It’s a new year, and cardiovascular disease still remains the No. 1 killer of Americans—as it has been for decades. In fact, each year, it causes more deaths than cancer and respiratory diseases combined.
One-third of your cardiovascular disease risk stems from a family history or your so-called “genetics.”
But the other two-thirds relates directly to diet and lifestyle!
So, today, let’s look at seven delicious, healthy foods that can help you reduce your risk of developing this all-too-common, deadly disease…
Seven tasty foods to add to the menu in 2021
1.) Avocadoes. This once–exotic food contains loads of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, in one study of almost 18,000 men and women, those who regularly enjoyed avocadoes slashed their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by an impressive 50 percent.
Metabolic syndrome refers to having the following risk factors—all of which significantly raise your risk of suffering a cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke:
- A large waistline
- High triglycerides (blood fats)
- Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- High fasting blood sugar
So, try eating two to three avocadoes a week. I try to keep a nice, fresh batch of homemade guacamole in the fridge—for easy enjoyment.
2.) Berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries are not only delicious….they also all contain concentrated doses of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect against inflammation and oxidative stress—two major causes of cardiovascular disease.
Just remember to bypass the conventionally grown berries and opt only for organic berries. They’re more expensive, but that’s because they don’t contain the harmful pesticide residue found on most conventionally grown berries.
3.) Garlic. Garlic has been studied for years for its ability to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Like berries, it seems to work by reducing chronic inflammation. And in one recent study, garlic tablets worked as well as prescription drugs to “significantly” reduce blood pressure in men and women diagnosed with “stage 1” hypertension.
But instead of taking a tablet, I recommend simply adding more fresh garlic to your cooking for a potent, natural, food dose. Lately, I’ve been adding a clove of fresh, minced garlic to olive oil, vinegar, lemon, and parmesan as a light, heart-healthy vinaigrette to drizzle over our salad greens.
4.) Green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables. A recent, major study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found that eating green, leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables reduced cardiovascular disease risk by almost 20 percent. Plus, this healthy habit even reduces your mortality rate! Both leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables seem to protect your heart by reducing inflammation and blood pressure and supporting healthy circulation.
Of course, there are plenty of green, leafy vegetables from which to choose, including arugula, bok choy, collards, kale, spinach, and swiss chard. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.
5.) Legumes. Multiple studies show that eating legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) lowers your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. And, according to Harvard researchers, eating legumes every day can even treat the disease! In fact, in one study, men and women who ate a cup of legumes a day experienced significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in just three months.
6.) Nuts. As I reported last month, even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now admits that eating walnuts supports heart health. But studies suggest the benefits aren’t just limited to walnuts. Many types of nuts (and even peanut butter) protect the heart and lower disease risk.
In fact, in a 2009 study, consuming five servings per week of any type of nut (or peanut butter) lowered cardiovascular disease risk by an impressive 46 percent! And that study involved women with Type II diabetes. So, just imagine what it will do to men and women without a confounding factor! All you need is one handful a day. Though, I typically recommend skipping the sugar-laden peanut butters and reaching for whole nuts, like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and more.
7.) Wild-caught seafood. As I reported in the October 2016 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, a major meta-analysis of 19 different studies involving more than 45,000 men and women found that people with the highest omega-3 fatty acid levels have a 25 percent lower risk of dying from a heart attack than those with the lowest levels. And of course, fatty fish like salmon is an excellent source of these heart-healthy omega-3s.
As always, I suggest opting for wild-caught fish—not farm-raised. In addition, most people still need to take a fish oil supplement to get the optimal amounts of omega-3s, as I outline in the June 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“Why I’m upping my recommendations for this ‘controversial’ supplement”).
Protect your heart well into your 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond!
Without a doubt, the science shows that following a healthy, balanced Mediterranean-type diet—filled with the seven, delicious foods I discussed today—will protect your heart well into your 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond.
But you should also try to find ways to reduce stress, the No. 1 hidden cause of heart disease, by practicing some daily mindfulness meditation. For guidance, check out my book New World Mindfulness.
Of course, in many places, they shut down access to many types of stress-reducing services—such as acupuncture, bodywork, and massage—during the coronavirus pandemic panic. And this hysterical overreaction led to a tragic spike in suicides and overdoses—as people could not find safe ways to combat with their stress, despair, and anxiety. So be sure to take time for yourself—starting today.
One of my favorite ways to combat stress is by taking a winter walk.
For more insight into natural ways to protect your heart as you get older, I encourage you to check out my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. This innovative, online learning tool outlines the natural, heart-healing pathway to low blood pressure, a stroke-free brain, and never having to take a dangerous heart medication again. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
P.S. Tune back in tomorrow for a groundbreaking report on how enjoying “happy hour” can provide significant protection against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008.” Nutr J. 2013 Jan 2;12:1. doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-12-1.
“Effects of Allium sativum (garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension.” Pak J Pharm Sci. 2013 Sep;26(5):859-63. PMID: 24035939.
“The effect of green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake on the incidence of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis.” JRSM Cardiovasc Dis. 2016;5:2048004016661435. doi.org/10.1177/2048004016661435
“Love those legumes!” Harvard Health Publishing, 10/25/18. (health.harvard.edu/blog/love-those-legumes-2018102515169#:~:text=Legumes%20for%20heart%20health,%2C%20heart%20disease%2C%20or%20strokes)
“Regular consumption of nuts is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in women with type 2 diabetes.” J Nutr. 2009;139(7):1333-1338. doi.org/10.3945/jn.108.103622
”ω-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and coronary heart disease. Pooling project of 19 cohort studies.” JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(8);1-13. doi.org/ 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2925.