4 Heart-Healthy Foods To Add To Your Diet Right Now

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There are certain foods that are not good for your body, especially your heart, such as processed meat, greasy pizza and excessively fried foods. At the same time, there are a lot of foods that are actually really good for the health of your heart. Here are four very powerful and inexpensive foods that are particularly good for your ticker that you need to add to your diet today:

1. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are one of the best tree nuts for your heart. These nuts contain a significant amount of oleic acid, which is an essential omega-9 fatty acid that works to reduce your blood pressure and prevents both strokes and heart attacks. One study found that 30 grams of powdered, ground or whole hazelnuts every day for one month can raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. In doing this, the plaque buildup in the arteries is reduced, thus helping to reduce damage to the cardiovascular system.

2. Garlic

Garlic has been shown to significantly reduce your overall risk of developing heart disease later in life thanks to the numerous nutrients and vitamins that it contains – all of which the the body needs, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and iron. One particular study found that garlic consumption over the court of four weeks can reduce bad cholesterol levels by 12 percent. Another study showed that blood pressure can be decreased up to five percent with garlic tablets. It also works as a natural blood thinner.  

3. Legumes

From beans to lentils, legumes are considered an essential part of a low-glycemic index diet. These beans help to improve control of your body's glycemic index while also reducing overall heart disease risk – particularly of the coronary arteries – in patients who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This was found during a study of 121 diabetic patients. At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that one cup per day (roughly 190 grams) of legumes was beneficial to the body in regards to heart health.

4. Flaxseeds

WebMD states that flaxseeds contain a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to improve the health of the heart. Studies show that these Omega-3s can help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and prevent the arteries from hardening. Lignans, a specific component found in flaxseeds, has been shown to successfully reduce the buildup of plaque by as much as 75 percent, according to WebMD. Four tablespoons of flaxseed consumption daily may also lead to lower cholesterol levels. Also, keep in mind that some experts believe that ground flaxseed is better than whole flaxseed, since the body can digest it easier. Either way, though, your heart comes out healthier.

If your family has a history of heart disease, it is crucial that you maintain regular appointments with your family doctor and schedule appointments with a cardiologist as recommended. One place you can visit is ICE, Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence.