Foods that have disease-fighting qualities -called “Nutraceuticals” or “Functional Foods” have increasingly come under investigation by scientists. They have identified specific foods that have significant roles in preventing certain diseases. Here is a list of everyday foods you can and should eat because they will help you beat cardiovascular disease.
- Broccoli. Broccoli may give the biggest bang for the buck in fighting heart disease. One cup, which contains only 45 calories, supplies more than your daily requirement of two of the antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, both of which play a significant role in combating heart disease. Broccoli also is rich in fiber, with 4.5 grams in one cup. Fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, control hypertension, and assist in weight loss. Broccoli also may fight cancer; it has in it a substance called sulforaphane, which research indicates blocks the growth of tumors in mice. Any Green Vegetable: cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, “greens,” okra, green beans, etc.
- Cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is a rich source of the antioxidant vitamins. One-quarter of a cantaloupe provides 86 % of the daily requirement of beta-carotene and 94 % of the daily requirement of vitamin C. Any water filled fruit or vegetable: melons, grapes, tomato, cucumber, pears, oranges, etc.
- Lima beans. These, along with other legumes, are an excellent source of folic acid, a deficiency of which, some experts say, could account for 40 % of heart attacks and strokes. Lima beans are also rich sources of fiber, containing 10 grams per cup. Including Black-eyed Peas and Field Peas.
- Salmon. Salmon furnishes much of the omega-3 oil you need each day. Omega-3 oil lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, raises HDL or good cholesterol and reduces blood clotting. If salmon is too expensive for your budget, try catfish. A recent investigation indicates it confers the same benefits. Grilled, Baked, Broiled.
- Garlic. One-half to one clove of garlic a day will reduce cholesterol by 9 %; a 9% drop in cholesterol will lower the risk of heart disease by 18 %. Garlic has also been shown to decrease blood pressure and blood clotting.
- Black and green tea. Teas contain a lot of flavonoids, which stop the development of LDL cholesterol and discourage it from sticking to the artery walls. Apples and Onions contain flavonoids. Herbal teas, however, do not contain flavonoids.
- Oat bran. Two ounces of oat bran daily will decrease cholesterol any average of 16 %. It can be consumed in muffins or as cereal. Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat; Cereal of choice with 1/3 – ½ cup of high fiber cereal.
- Soy. Substituting soy protein for animal protein a few times a day may decrease very high Total Cholesterol by as much as 10 %, LDL cholesterol by 13 %, and triglycerides by more than 10 %, but without lowering the “good” HDL cholesterol. Try soy-nuts; soy milk; and frozen soybeans (boil for 12 minutes in the pod; drain; sprinkle with sea salt; peel and eat.
- Carrots. Two carrots every day supply enough beta carotene to cut the risk of stroke in half among men who have signs of heart disease, according to one study. In another research, women who said they ate five or more servings of carrots a week had a stroke rate 68 % lower than those who ate no more than one serving. Better is a Sweet Potato.
- Nuts. In 1992, an article reported people who ate nuts four times a week had 50 % fewer heart attacks than those who ate fewer nuts. Other studies have indicated that men and women who eat the most nuts have the fewest heart attacks. Nuts are high in fat, but it’s the healthy fat; polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Some nuts are good sources of linolenic acid, and vitamin E. Almonds are the best
**The information on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be considered diagnostic or medical advice.
Kris Devillier, RND / Nature’s Link Wellness