Help beat heart disease with these top heart-healthy superfoods

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD),  are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels.  Heart attacks and strokes are the most common form of CVD which are basically blockages that prevent blood from flowing to the heart or brain.  CVD is the leading cause of death in North America and especially those with diabetes.  This prevalent disease  kills more North Americans each year than all of the different forms of cancer put together. [1] Along with a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, no smoking, blood pressure checks, and maintaining a healthy weight - you can help beat CVD by using one useful weapon….superfoods.

Powerful antioxidants found in a variety of superfoods help to fight off harmful free radicals which also contribute to a heart disease and a whole number of health issues such as diabetes. In addition, a diet that includes superfoods containing high fiber, Essential Fatty Acids and anti-inflammatory properties all work to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, chronic inflammation and blood clotting in the human body which are other nasty contributors to CVD and diabetes.[2]

You can easily decrease your risks of developing CVD and diabetes by using these top delicious superfoods daily and help to maintain a healthy heart:

  • High in fiber, folate and essential fatty acids.
  • Helps keep arteries clear and levels of bad cholesterol down.
  • Keeps you feeling full for longer, reducing cravings for unhealthy, sugary snacks.
  • Consuming low glycemic Oats/Oat products can help reduce your risk for developing diabetes which is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Opt for nutrient dense, high fiber quick flake or steele cut oats for maximum benefits as opposed to instant options -  they contain bad for your body sugars that your body doesn’t need.
  • Reach for Oat Flour instead of White Flour to increase fiber content in baking and cooking.

  • Blood thinning effect helping to avoid blood clots and reduce stress on heart.
  • Reduces inflammation in the body.
  • Contains oleic acid, a heart healthy monounsaturated fat that can help to reduce blood pressure.
  • One of the richest natural sources of antioxidants (a staggering 98,00 ORAC score for raw cacao powder), higher than red wine and green tea. These antioxidants help improve blood vessel dilation and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • 1 to 2% of cacao is Theobromine (an anti-bacterial) which helps to dilate blood vessels resulting in the heart not having to pump as hard.
  • An excellent source of magnesium which relaxes blood vessels.
  • Ensure 2 Tablespoons a day of raw cacao nibs or raw coconut cacao nibs for benefits, and ensure that raw cacao powder is used instead of the over processed and nutrient deficient Dutch or processed cocoa powder.

  • Good source of magnesium – a mineral that helps relax blood vessels.
  • Works as a prebiotic, providing the body with healthy bacteria to help fight off damaging free radicals.
  • Help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and blood sugar.
  • Long term studies indicate that 6 servings of whole grains per week can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis (plaque that narrows blood vessels) and stenosis (narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways).[3]
  • Swap out your gluten rich pastas and high starch white rice dishes for nutrient rich quinoa ones.

  • Reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Contain cyperone (an active ingredient), a sesquiterpene that benefits the heart and blood pressure.
  • Anthocyanins (the red flavonoid pigment in Goji berries) help to maintain the strength and integrity of coronary arteries.
  • Rich source of four polysaccharides can help to reduce blood pressure.
  • Can neutralize free radical superoxide by up to 40%.[4]
  • Use gojis instead of high sugar low nutrient dried fruits like raisins or apricots. A handful a day keeps CVD away!

  • Reduces blood sugar swings by up to 40% as it slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to simple sugars – beneficial for diabetics and therefore reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Helps to thin blood up to 22% so your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard without affecting coagulation.
  • Extremely high Essential Fatty Acid content (3:1 - Omega 3:Omega 6) which supports our cardiovascular system.
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of chia a day will have huge heart effects. Simply sprinkle on foods that you use!

  • A natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial which help to eliminate bacterial/viral lesions on artery walls.
  • Can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce insulin levels.
  • Regulates blood cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides to help with heart disease prevention.
  • Coconut sugar is a low glycemic natural sweetener that will decrease body's insulin levels and keep liver-fat-forming-fructose to a minimum!
  • Extremely high fiber in Coconut Flour to help reduce bad LDL and increase the healthy HDL.
  • Prevents oxidization of cholesterol, one of the main causes of atherosclerosis.
  • Swap out bad flour choices for coconut flour. Use coconut oil in lieu of canola or olive oil when frying and opt for coconut sugar for baking and daily use as a sweetener. Your heart will thank you.

  • Contains oleic acid, a heart healthy monounsaturated fat that can reduce blood pressure.
  • High in fiber which helps control blood sugar levels by slowing down the release of sugars from the digestive tract, therefore reducing your risk of heart disease later in life.
  • Soluble fiber content helps lower cholesterol levels by promoting the excretion of bile to excrete bad cholesterol from the body.
  • Eat a banana a day, or more simply use 1-2  Tablespoons of banana powder in smoothies,  add to  dips, use in salad dressing and in baked goodies.

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