The main job of the heart is to pump blood around the body, which sends oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body and carries away unwanted carbon dioxide and waste products. Eating healthily is essential in order to keep the heart in top condition, as unhealthy foods can cause blockages in the blood vessels supplying the heart. Most people are aware of the damage eating foods high in saturated fat can do to the blood vessels, but some other foods contain nutrients beneficial to the heart and blood vessels. Dietician Juliette Kellow lists five foods which can help maintain heart health into old age.
Fish contains various vitamins and nutrients beneficial to heart health, including omega-3, potassium and vitamins B6 and B12.
In one review of studies into fish and heart health, it was found eating four or more portions of fish a week was associated with a 21 per cent reduced risk of having a heart attack.
Nuts contain the plant-based form of omega-3, as well as fibre, monounsaturated, vitamin E and plant sterols, which are all heart-healthy ingredients.
Numerous studies have shown eating nuts helps to lower bad cholesterol in the blood, while raising good cholesterol.
Every daily serving of wholegrains has been estimated to lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by nine per cent, according to Kellow.
Oats are particularly beneficial thanks to their beta-glucan content which can help to lower cholesterol.
Fruit and veg
Fruit and vegetables contain fibre which lowers cholesterol, potassium which controls blood pressure, and antioxidants which protect against damage from free radicals.
“All fruit and veg provide a combination of nutrients that keep the heart healthy,” said Kellow.
Pulses are rich in soluble fibre, which forms a gel inside the digestive tract and binds to cholesterol, reducing its absorption by the body.
One review of studies concluded eating a daily serving of pulses lowers bad cholesterol by five per cent.
“Any disruption to [blood] flow can be life changing, but nutrition can help maintain heart health into old age,” said Kellow.
Daily Express :: Health Feed