It is no exaggeration to say that the heart is one of the most vital organs keeping us alive – which is why we should treat it like the precious treasure that it is.
‘Many of us take this vital organ for granted, but the heart really needs all the help it can get to stay healthy,‘ says marketing manager at Jungle, Kershnee Kallee.
‘A big part of this is taking in the right nutrients, while cutting down on the foods that increase bad cholesterol and blood pressure.’
Kershnee’s top picks for heart-friendly nutrient choices, and where to find them:
The most important role that Beta-Glucan plays in the body are to help to lower LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels as part of a heart-healthy diet. Lowering bad cholesterol is especially important because of the link between high cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Where to find it? Present in grains such as barley as well as in certain types of mushrooms, baker’s yeast and some types of seaweed. The most affordable and abundant sources of this precious water-soluble fibre are Oats.
The fibre found in many affordable foods has been shown to reduce heart disease risks by improving blood lipid profiles, lowering blood pressure, improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation and helping maintain healthy body weight. Fibre actually has so many benefits that some say it is the key to longevity.
Where to find it? Oats, barley, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, oranges and pears all contain fibre.
Antioxidants are substances that work to deactivate free radicals by binding to oxidants and preventing them from causing cell damage.
Where to find it? Oats, leeks, onions, garlic, pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach and tea.
A humble mineral with a massive job to do, magnesium is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It helps to maintain nerve and muscle function and keeps your heart rhythm steady. High intakes of magnesium are also believed to significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Where to find it? Barley, Oats, black beans, soy and tofu, almonds, pumpkin, sesame seeds and spinach are all excellent sources of magnesium.
Also known as one of the B-vitamins, it helps regulate the levels of amino acids homocysteine which is linked to contributing to heart disease risks.
Where to find it? Spinach, mint, Bengal, green and black gram and soy are some of the most well-known sources of folates. Oats also contain appreciable levels.
With World Heart Day just around the corner, 29 September to be exact, we should all remember to give our hearts the love they deserve.