We all know how important it is to look after our hearts. The great organ keeps the blood pumping around the body and works incredibly hard to keep the rest of our systems in working order.
Besides regular exercise and avoiding too much stress, it’s also incredibly important to eat and drink the right things to keep our hearts in optimum health.
Read on for the top superfoods to eat that will keep your heart in tip-top shape.
It’s no surprise that one of the best things you can do to improve your diet for heart health is to eat more fruits and vegetables. Oranges are a great example of this, as they contain high levels of potassium and fiber, both of which are incredibly good for your ticker.
Try them in juice or adding them into a fruit salad, or peel and eat them as they are! They also have the bonus of being high in Vitamin C, which is good for your overall health. Win-win!
Kale is a lot more than just the trendy vegetable of the moment, enjoyed by hipsters with man-buns and served on wooden boards and pieces of charcoal. That’s right, as well as being a new-age hipster treat; this superfood is incredibly good for your heart!
This is because the leafy green vegetable is very low in cholesterol. Lowering your cholesterol is one of the key ways to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Top tip: try steaming your kale to maximize the health effects truly.
You have probably heard the myth that garlic wards off vampires and keep the unholy creatures from entering a person’s home.
Well, this isn’t just a spooky story—this myth arose in the olden days due to the varied and miraculous health benefits of the stinky herb!
Even today, garlic boasts several excellent properties that can help keep your heart healthy—such as lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol, and fatty buildups in your arteries.
If you’re not a fan of the strong smell (though we love it), you can also take it in tablet form.
As well as being delicious and one of the first most fresh signs of summer being on the horizon, strawberries are also an incredibly good option to incorporate into your diet to improve heart health.
One of the world’s most popular superfoods, the sweet yet tart fruit is jam-packed with antioxidants, improving the health and quality of your blood—and therefore making your heart happy, too!
Just go easy on the cream on top, as too much of the heavy stuff might undo any health benefits you are getting from the fruity goodness.
What’s that you say? Is chocolate good for us? Well, pass us the Hershey’s!
Only kidding. Chocolate can be incredibly beneficial for your heart, but you still need to be reasonably careful with it.
Chocolate—mostly dark chocolate—is packed full of antioxidants and is excellent for lowering your blood pressure.
The darker the chocolate, the better for your heart—so stock up on that 75%.
It still should be eaten in moderate quantities, of course—otherwise, it can lead to weight gain and put stress on your heart, undoing the antioxidant effects!
Next up on our list of heart-healthy foods is the delicious sweet potato. Often regarded as the healthy alternative of the much-loved white potato, this yummy vegetable is a culinary wonder in its own right.
Rich in natural sugars and low in carbs, the sweet potato has a super soft GI index, meaning it is more easily digested and contributes to a healthier internal system in your gut.
They are also high in potassium, which helps your body process sodium, which all together means much less strain on your heart!
Lentils are an essential part of almost any healthy diet because they have so many health benefits. Though low in calories, they are incredibly high in protein, which is why many vegetarians opt for lentil-based items as meat substitutes.
As well as this, they are a great source of folate, which helps break down amino acids in your body, and magnesium, which increases the flow of oxygen in your blood and throughout the system.
For this reason, lentils are widely regarded as helping reduce the risk of heart disease. Plus, they are yummy!
Another healthy food that has numerous benefits for your heart health is almonds. As well as being packed with nourishing oils and fats, almonds contain loads of antioxidants, which help stimulate the bloodstream, increase blood flow, and reduce blood pressure. All good news for the heart—not to mention the taste buds!
Just make sure you get plain almonds, rather than roasted with sugar or salt—as these extra additions can end up causing more harm than good to your ticker.
It’s no surprise that many of the items on our list of heart-healthy foods are fruits and vegetables. But now comes the endless debate—is the tomato fruit, or is it a vegetable? Wherever you stand on defining the delicious red treat, there’s no denying that it’s a winner when it comes to a heart-healthy diet.
Tomatoes are full of lycopene, giving it its signature red color and a powerful antioxidant. It’s even thought to lower cholesterol, which is key to keeping your heart healthy and happy.
