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Foods for a Healthier Heart

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally in the 21st century. Vegan foods have lots of heart-protective nutrients and can reduce the risk of diabetes, hypertension and obesity, which are all major causes of heart disease.

Plant-based foods are beneficial to your heart health in general, but the ingredients in them can make a difference in the health-promoting outcomes. Therefore, fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are the most natural ingredients and the best options for keeping us healthy.

Whole grains: Try swapping out white rice with brown rice, and use whole grain flour in baking instead of white flour. Soak raw oats with plant-based milk of choice in a jar, add your favorite vegan toppings and mix well, then cover and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The soluble oat fiber – beta-glucan is known to lower LDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 10%, and the overnight soaking process breaks down phytic acid, which can inhibit your body from absorbing minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: They are also an excellent source of heart-protective antioxidants and minerals, including the rich nitrates that can widen blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure, and the abundant vitamin K can help prevent the hardening of heart arteries.

Nuts: Pistachios can help people deal with stress better, thus lowering their blood pressure. Walnuts are the only nuts abundant in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which reduces plaque buildup in coronary arteries.

Beans: Soy is rich in phytoestrogens or plant-based estrogens; hence it is naturally anti-atherosclerotic for postmenopausal women.

Olive Oil: According to a large-scale study including more than 90,000 men and women from 1990 to 2014, replacing margarine, butter, mayonnaise, or dairy fat by 5 grams per day with the equivalent amount of olive oil reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5-7%.

Turmeric: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, may help reverse heart disease development. Although curcumin is not well absorbed in the body, combining black pepper with turmeric can improve curcumin absorption by up to 2,000%.

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