7 Tips to Feed Your Heart

The development of heart disease depends on many factors. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are 7 heart-healthy foods.

Avocado

It contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that support healthy arteries.

What’s more, a study published in the journal Food and Function found that adding half an avocado to a hamburger reduced post-meal inflammation and halted the nearly 23 percent decrease in blood flow found among those eating a plain hamburger without avocado.

Dark chocolate

Is packed with flavonoids that help reduce blood pressure, decrease LDL oxidation, and boost endothelial function. A clinical trial in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating just a little more than an ounce of dark chocolate each day improved endothelial function and microcirculation. It also increased basal blood flow volume by 22 percent.

Seeds

Especially sunflower and pumpkin, are rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to help prevent clotting and improve blood flow. These super seeds also provide powerful antioxidants that discourage LDL oxidation and protect endothelial tissue from damage, along with assisting in the production of red blood cells.

Coldwater fish

It offers up a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids that can tame systemic inflammation throughout the circulatory system and help prevent blood clots. Pick wild-caught options such as anchovies, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, or tuna, and aim to eat at least three 5-oz. servings per week.

Pomegranate juice

Maybe the breakfast drink of choice for those with poor circulation. During a study of 45 volunteers conducted by the Preventative Medicine Research Institute and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, this tart juice was found to increase blood flow 17 percent in just 90 days. The study also showed that blood flow actually decreased 18 percent among the volunteers drinking a placebo beverage. Another tart juice, cranberry, contains antioxidants that are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

In one study, people who drank cranberry juice showed significant improvements in blood flow and arterial stiffness

Tomatoes

Are a rich source of lycopene—a natural antioxidant linked to healthy circulation. Research shows that these ruby red fruits can help prevent platelet aggregation and blood clots that can lead to thrombosis.

To unlock this powerful compound, make sure to cook your tomatoes first.

Walnuts

May help you snack your way to healthy circulation. A clinical trial from the University of Barcelona shows that walnut can help improve artery elasticity and increase blood flow. Unlike other nuts, walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, as well as the amino acid L-arginine and vitamin E, which researchers say help to improve vascular health.