The favorite superfood of the 2010s, it feels like blueberries have been somewhat forgotten in the current slew of millennial food trends.
But in fact, the tiny fruit remains one of the healthiest treats you can put in your body. Eating a cup of blueberries a day can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 15 percent.
This is because they are super high in antioxidants, meaning that they help lower blood pressure, blood pressure, and excess body fat—particularly around the waist. This is all excellent news for your heart!
Another yummy nut to make it onto this list, walnuts are so much more than just a garnish for your coffee cake.
These superfood nuts are jam-packed with healthy fats and help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure low—both super important for heart health.
The only problem is that walnuts are often eaten as part of a less-than-healthy snack—as well as the cake mentioned above is famous alongside fancy cheeses and wine. Of course, this is fine from time to time, but a handful of walnuts on their own is far better for your heart!
Were you worried that this heart-healthy list would only include fruits, veggies, and nuts? Worry no longer!
An exceptionally beneficial, nutritious, and delicious food that’s great for your heart is fresh salmon.
Smoked salmon can often be a bit high in salt, so it’s better to keep fresh stuff.
Salmon is jam-packed with healthy oils, incredibly rich in omega-three fatty acids, which help keep your cholesterol low and blood flow healthy.
Plus, did we mention it’s delicious?
Of course, we can’t have a list of healthy fats and food that’s good for your heart without mentioning the quintessential food of the gods, the ubiquitous and delicious olive oil.
Regularly cited in Mediterranean countries as the reason behind their long-life expectancies, olive oil is the ultimate superfood—despite being high in fat and calories. It just goes to show that low-calorie doesn’t always mean healthy!
Try switching out butter or margarine for a drop of olive oil, and enjoy a delicious upgrade in both your heart health and your enjoyment of your meals.
Have you ever heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, this reputation didn’t come out of anywhere, you know!
Apples are well known as being one of the healthiest foods you can eat—in general, but also specifically for looking after your heart.
They are full of polyphenols, which help reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help against heart disease.
Try to eat the actual fruit rather than just drinking apple juice, as it loses a lot of its nutrients when juiced.
Aside from being unfairly blamed as the reason no millennials can buy a house, avocadoes have a fantastic reputation for being one of the healthiest superfoods out there.
Jam-packed with healthy fats, this delicious creamy fruit is one of the easiest and yummy ways to work heart health into your diet.
It’s also wholly cholesterol-free, which is even better news for your ticker.
Just keep an eye on how much salt you add to them, as this can sometimes offset the healthy heart benefits.
Another delicious way to improve your heart health AND your enjoyment of your daily diet!
Though often thought by many as a difficult vegetable to master, the ubiquitous and delicious eggplant is incredibly easy to prepare once you get the hang of it.
Low in calories and high in fiber, eggplants naturally reduce your cholesterol by improving your digestive health.
Try slow-roasting them with nuts and seeds for a super delicious and healthy dose of heart-boosting nourishment.
So much more than just little trees, broccoli is one of the best things to incorporate into your diet if you improve your heart health.
They are super high in various essential nutrients, including fiber, folate, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. One serving of broccoli contains your entire recommended day’s worth of Vitamin C!
This super healthy cruciferous vegetable is full of antioxidants and helps lower your cholesterol naturally—all critical factors in your heart health.
Peanut butter isn’t just a sticky, stinky snack for little kids!
That’s right—this sandwich spread staple is also a superfood in its own right.
Packed full of peanuts and the healthy fats that come along with it, peanut butter is a brilliant way to reduce cholesterol and improve blood flow in your body.
Just make sure it’s the natural kind—some peanut butter can be full of artificial additives and sugars, which will outweigh any of the natural health benefits for your heart.
Finally, one for the meat-eaters! If you were starting to worry that looking after your heart meant giving up your meaty treats, fear not—you can still have your chicken fix, as it’s super healthy food for your soul.
As opposed to red meats, chicken is full of lean protein and helps improve your digestive system and blood pressure—meaning it’s a great contributor to your overall heart health. It’s also low in cholesterol, so even more reasons to tuck in!
Winner winner chicken dinner!
