Inflammation in your artery walls can increase the risk of a heart attack, says cardiologist Adam Skolnick. “You can counter that process by eating at least a cup of blueberries a day,” he says. Their inflammation battling antioxidants are the heroes here. Deploy them – either fresh or frozen – in your cereal with Greek yoghurt.
These purple roots unleash helpful compounds called nitrites into your blood, expanding your vessels and improving bloodflow, Skolnick says. In a study in the journal Hypertension, these benefits helped lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in people with high BP.
Almonds, walnuts and pecans are all good. People who ate a handful of nuts five or more times a week were 29 per cent less likely to die of heart disease than those who avoided nuts, a New England Journal of Medicine study found. Nuts contain heart-healthy fats, protein and fibre. Snack on unsalted raw nuts and nut butters to improve your heart health.
4/ Fatty Fish
Salmon, sardines, herring and canned tuna are rich in omega-3 fats, which are shown to improve cardiac capacity during exercise. Twice a week, eat a serving of fatty fish about the size of your smartphone, says dietitian Heather Garza. For your lunch, replace chicken salad with canned salmon or canned tuna.
Beans and lentils are loaded with soluble fibre. In your gut, soluble fibre binds to cholesterol-laden bile acids and carries them out of your body, says dietitian Kate Patton. Aim to eat 5-10 grams of fibre a day; a cup of legumes provides 2-6g. Mix canned black beans with red onion, coriander, lime juice and a dash of salt to make a heart-healthy salsa.