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Cardiovascular disease remains leading cause of death in U.S.

Cardiovascular disease- it’s not glamorous and pink ribbons aren’t worn to bring attention to its devastating health affects, but did you know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? It is also more likely to impact us and those we love than other more “popular” diseases. So what should you be doing to protect your heart?

Beyond the common mantras of get more exercise, sleep at least eight hours per day and eliminate stress, medical experts suggest that what you eat may be the most important factor in eliminating cardiovascular disease.

Top foods to eat for cardiovascular disease


Assuming you are eating a diet the appropriate number of calories, the next issue is ensuring you are eating the right types of foods for your cardiovascular health. Experts suggest there are some foods which are simply better for your heart and can help eliminate cardiovascular disease. So what are they?

Nuts are essential for heart health


First, food experts suggest nuts are a great source of protein and should be consumed to ensure you get the proper nutrients for your heart’s health. Why are nuts so good? They are full of arginine (an amino acid), which makes nitric oxide and relaxes blood vessels and supports blood flow. Next, nuts also help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.

How good are nuts for you? According to a recent article published by CNN, “Devoted nut eaters 25% less likely to die from heart disease than those who don't eat nuts.”

Beans decrease chance of heart disease


Next, food experts suggest cardiovascular health can also be improved by eating beans every day. In fact, according to a recent study, individuals who ate beans every day had a 22% lower risk of developing heart disease than those who did not.

Why are beans so good for you? Beans are packed with folate, which reduces blood homocysteine, they are full of protein, and they also have fiber. What if you can’t eat beans by themselves? Maybe it’s time to get creative. Add beans to things you bake such as muffins or cookies or top them on a delicious salad.

Chocolate increases circulation


The next healthy food for cardiovascular health is dark chocolate, and this is one food that shouldn’t be hard for most of us to consume. Not only is dark chocolate delicious, it’s packed with flavonoids, which is a metabolite that promotes healthy blood circulation and supple arteries. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and risk of atherosclerosis.

So now that we know what we should be eating for cardiovascular health, what should we be avoiding? Unfortunately, there’s no news here. Experts suggest avoiding a high diet filled with sugar, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes and pastries.

We should also avoid saturated fats such as those found in sour cream, mayo, fatty cuts of meat, cocoa butter, palm oil, coconut oil and coconut milk. According to the American Heart Association, less than 7% of your total daily caloric intake should be from foods high in saturated fats.
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