As well as being the key ingredient in the king of all foods, the godly vegetarian treat that is hummus, chickpeas are a pretty staple and heart-healthy food in their own right.
Packed full of protein and dietary fiber, they’re the perfect option for those looking to regulate their digestive system and keep their blood pressure low.
You can buy them dry and soak them yourself, or buy them ready-soaked in a can.
Either way, they’re delicious—and incredibly good for your heart!
Though too many cups of joe can often make you feel like your ticker is about to explode, in truth (and moderation!), the hot drink can be beneficial to your heart health in several ways.
Studies have shown that the nutrients in coffee help strengthen the membranes around your veins and arteries, which can only be good news for the heart’s functioning.
It also contains a type of protein called p27—a critical factor in strengthening the heart muscles.
Just go easy on the sugar and cream.
Another delicious nut on our list, this flavorful treat is a super yummy way to increase your heart health—and happiness!
Super high in antioxidants and healthy fats, pistachios can help reduce your blood pressure and stimulate healthy blood flow around the body. Eating pistachios has also been linked with lower cholesterol—all good factors when considering your heart’s health effects.
They are also lower in calories than some other nutrient-dense nuts, so you don’t need to worry about weight gain.
Figs are more than just a delicious and refreshing natural treat. They are an incredibly healthy snack—not just for your heart, but your whole body!
Fresh figs are low in sugar and high in fiber, both critical factors in keeping your heart healthy. They also contain high levels of copper, which helps with the formulation of blood cells.
Avoid dried figs, as these are less nutrient-dense and more concentrated in their sugar levels. You will also end up eating more without realizing it, which could lead to a stomach ache.
Finally, some carbs! Before you start thinking that looking after your heart means you need to say goodbye to any starchy staples, worry not.
There are still plenty of healthy whole grains you can incorporate into your diet.
One of these is the yummy new age favorite, the ever-adaptable quinoa.
Pronounced keen-wah, this superfood is packed full of healthy fats, helping to lower your cholesterol and keeping your heart ticking along at optimum health.
It’s also full of potassium, another critical component in strengthening your heart health.
Though you might feel your heart racing when you eat one too many of these spicy specialties, in reality, chili peppers can be incredibly beneficial for your heart!
You don’t need to opt for the super-hot ones, either—any form of chili pepper is full of the same nutrients that can help increase your heart health.
Studies have shown that people who regularly consume chili peppers have a 34% lower risk of heart disease and associated problems!
Just make sure you’ve got a glass of water handy.
Though they previously got a bad rap for being high in cholesterol, scientists have revoked this humble egg’s earlier judgment.
As well as being high in protein and low in fat, nowadays, eggs are recorded as actually helping lower your cholesterol!
Therefore, eggs are healthy food for your heart—but only in moderation.
Doctors recommend no more than one egg a day for optimum heart health—and go easy on the salty, fatty bacon on the side.
As well as the delicious salmon we mentioned earlier, we have another tasty fish on our list of heart-healthy foods.
That is, of course, tuna, which is increasingly popular as a staple sandwich filling and in its fancier incarnations such as steaks and sashimi.
Tuna is packed full of heart-healthy omega-three fatty acids and rich in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.
Tuna does also have a high mercury content, so you shouldn’t eat it every day. 2-3 times a week is the best.
Well, you’re as surprised as we are to find a second hot drink on this list!
Coffee is one thing, but can you improve your heart health by drinking a cup of delicately aromatic tea?
Well, it turns out, yes, you certainly can.
Green tea is found to be super useful in reducing cholesterol—much more than black tea.
The optimum amount of green tea is around 3 cups a day—this is enough for the heart benefits, but more than five cups could start to irritate your kidneys.
Well then! Put the kettle on!
Oatmeal, though it doesn’t exactly seem like diet food, is one of the healthiest foods in the world.
It’s regularly cited as the staple food of some of the world’s longest-lived people along with olive oil, and this simple grain is jam-packed with nutritious health benefits.
Oatmeal is also full of antioxidants and helps lower cholesterol, meaning it’s the perfect breakfast of choice for people who want to keep their hearts healthy.
Just keep an eye on the toppings—too much sugar on top might undo these health benefits!