Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. The numbers make this reality even more frightening. Studies done by the American Heart Association show that 1,400,000 people die from heart disease annually, and 2600 Americans die daily. Maintaining optimal heart health is not something to take lightly. We all deserve to live long, healthy, fruitful lives, which requires being mindful of the foods you’re putting into your body. In the diet-crazed world we live in, let’s not only prioritize slimming our waists and trimming our belly fat. It’s tremendously important to protect our hearts (literally and figuratively).
In order to keep our hearts pumping and blood flowing, we must fill our bodies with good, nutritious foods. Think feel-good foods that’ll cater to our good cholesterol levels. We reached out to Robert Segal, MD, a board-certified cardiologist and the founder of Manhattan Cardiology. He’s also the co-founder of Labfinder.com, which allows users to book medical tests and appointments online. Consider these the best heart-healthy foods to fill your fridge with. There’s also a comprehensive list of foods that aren’t the best for your heart and a breakdown on why exercise is so good for your cardiovascular health. Here’s to your healthiest heart yet.
1. Oats and Barley
“Oats and barley contain a special type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has a host of benefits for heart and human health,” explains Segal. “Beta-glucans bind to bile acids and cholesterol in the intestines and prevent their absorption into the body. So if you have high cholesterol, it would be a good idea to incorporate oats or oatmeal for breakfast on a regular basis. Beta-glucans are also found in seaweed, baker’s yeast, and various species of mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake, and maitake.”