There’s a reason that doctors recommend a healthy, balanced diet. The body needs a regular supply of all of the essential nutrients in order to maintain good overall health. Eating right can help to keep your brain sharp, keep your natural defenses up by improving immune system function, and keep all of your organs functioning properly, particularly your heart.
When it comes to good heart health, nothing is more important than getting enough fruits and vegetables. That’s because these natural wonders contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that the heart needs in order to work properly. While variety in your diet is important, here are six of the top veggies for promoting good heart health:
1. Broccoli – this veggie is considered one of the “super foods” because it is so loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients. Along with a high content of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help to rid your body of built up toxins that can affect heart health, broccoli is also low in cholesterol and high in fiber, which makes it great for your arteries.
2. Carrots – carrots contain a very high level of carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help to fight off harmful free radicals which can cause heart disease. That’s right, carrots are good for more than your eyesight, they can also do your heart a lot of good. They are low in sodium, which makes them good for helping to lower blood pressure and they are cholesterol free, which means they won’t contribute to clogging your arteries.
3. Leafy greens – green foods are a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, which make them very good for your heart. In fact, greens such as kale, spinach and arugula can be an important weapon in fighting heart disease, particularly in women. Studies have shown that the magnesium in these greens can even lower the risk of sudden heart failure in women. And spinach in particular is rich in iron, another vital nutrient for women.
4. Brussels sprouts – another green veggie that can do wonders for your heart, Brussels sprouts are chock full of vitamins and, among other benefits, can help to reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel health. This translates into better blood flow, which means better overall cardiovascular health.
5. Squash – although not one of the healthy greens, this root vegetable is no less important for your cardiac health. It contains high levels of Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate, all of which can help to improve heart function. And best of all, squash comes in many varieties which can be prepared and enjoyed in many ways, making it a delicious addition to your regular diet.
6. Cauliflower – this veggie doesn’t get as much press as its more popular cousin, broccoli, but it is no less important for good heart health. Not only is it loaded with antioxidants and fiber, it also contains a substance called allicin, which is known to help lower the risk of heart attacks and reduce cholesterol.
There are many other vegetables that can help to promote good heart health but this short list should give you a great head start to getting your blood pumping and your heart feeling stronger.