphenols and arginine), they have other beneficial effects that prevent blood vessel inflammation. Eating nuts provides more benefits than simply lowering cardiovascular risk factors, such as lowering blood glucose or cholesterol levels. Studies on nuts show that they actually decrease the end point of cardiovascular death and increase overall life span.
A number of studies have shown that garlic has an important impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It has been demonstrated that those who make garlic a regular part of their diets enjoy lowered blood pressure and decreased platelet aggregation, as well as decreased triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Garlic also may increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Consuming one half to one clove of garlic daily lowers LDL cholesterol levels by approximately 10 percent, partially by decreasing cholesterol absorption.
Packed with a variety of nutrients, including iron and copper, it’s no wonder the Incas deemed this ancient seed “the mother of all grains.” Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (perfect for vegans and vegetarians). It is also a great source of magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and has been found to reduce the frequency of migraines. Researchers have found that consuming dietary fiber, specifically from whole-grain products such as quinoa, reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.