Foods for Heart Health

Fruits and veggies in heart tapeResveratrol: Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and is a component of red wine.

Resveratrol has a number of beneficial health effects, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-aging, anti- inflammatory and life-prolonging effects have been reported in animal studies.

In also can be obtained from drinking grape juice for those who don’t drink alcohol.

Good News for Chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate has been proven to be good for your heart. Unfortunately for milk chocolate lovers, milk chocolate has too much sugar and fat while not enough of the antioxidants to be healthy, but an ounce or two a day of dark chocolate can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy.

Dark chocolate protects your heart in two ways:

Lowers Blood Pressure: Some studies have shown that a small amount of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. Lowers Cholesterol: Some studies have shown dark chocolate can reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent. Your cholesterol levels are an important indicator of heart disease.

Flavonoids are compounds found in some foods which help you body deal with stress, allergens and carcinogens(or cancer causing substances. The flavonoids anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins are found in blueberries, blackberries, cherries and grapes. These compounds increased vitamin C levels within the cells, strengthen small blood vessels and reinforced joints. They also prevent arthritis and hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease and stroke.

Flavones: These are flavonoid antioxidants found primarily in citris fruit and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. A study of 35,000 post-menopausal women showed a 22% lower risk of heart disease among those who consumed the most flavones from citris fruits.

Lower Blood Pressure

Another major factor in cardiovascular health is keeping your blood pressure in a good health range.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is dangerous because it causes the heart to work harder than it should. Over time, an overworked heart tends to enlarge. A slightly enlarged heart can function, but when the heart becomes significantly enlarged, it cannot function properly. High blood pressure also contributes to arterial disease by damaging the arteries with the excess pressure.

Mild cases of hypertension can be treated through lifestyle changes including a heart healthy diet and increasing exercise. In cases of severe hypertension, medication may be require to bring blood pressure under control. Medications and lifestyle changes can work well together. Some peopel have a genetic predisposition to hypertension and may need to take medications for life. For others, it is possible to prevent or control high blood pressure through natural means.

What is High Bood Pressure?

The systolic number is the top number which represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries.

The diastolic number is the bottom number which represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes after it contracts.

There is no exact ideal blood pressure for everyone, however, there is a healthy range and your doctor will determine what is right for you. Systolic blood pressure for most healthy adults falls between 90 and 120 and the normal range for diastolic pressure falls between 60 and 80. Current guidelines define normal blood pressure as lower than 120/80. Blood pressures between 120/80 and 140/90 used to be considered pre-hypertension, but currently are considered high.

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