5 Veggies That Are Great for Heart Health
Despite the number going down in recent years, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Thankfully, we now know much more about how to prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating healthy, exercising regularly and cutting out bad habits can have a significant impact on lowering risk of heart attack. Additionally, incorporating certain foods that are believed to be naturally heart healthy, such as the following five veggies, is also recommended. Read on to learn which ones.
Beans, lentils and peas – also known as legumes – are an excellent source of protein. They also contain very little unhealthy fat, which makes them an ideal addition to any diet. Some studies also indicate that people who eat legumes regularly (i.e. at least four times a week) may experience a lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, legumes are also helpful in controlling blood sugar, which can help individuals with diabetes avoid complications, one of which is heart disease.
There’s another great reason to eat more broccoli: it may help keep your heart healthier. Scientists conducting research at the University of Connecticut found that consuming broccoli can improve the heart’s ability to pump blood, reduce oxygen deprivation and increase levels of key chemicals that are related to heart health. This is likely due to the natural substance known as sulforaphane that is especially concentrated in broccoli and is believed to help prevent arterial inflammation.
Leafy green veggies, such as kale and spinach, are an excellent source of magnesium. They also contain a healthy dose of vitamin K, which some scientists believe can contribute to a healthy heart. In fact, one study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that insufficient levels of vitamin K may negatively impact the structure of the heart. Conversely, eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables can combat those negative effects and help keep your ticker happy and functioning well.
Cauliflower is a healthy vegetable that’s a significant source of valuable vitamins and nutrients. In particular, the cruciferous veggie contains high amounts of vitamin C, which is known to act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, both of which can help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease. Plus, it’s low in fat and carbohydrates and is super versatile, making it an easy (and tasty) addition to any diet.
You probably already know that carrots have been linked to eye health, but did you also know that these crunchy veggies may also aid in keeping your heart functioning well? Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants. When eaten as part of a healthy diet, the nutrients found in carrots can protect against heart disease and stroke. In fact, leading research indicates that carrot consumption can be associated with lower risk of heart attacks in women.
Your heart is like the engine of your body. Help keep it strong and healthy by incorporating more of the five veggies listed above into your diet.