Honglan Wang’s Top 3 Heart Healthy Foods You Should Incorporate Into Your Diet
To help reduce your risk of heart disease, eating a diet rich in heart healthy foods is vital. Foods such as fruit and vegetables, whole-grain products, and fish are some of the most beneficial to your health. And although altering your diet can look like a daunting task at first, it’s quite simple, so long as you take it slow. Honglan Wang is a Pharmaceutical Research Consultant in Redwood City, California with a Ph.D. in cardiovascular pharmacology. She recommends modifying your diet one or two changes at a time. For example, switching from white bread to whole-grain bread one month and from 2% milk to 1% milk or nonfat milk the next. These small changes add up and will ultimately leave your cardiovascular health in a much better state. Continue reading for Honglan Wang’s list of the top three heart healthy foods you should be incorporating into your diet.
1. Leafy Greens
When it comes to vegetables, leafy greens are king, shares Honglan Wang. Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach, lettuce, kale, or collard greens, are known for being chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Specifically, leafy green vegetables are almost always rich in vitamin K, which is a super vitamin that helps protect your heart’s arteries. Studies have shown that people with diets high in leafy greens are 16% less likely to develop heart disease. That is why Honglan Wang suggests working these heart healthy veggies into your diet ASAP, whether you prefer them as a steamed side dish or a fresh, crunchy salad.
Who doesn’t love berries? Lucky for you, Honglan Wang states that berries, such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are some of the most nutrient-rich fruit in existence. Berries have been proven to reduce inflammation, which is a major contributor to heart disease. Consuming berries also can lower cholesterol and improve the functioning of the cells that line the blood vessels, which works to reduce blood clots and regulate blood pressure. Most people enjoy snacking on berries, so whether you make berries your go-to dessert or prefer to top your yogurt and granola with them in the morning, there are plenty of ways to work these heart healthy foods into your daily routine.
According to Honglan Wang, avocados are one of the best foods for both your heart and overall health. Avocados are a significant source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol and a person’s risk of heart disease. Avocado also contains beta-sitosterol which lowers cholesterol and reduces one’s risk of some cancers. Consuming just one avocado per day can have dramatic effects on your heart health, mainly coming from the fruit’s ability to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Further, avocados are jam packed with potassium, which plays a key role when it comes to regulating your heartbeat. Each avocado contains roughly 28% of the potassium humans require each day. Lastly, the potassium in avocados has also been shown to lower blood pressure, reducing your risk of a stroke by 15%.
Honglan Wang concludes that by slowly implementing these three foods into your regular diet, you can ensure that you remain healthy for a long time.