Nutrients are the fuel your body needs for energy. Eating a healthy diet filled with nutrients is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA)
recommends a heart-healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins.
According to WebMD
, the benefits of eating nutrient-rich foods include lower cholesterol, acceptable blood sugar levels, controlled blood pressure and healthy weight. Reaching these four goals can decrease your risk of heart disease or stroke by as much as 80 percent.
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An enormous variety of heart-healthy foods are available that contain these five nutrients to help prevent heart disease:
Protein is a primary nutrient your body needs. Choose lean meats, skinless poultry, and eggs. Avoid fatty meats, such as prime cuts of steak, hot dogs or sausages, which contain excessive saturated fat. Dairy products are a good protein source, but choose low-fat or non-fat milk, cheese and yogurt, according to Medline Plus.
Oily fish contains heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and lake trout have rich amounts of omega-3s. You also get a healthy dose of protein with fish. The American Heart Association encourages consumption of fish at least twice a week.
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, as well as antioxidants to fight off disease-causing free radicals.
Apples contain quercetin and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and blood clots when eaten regularly, according to an Iowa Women's Health Study, reported in MindBodyGreen.
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Leafy green vegetables such as kale and romaine lettuce provide folate that builds amino acids to protect the heart. Spinach provides both folate and magnesium. Magnesium promotes a healthy heartbeat and is used to treat the irregular beat of arrhythmia.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which helps the body produce antioxidants that support heart health, according to MindBodyGreen.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber and help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Always choose whole grains instead of refined or processed grains, which have been robbed of nutrients.
The Mayo Clinic recommends
whole grains as part of a healthy diet to prevent heart disease. Include whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, high fiber cereal, brown rice and other whole grain choices in your meals.
Monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats include canola, olive and peanut oil. Choose these healthy fats when preparing food instead of the saturated fats in butter or salad dressing that can increase harmful cholesterol levels, according to WebMD.
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