We’ve been talking a good amount about heart health lately, and for good reason: It’s vitally important – DUH! Despite the fact that everyone knows this, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and over 92 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease—many of them completely unaware. It’s estimated that by 2035, more than 130 million American adults—that’s a whopping 45%—are projected to have some form of cardiovascular disease.
So, until we start seeing dramatic improvements, you can rest assured that we’re going to continue to talk about this critically important topic. And that’s why we wanted to tell you about 5 more of our favorite foods for heart health.
Garlic. These aromatic, flavorful members of the Allium family support a healthy heart thanks in large part to their phytochemicals – such as allicin – which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These garlic compounds have been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels by inhibiting key enzymes (including the same target as statin drugs).
Tomatoes. Lycopene, a natural antioxidant found in tomatoes (which just so happens to be an essential component of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet), that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has lipid-lowering properties and can promote normal blood coagulation. Research has shown that lycopene may play a preventive role in cardiovascular disease.
Spices. A heart healthy diet does not mean bland. In fact, if you’re not spicing up your foods, you may be seriously missing out! Cayenne pepper, ginger, and turmeric, for example, not only add a heap of flavor, they also support a healthy ticker. Peppers, for instance, can help strengthen blood vessels and arteries. Ginger is also known to support healthy circulation, and studies show turmeric is another circulation-supporting spice, thanks in large part to curcumin—turmeric’s active ingredient that has been shown to enhance the function of the blood vessels making up the circulatory system.
Start mixing in one, two, or more of these foods into your diet to promote a healthier heart!