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Eating for a Healthy Heart

Prevention is Key

When it comes to heart disease, prevention is your best bet. High blood pressure and hypertension put undue stress on the heart, blood vessels and other organs. A person can get excellent heart health through a variety of ways, especially through a good diet.

Certain foods have been shown to be healthy for the heart. A recent study at Harvard University concluded eating just one serving of a tomato-based product can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 30%. That's a pretty significant number.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is good, as these foods are rich in anti-oxidants. The key here is fresh, not canned. When you buy canned, you are getting lots of sodium, which is a big factor for high blood pressure. Another way to reduce your sodium intake is using herbs and spices instead of salt.

Also, eat the skin from fruits such as apples; it contains fiber. Fiber is a key ingredient for your heart. When consumed with enough frequency, this can help to lower cholesterol.

Fish has the proven benefits of omega-3 oil, compared to the sometimes fattiness of red meat. Omega-3 may lower the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and reduce the cohesion of blood cells, which make them less likely to form clots and block arteries. Omega-3 seems to be particularly beneficial to people already at risk for heart disease and those who have experienced a heart attack.

Now for a few surprises. Researchers at the University of California Davis found chocolate contains flavinoids, which are chemicals that thin the blood and help prevent clotting. Cocoa also contains antioxidants that help stave off disease, and it's high in healthy monosaturated fat. As long as it's in moderation, chocolate is good for your heart.

Alcohol, long considered harmful to the liver and brain, can also be a cause of high blood pressure. But a drink a day could keep a heart attack at bay. New research suggests that having a glass of alcohol at least three days a week could lower your risk of heart attack by one-third. Red wine is the best drink to have. It protects the HDL cholesterol, which is the "good" cholesterol.

Also, avoiding smoking will help reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only does smoking hurt the lungs, but it also can harden arteries. Remember, your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Do whatever you can to keep it healthy.
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About The Author

Liz Noelcke
Liz is a freelance writer, specializing in health, fitness, and nutrition.
Liz Noelcke

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