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6 Ways to a Healthy Heart

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February is all about things of the heart - heart health, heart research, heart awareness, and of course, Valentine's Day! Here are 6 ways to keep your heart healthy by watching what you eat.

Beta glucan:
Beta glucan is a type of soluble fibre, found in all cereal grains. It helps protect the heart because of its ability to lower cholesterol, in particular, the re-absorption of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Best sources: cereal grains, barley, oats, rye, wheat and mushrooms

Folate can also help protect the heart. Without folate, homocysteine (a by-product of metabolism) accumulates and can increase blood clot formation and arterial wall damage possibly increasing the risk of heart disease.
Best sources: Soybeans, leafy greens such as spinach and silverbeet, broccoli, peas, asparagus, fruit (citrus, berries and bananas), avocados, chickpeas, lentils, and most breads and some cereals (many breakfast cereals and breads now have added folate)

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks as well as prevent cancer cell growth. 
Best sources: tomatoes, guava, apricots, papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruit

Omega 3: 
Omega-3 oils help to protect the heart as they are a type of polyunsaturated fat that help reduce inflammation and the risk of clots. Omega-3 oils can come from marine, animal and plant sources. 
Best sources: flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil and oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies). Other fish, such as barramundi and flathead, and seafood, such as scallops and mussels, are also good sources of marine-based omega-3. Animal Sourced Omega-3 include eggs, chicken and beef.

Quercetin helps to protect the heart as it acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory.
Best sources: fruits and vegetables - particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, green tea, red wine, buckwheat, beans, olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries - such as blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries

Resveratrol helps to protect the heart by limiting clot formation and inflammation that can damage the artery walls.
Best sources: red wine, grape skins, mulberries, dark chocolate and peanuts