HomeFood & DrinkRecipes

10 Superfoods you should be eating

10 Superfoods you should be eating
Some superfoods work even better than supplements to slash your risk of heart disease and boost your overall health. Not only will these ten superfoods you should be eating delight your taste buds, but they will also help to prevent many of the causes of heart attacks
Breeze through breakfast with overnight oats topped with banana or frozen berries and dusted with cinnamon, or homemade avocado toast. Tuck into a vibrant stir-fry packed full of carrots, broccoli and garlic, or try something lighter like a spinach salad tossed with cranberries and walnuts.
You can even enjoy luscious strawberries dipped in rich, decadent dark chocolate, all while getting a huge dose of heart health from food fats and fibre to anti-oxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. 
Credit: OKrasyuk

The following foods will help with the following: 

  • Reduce your risk of artery-clogging atherosclerosis 
  • Whittle away at cholesterol 
  • Lower your
  • Cool inflammation 
  • Neutralise damaging free radicals 
  • Reduce your chances of developing
"Take a trip to your local farmers’ market for the freshest of fresh garden produce"
You don’t have to go to a health food shop to find them; just push your trolley around the aisles of your local supermarket and seek out the fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products. Or take a trip to your local farmers’ market for the freshest of fresh garden produce.

1. Apples 

Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Gala apples are among the foods richest in anti-oxidants, thanks to large quantities of the flavonoid quercetin, also present in delicious things like olive oil and red wine. (Flavonoids are natural chemicals in plants that, in your bloodstream, remove free radical molecules, fight inflammation and impede cancer). They are also a good source of fibre
Apples are a rich source of pectin, a soluble fibre. In a recent US study at the University of California, people who ate two apples a day had fewer oxidised, artery-attacking LDLs than non-apple eaters—endorsing the old "apple a day" theory

2. Avocados 

Credit: locknloadlabrador
In a Mexican study, people who ate one avocado a day for a week had reductions in total cholesterol of seventeen per cent. While their levels of unhealthy LDLs andtriglycerides fell, beneficial HDLs actually rose—thanks, perhaps, to avocado’s high levels of monounsaturated fat.
Avocados are also full of a cholesterol-cutting nutrientcalled beta-sitosterol and are a good source of folic acid, vitamin E and potassium. (However, note that avocados are high in fat and eating too many could lead to weight gain if the energy isn’t used up with physical activity.)

3. Bananas 

Researchers from India found that people who ate two bananas a day cut their blood pressure levels by as much as ten per cent, thanks to this fruit’s artery-relaxing potassium and magnesium. Potassium also helps to regulate sodium and water content in the bloodstream—high levels of both raise blood pressure.
(Warning: if you have diabetes, check your blood sugar after eating a banana—its high carbohydrate count could send your glucose soaring.)

4. Broccoli 

Credit: bhofack2
Studies suggest that gluco-raphanin, a compound in broccoli shown to fight cancer, may also cut the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Unlike anti-oxidant molecules that attack a single free radical and then lose their power, this powerful substance boosts the body’s entire anti-oxidant defence system so that it can disarm lots of free radicals.
Flavonoids in broccoli also cool inflammation and discourage formation of blood clots. Broccoli also contains folate which helps your body make DNA, and calcium which strengthens your bones. 

5. Walnuts 

One serving of walnuts contains 2.6g of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that helps to prevent blood clots and promote a healthy heartbeat. Walnuts are also rich in vitamin B6, which helps to control homocysteine. In one study, people who ate 40g of walnuts everyday for six weeks cut levels of extra-harmful very low density lipo proteins (VLDLs) by 27 per cent.
These delicious nuts also provide the amino acid arginine, which helps your body to produce nitric acid, a molecule that relaxes constricted blood vessels.

6. Garlic 

Your heart may well benefit from regular garlic consumption. Many herbalists and naturopaths consider garlic something of a miracle food. Although the medical establishment is not as convinced, scientists have shown that the compounds in garlic can be good for the heart, helping to lower blood pressure and to suppress production of harmful LDL cholesterol in the liver. This is due to the allicin and other cholesterol-lowering compounds found in garlic. 
"In Germany, processed garlic is the basis of a drug used for lowering blood pressure"
In Germany, processed garlic is the basis of a drug used for lowering blood pressure. Garlic also adds a delicious flavour to food—although make sure your brush your teeth after if you're planning on making use of its aphrodisiac properties!  

7. Carrots 

Carrots contain very high levels of beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that guards against artery-clogging oxidised LDL cholesterol. Only foods like carrots offer this protection and recent studies suggest that anti-oxidant supplements don’t help your heart.
Cooked carrots have twice the anti-oxidant power of raw carrots because heat breaks down tough cell walls so that your body can use what’s inside. Carrots also provide blood pressure-lowering potassium and magnesium, plus the homocysteine-lowering combination of folate; vitamin B6; and the anti-oxidants alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. 

8. Berries

Credit: Magone
From cranberries to strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, these tiny fruits would be high on any list of anti-oxidant-rich foods. Inside each juicy berry are beneficial plant-based compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol and anthocyanins (which give berries their brilliant red and blue colour).
"Berries also contain salicylic acid, the same anti-inflammatory substance found in paracetamol"
A great source of vitamin C and fibre, berries also act as anti-oxidants that can reduce the oxidation of LDLs and cool inflammation. Berries also contain salicylic acid, the same anti-inflammatory substance found in paracetamol. Frozen berries make it possible to enjoy some sort of berry every day, regardless of the season.

9. Kidney beans 

Eating beans four times a week—as baked beans, in dips, chilli dishes or a salad sprinkled with chickpeas or blackbeans—could cut your risk of coronary heart disease by twenty to thirty per cent. Kidney beans especially are rich in LDL-lowering soluble fibre (6g in a 100g serving) and homocysteine-controlling folate, as well as blood pressure-lowering potassium and magnesium
Thanks to healthy doses of fibre and protein, beans give you steady energy because they’re low GI, so there is no sudden rise (or fall) in blood sugar that raises your risk of metabolic syndrome and weight gain.

10. Porridge oats 

Credit: Gingagi
Beta-glucan, the soluble fibre in oats, acts like a sponge in your intestines, absorbing cholesterol-rich bile acids and eliminating them. The result is lower LDL cholesterol that won't make your blood sugar spike. Having a big bowl of porridge each day could cut cholesterol by two to three per cent. Soluble fibre may also help to lower blood pressure as it has a very low GI
Banner credit: Foxys_forest_manufacture
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Loading up next...