Heart Healthy Foods Your Cardiologist Should ‘Prescribe’

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/24/2014

Heart Healthy Foods Your Cardiologist Should ‘Prescribe’

Many doctors are quick to write prescriptions. But the truth is that some of our most powerful heart-healers are found in the grocery store, not the pharmacy. Here are five heart-healthy foods I strongly recommend adding to your diet if you haven’t already.

5 Foods for Heart Health

  1. Onions. This pungent vegetable contains quercetin, which has been shown to significantly reduce high blood pressure in hypertensive patients. In one study, participants took 730 mg of quercetin daily for one month, and the group averaged a solid drop of seven systolic points and five diastolic points. For the biggest benefits, eat onions raw, as this heart-healthy food retains its greatest medicinal punch before it is cooked. 

  2. Olive Oil. A long-time favorite of mine, olive oil contains healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, both of which help to block the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which fuels inflammation and heart disease. 

  3. Wild Salmon. This delicious, meaty hearthealthy food is loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) that penetrate layers of heart plaque, soothing inflammation in blood vessels and preventing blood-clotting deposits from lining coronary arteries. In one study, people who ate two meals of fatty fish per month—such as salmon—experienced a 30 percent reduction in cardiac arrest; four fatty-fish meals a month were associated with a 50 percent reduction in cardiac arrest! 

  4. Beets. For years, I've been drinking a homemade fruit-vegetable concoction for breakfast that almost always contains beets. Why? Because beets are one of the most heart healthy foods around. They offer a wide array of cardio-protective effects, which include helping to lower blood pressure and reduce homocysteine in the blood.

  5. Avocadoes. If you love guacamole, here’s good news. It’s another great heart healthy food. Avocadoes contain both vitamin E and glutathione, potent antioxidants that defend your body against inflammation that’s at the root of heart disease. Specifically, they help to prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, which can lead to clogged arteries.

With all of these heart-health foods, choose organic whenever possible. Three of the worst offenders when it comes to conventional produce are apples, peaches and strawberries--all three are sprayed the most. So, choosing organic is important. 

Now it’s your turn: Which of these heart-healthy foods do you eat regularly?

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