The latest South African health statistics show that about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily in our country. The latest findings show that 6.3 million South Africans are living with high blood pressure, while we have one of the highest rates of hypertension worldwide. Heart failure is in the top 10 causes of death in South Africa but it is not all doom and gloom – a plant-based diet, free from cholesterol and saturated animals fats, has been shown to help prevent and even reverses heart disease.
We have carefully selected four delicious plant-based foods that are not only tasty but are good for your heart!
Top Four Foods for your Heart: 1. Kale
What can kale not do?
In addition to boosting your immune system, counteracting the negative effects of smoking and preventing the common cold; kale reduces your chances of developing heart disease. Health-promoting phytonutrients in kale are extremely beneficial for heart health and the compound, glucoraphanin, found in the leafy green helps plaque from building in your arteries.
According to the American Heart Association; “There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits“. While several studies suggest that “soy may help reduce menopausal symptoms, and lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.”
Studies have found that a single handful of nuts every day may cut your risk of having a heart attack by half. Evidence also suggests that nuts boost longevity. So nuts are the ultimate snack food; choose them over chips and a spoonful of peanut butter over sweets. Also while you are at it… try a brisk walk each day. Just 60 minutes of moderate exercise will help your immune system, help you sleep and give you more energy.
4. Whole Grains
Grain products range from pasta, bread, oatmeal and cereals (even Fry’s is made from a blend of grains!). Eating whole grains have a number of important health benefits. The dietary fibre from the whole grains, when forming part of a balanced diet, reduce blood cholesterol levels which promote a healthy heart.
Why not turn these top healthy foods for your heart into a delicious, protein-packed, salad? Our recipes are brimming with taste and make eating better easier! Head over to our salad recipe section now or let us know what your tops tips are for good heart health on Twitter!