1. Avocado contains beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids. This fat can help lower cholesterol levels and may help prevent blood clotting. Avocados also contain potassium (more than twice the amount in a banana), which can help with blood pressure. A lovely recipe you can try for breakfast is this Smoked Salmon and Avocado Egg or a delectable lunch is this Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup.
2. Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids (“the good fat”), which have been known to lower the risk of heart disease. They have also been shown to benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control. Replacing butter with olive oil and using it in moderation can deliver many benefits. A couple of wonderful recipes that contain olive oil are this scrumptious Strawberry and Pecan Salad and these mouth-watering Pea and Sweetcorn Fritters.
3. Oats are infamous for their soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which dissolves in water to form a gel that sweeps through your arteries taking some cholesterol with it as it goes, oats have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure, two major risk factors for heart disease. For dinner you could have these Gluten-Free Mini Quiches followed by Overnight Oats with Ice-Cream for dessert.
4. The flavonoids in dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure, prevent blood clots and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Chocolate with a cacao content above 70% is best to get these benefits. For some creative new ways to eat these foods, try these Dark Chocolate Waffles with Coconut-Maple Butter or Chocolate Banana Pops.
5. Oranges are full of vitamin C and packed with other healthful nutrients. They contain potassium, an electrolyte that supports normal heart function and blood pressure; and pectin, a fibre that helps block cholesterol absorption. The Sunrise Smoothie and this Chocolate Orange Cheesecake should both be on the ‘must try’ list.
6. Vibrant and flavourful , tomatoes have been shown to lower “bad” cholesterol and prevent the clotting and clumping of platelet cells. There have also been links between lycopene and a lower risk of heart attacks. Some delicious and nutritious recipes that contain tomatoes are this Healthy Avocado & Poached Egg Breakfast or this Tomato Sushi recipe.
7. Full of vitamin K and potassium, asparagus is a great food to help with blood clotting and regulating blood pressure. As an added bonus, fibre and saponins support digestive tract health. You can slide in some Asparagus Fries while reading, definitely a good snack for these benefits or you’re in the mood for something more substantial then try this Salmon and Asparagus Tart.
8. Nuts are a lean source of protein, and the unsaturated fat can help reduce cholesterol. They also contain an amino acid that helps ease blood flow; and vitamin E, which may help stop the development of plaque in the arteries. A topping of hazelnuts with Slow Cooked Leek & Potato Soup is just fantastic and another great alternative is this Parsnip Soup.
We hope you include these foods into your diet, as they will really make a difference to your heart health and reduce the risk of any future heart problems too.