– By Funke Olayiwola, ABH Press

Yayy!!Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s that season of the year where we get to celebrate and enjoy several delectable foods and drinks with friends and familes. Of course the new year celebrations comes with a lot of hangouts, foods and snacks (winks).
But while you are at it, binging on several foods, pastries, carbonated drinks and all, a little bit of caution will be required because of your health, most importantly the state of your heart is a core factor that can influence your risk for heart diease.
Some foods can be major factors in affecting the blood pressure, subsequently causing inflammation. I will be sharing with you 10 healthy foods that are heart friendly and can help to boost the functions of your heart to the maximum.

Fruits aid in the proper functioning of the immune system, particularly the heart. They are easily available and pretty much affordable. Oranges and papaya are examples of fruits rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Avocados are rich in potassium which is beneficial to good heart health. One avocado contains about 975 milligrams of potassium, and your body most likely needs about 28% of that amount in a day.
Avocados also provide a rich source of heart-friendly monosaturated fats which help in lowering cholesterol levels and ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease.
A minimum intake of 4.7 grams of potassium per day can reduce blood pressure by an average of 8.0/4.1mmHg, which is associated with a 15% lower risk of stroke. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium. They may help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of metabolic syndrome.

Various sun-dried tomatoes in winter months help to provide lycopene, vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene which also help in maintaining the heart functions.

A 4-ounce glass of red wine, two glasses for men and one glass for women per day can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Resistant starch is a major constituent of beans which aids in resisting digestion and is fermented by the essential bacteria in your gut.
In a study carried out in animals, resistant starch was discovered to help improve heart health by reducing blood levels of triglycerides and whole.
Multiple studies have also found that eating beans can reduce certain risk factors for heart disease.
In a review of 26 studies, it was discovered that a diet rich in beans and legumes essentially helps in decreasing levels of LDL cholesterol.
Beans consumption in its minimum has been connected to reduced blood pressure and inflammation, both of which are risk factors for heart disesase.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health.
Interestingly, several studies have associated eating chocolate with a lower risk of heart disease.
One large study showed that those who ate chocolate at least five times per week had a 57% lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-chocolate eaters (39).
However, chocolates can be a rich source of sugar and calories which can negatively affect healthy heart functions. A high-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% is beneficial and a moderate intake helps to maintain a normal healthy heart.
Dark chocolates also help to lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease and calcified plaques in the arteries.

Healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts will satisfy your hunger and help your heart.

Berries are majorly composed of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries in cereal or yogurt is beneficial.

Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health. Take them in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit.

Oatmeal gives much comfort and provides maximum energy and nutrients for healthy heart.

“Culled from healthlinemedia and clevelandclinic”.

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