According to CDC, heart disease still reigns as the top cause of death for men in the United States – 1 in every 4 male deaths, in fact. Also, this includes most racial groups, black or white, Hispanic or Native American.
Interestingly, but perhaps not very surprising, experts say that 49% of all Americans have at least one of the three top risk factors for heart disease:
- Being overweight/obese
- Having diabetes
- Having a poor diet
Not only can something as (relatively) simple as eating right help prevent future heart problems, but eating certain key foods can actually help improve the health of your heart.
So…what are these foods?
People who ate at a single cup of beans a day significantly lowered their systolic blood pressure, accoring to an Archives of Internal Medicine study.
Eating omega-3-rich fatty fish, such as salmon, twice a week can help lower the “bad” cholesterol, sometimes by up to 12%.
Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fat well known for helping to fight inflammation. Researchers at Yale have reported that just half of a cup a day can also help boost blood vessel function.
These nuts, which contain monosaturated fat (which is a good type of fat), provide a rich source of cholesterol-lowering sterols.
Yes, you read correctly! Now, don’t go overboard or anything, but researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong noted the LDL-lowering effects of capsaicinoids—compounds (which helps give chili peppers and jalapenos their flavor). Capsaicionoids apparently block the gene that causes arteries to contract, which leads to better blood flow to the heart. So, try adding half of a chili pepper or a tablespoon of chili flakes to those aforementioned beans, or another health dish of choice.
Guess what? Though egg yoks have carried quite the bad reputation for quite a while, researchers have found a link between egg consumption and clearer coronary arteries. So feel free to enjoy up to three eggs a day.
Similar to the resveratrol in grapes, pterostilbene, an antioxidant found in blueberries, can stimulate liver cells to better break down fat and cholesterol, according to USDA scientists.
It’s important to remember that eating right is just one part of your overall healthy heart strategy. You also need to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and stress less. And here’s another interesting tip: a study in the American Journal of Cardiology concluded that men who have sex two or three times a week tend to have 45 percent less of a heart disease risk.