Superfoods for Heart Health
Heart disease is almost completely avoidable. How? Diet and lifestyle play a major role. We look at how Superfoods can help you maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk factors for heart disease.
What would you do if there was a catastrophe – say, a terrorist attack or an earthquake – that was going to kill a third of our population and you had a chance to stop it from happening? You would try to stop it, right?
Well, heart disease is that threat. It affects 1 in 2 adult Australians, it is the leading cause of sudden death in Australia, and it kills one Australian every 12 minutes. Whilst those numbers already show how serious an issue it is, the jaw-dropping statistic about heart disease is that 6 of the 8 major risk factors are completely avoidable! Dietary and lifestyle choices we make contribute to the health of our heart. And a healthy heart is something we can’t live without.
What is Heart Disease?
Before we get into how to avoid it, it is important to understand what heart disease is. Coronary heart disease is a gradual build up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the blood vessels (the coronary arteries) that supply blood to the heart. These fatty deposits build up over time, clogging the arteries and decreasing the flow of blood to the heart which can be life threatening. This process, called atherosclerosis, often begins when people are young and worsens with age. There is no single cause for coronary heart disease, but there are ‘risk factors’ that increase your chance of developing it.
Risk factors you can control – healthy diet
Super foods are a packed with high levels of nutrients allowing you to easily add more vitamins and minerals into your diet. Here’s the whats, whys and how of how to incorporate the top 5 Superfoods for heart health.
What: Acai Berry
Why : Originating in the Amazon these berries are packed full of nutrients, particularly antioxidants. Certain foods we eat, chemicals we come in contact with, illnesses cause inflammation and oxidation in our body. Antioxidants protect our body from damaging effects of inflammation, an aggravating factor in heart disease.
How: You can take Acai capsules as a supplement or use Bioglan Acai+Berry powder into your cereal, juices, smoothies or baking. An easy way to boost your daily antioxidant intake.
What : Beetroot
Why: Full of nitrates, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid. Beetroot has shown anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for heart disease. The nitrates in beetroot to help relax the blood vessels which improves blood circulation and has been shown to lower blood pressure by up to 7% when taken daily.
How: Beetroot powder is naturally sweet and can be mixed with water to take as a shot. It can also be added to smoothies, juices, soups and salads.
What: Chia seeds
Why: Packed with nutrients and fibre, Bioglan Chia Seeds are a great source of Omega-3s – a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been shown to dramatically decrease the risk of heart disease. These good fats may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting and reduce inflammation in the body that damages blood vessels. On top of all of this Chia seeds are a great source of fibre. Fibre helps the body eliminate fat and reduces cholesterol.
How: Chia seeds can be added to your baking, salads, stir fries, breakfast cereals or smoothies, pretty much any meal due to their mild taste. For a more concentrated dose of Omega-3
Chia oil can also be taken as a supplement.
Why: These tiny seed has been around for thousands of years and are another great plant source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fibre. Flaxseeds help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent blood clots and reduce inflammation in the arterial walls. Research shows that the lignans in Flaxseed slow the process of plaque buildup in atherosclerosis. Perfect addition your diet for heart health!
How: Flaxseed oil can be taken as a supplement or the seeds can be ground and added to your cereal or smoothies.
What: Coconut Oil
Why: This wonderful superfood is the most digestible and absorbed fat. Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat that the body burns it quickly without the negative effects on your cholesterol levels. Coconut oil can improve your heart health by increasing your HDL (good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
How: Coconut oil is heat stable and can be used to replace other oils in all forms of cooking. It can also be used in salad dressings or smoothies
Take Control of Maintaining your Healthy Heart
Only 2 out of the 8 major risk factors for heart disease are unavoidable – age and family history. The other 6 factors below are all in your control – all the more reason to take steps to improve your heart health!
Avoidable risk factors for heart disease:
– being physically inactive