Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women. We talk with Dr. Martha Grogan, the medical editor of a new book about heart health from the Mayo Clinic, on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm. Read our live web chat below!
Diet is an important factor in heart health, according to the book: Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life! The following is a list of recommended foods that offer medicinal value, and can make the difference between heart health and heart disease.
Fish: Think salmon, tuna or herring. Baked or broiled, not fried. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Olive oil: Try it on bread or as cooking oil. Olive oil, along with peanut, canola and flax seed oils, is a good alternative to butter because it’s high in monounsaturated fats which fight inflammation.
Cranberries: Cranberries and cranberry juice may reduce stiffness in your arteries. However, it may also interact with blood thinners. Consult your doctor first.
Grapes: Including the fruit, its juice, and wine. Antioxidants like the ones in grapes have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and may also reduce blood pressure, fight blood clots and regulate your heart rate. The darker the grape, the higher the antioxidant content.
Dark chocolate: Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavonoids which may reduce the risk of death from heart disease in many ways. Avoid milk chocolate, its fat and sugar content outweighs the cocoa.
Tea and coffee: Again with the flavonoids. One study found that people who drank three to six cups of tea or two to four cups of coffee every day were at a lower risk for heart disease. Skip the cream and sugar, try skim milk instead.
Beans: Especially soybeans. The fiber and antioxidants in beans have more than a couple benefits for your heart. Beans are also a good replacement for red meat.
Nuts: Like walnuts, almonds and pecans. Nuts help lower cholesterol and provide heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Be careful, nuts also contain a lot of calories; try eating just one to three ounces a day.
“Sticky” grains: Try adding oat and barley products to your diet. The soluble fiber in some grains may help to significantly lower your cholesterol.
*We recommend talking with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.*