By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef
Thanks to ongoing studies in the medical science communities, the list of healthy attributes awarded to superfoods is constantly expanding. From broadening brain function to boosting the immune system to helping aid recovery, superfoods are well recognized as top-notch tools of wellness, delivering valuable nutrients essential for optimum living. Among these virtues, one of the most widely discussed accolades is heart health—a benefit for which many superfoods are quite sought after. But one look at the state of our country’s health and this popularity is easily explained.
Here are a few sobering facts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease and about 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s one in every four deaths! These numbers don’t need to be that high, as heart disease is preventable—and even treatable—through positive habits.
Human-based studies have shown that heart disease is virtually eliminated through the control of just three factors: cholesterol, smoking and blood pressure. That means that two out of three imperative components of a healthy heart are largely dependent on a healthy diet, along with movement and stress regulation. Plant-based diets, in general, are an enormous step in the right direction to enhancing coronary health and lowering blood pressure, and superfoods, with their saturation of important nutrients, can help expedite this process even further.
Superfoods support a healthy heart in many ways. Some, like hemp and chia, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids—the good fats that can help reduce bad cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. Others, like pomegranate and cacao, contain valuable antioxidants that can reduce blood pressure and help clear arteries. And many superfoods, like nutrient-dense grains and pseudograins (like buckwheat and quinoa), are full of fiber—an important macronutrient.
If you're looking to enhance your heart health (as we all very well should!), here are some of the many superfoods that can substantially help:
• Seeds and nuts
• Omega-3 rich foods like chia, hemp and flax
• Matcha and green tea
• Whole grains and pseudograins
• Cruciferous vegetables
With heart-friendly foods being so delicious, who knew preventive care could be so easy?