Friends of your heart

Deepshikha Agarwal
Filed on January 31, 2020

Certain foods are good for the body and it makes sense to include them in the diet

Heart disease is considered one of the deadliest killers. We know we are what we eat, so let's look at the heart's  five best friends. Make them your pals by including them in your daily diet. They will not only keep your heart safe but will also help you stay in shape.

Fish
Replacing red meat with oily fishes like salmon, mackerel and tuna is always good for your heart. Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, and low in saturated fats unlike other meats. Eating just two servings of fish a week can actually reduce the risk of any heart disease by reducing the triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels. Go for steamed, grilled or baked fish instead of fried. People who don't like seafood can also opt for fish oil capsules. One capsule a day after breakfast is ideal for a healthy heart.

Green tea
Who knew that a cup of tea could do so much for us? Green tea is loaded with health benefits. In fact, it is the only type of tea that is loaded with polyphenols. An antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in green tea has been proven to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is also shown that green tea increases metabolism, promoting weight loss when combined with exercise and a healthy diet. So, drinking just two to three cups a day can not only increase the efficiency of the immune system but also reduce the risk of heart problems.

Dark chocolate
Chocolate lovers would love     this. A bar of chocolate is high in antioxidants like flavonoids. Having one small bar twice a week can actually reduce the risk of plaque formation by 32 per cent. But let's not forget these chocolates are also high in sugars and calories which can add to your body weight. Be careful and select a dark chocolate with cocoa content of minimum 70 per cent, and have it in moderation.

Olive oil
Did you know one tablespoon of olive oil provides eight per cent of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for the wonder antioxidant vitamin E? vitamin E prevents the formation of any kind of blockages in the heart.  Olive oil is considered to be the best cooking oil as the fat percentage goes in this manner: Saturated fats (bad fats) - 13 per cent; MUFA (good fats) - 72 per cent and PUFA (good fats) - 8 per cent. This composition makes it one of the best friends of your heart, and they can be included in the diet by drizzling on salads or using as a dip. Add your favourite beans if desired and enjoy it with boiled vegetables or whole wheat pasta.

Walnuts
These nuts are also called brain nuts and is a natural medicine for the heart being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids - a special type of protective fat which the body cannot manufacture. Eating walnuts regularly can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body. And the high fibre content in walnuts can prevent weight gain and fat deposits. It also acts as a laxative. So, add those walnuts to your meal for that extra nutrition, flavour and crunch.  
wknd@khaleejtimes.com


 
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