Ten Alkaline Foods for a Healthy Heart

Ten Alkaline Foods for a Healthy Heart

by: Angela Hermes, RD

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is on the rise in other developed nations. This can be partially attributed to the standard American diet, which typically consists of large amounts of fat from fried foods and animal sources, with a low intake of fruits and vegetables. The best way to reduce your risk of heart disease is to eat a diet which consists of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of some heart healthy favorites to get you started:

  • Almonds: Almonds have been shown to reduce cholesterol, which in turn reduces heart disease risk. Almonds are also rich in healthy fats and vitamins.
  • Apples: Apples are high in a phytochemical called Quercetin. Quercetin prevents the release of histamine, which reduces inflammation. This is believed by researchers to play a key role in the apple’s protective effects against heart disease. Apples are also a good source of pectin, which is known to help to lower cholesterol.
  • Bananas: Bananas are an excellent source for potassium. Potassium is a key electrolyte which plays important roles in regulating fluid balance, which is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Foods which are high in potassium are considered to be heart healthy because they help to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
  • Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe contains a substance called adenosine which is used as a blood thinner and to relieve angina attacks in individuals who suffer from heart disease.
  • Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidants which are beneficial in preventing heart disease. Studies have demonstrated that individuals who consume at least one serving of carrots per day reduced their incidence of heart disease by up to 60%. In addition to this, carrots may help to prevent cancer and they promote good vision.
  • Flax: Flax seeds are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which reduces heart disease risk. Ground flaxseeds (also known as flax meal) have been shown to lower cholesterol in clinical trials.
  • Oranges: Oranges are a good source of pectin, a dietary fiber which is well known for its effectiveness at lowering cholesterol levels. Whole fruit contains more pectin than fruit juice. Eating 15 grams or more of fruit pectin each day has been to reduce cholesterol levels by 10 %. One whole orange contains about 7.5 grams of pectin. This means that eating 2 oranges each day will result in a 20% reduced risk of heart disease!
  • Papaya: Papayas are an excellent source for the antioxidant nutrients including vitamin C, carotenes, and flavonoids. Foods that are high in antioxidants are very heart healthy because they prevent free-radical damage. Free radical damage is known to lead to diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
  • Tomato: Tomatoes contain the phytochemical lycopene, which has been shown to aid in the prevention of heart disease. Lycopene content varies depending on the variety of tomato and how ripe it is. The reddest types of tomatoes contain up to 10 times as much lycopene as the yellow varieties.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts contain several different substances which are believed to contribute to the prevention of heart disease. They have a high content of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to contribute to lowering cholesterol levels. Walnuts also contain arginine, which is an essential amino acid. Arginine is converted by the body into nitric oxide, which is beneficial for healthy blood vessels. Walnuts also contain the antioxidant, ellagic acid, which has been shown to aid in the prevention of heart disease.

 

Virtually all fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains are considered to be heart healthy because they are low in saturated fats in addition to being nutrient dense. Eating a rainbow of colors from the plant world is a great way to reduce your heart disease risk factors and improve your overall health.

 

 

References

BALCH, JAMES F. AND PHYLLIS A. PRESCRIPTION FOR NUTRITIONAL HEALING. NEW YORK: AVERY PUBLISHING GROUP, 1997.

KITCHEN, LEANNE. THE PRODUCE BIBLE. AUSTRALIA: MURDOCH BOOKS, 2006.

MURRAY, MICHAEL AND JOSEPH PIZZORNO. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HEALING FOODS. NEW YORK: ATRIA BOOKS, 2005.

SORIA, CHERIE, DAVIS, BRENDA AND VESANTO MELINA. THE RAW FOOD REVOLUTION DIET. SUMMERTOWN, TN: BOOK PUBLISHING COMPANY, 2008.

 

© 2011 by AlkalineLifestyle.com.  All rights reserved


 

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.


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