Before we get into the heart healthy foods list, let’s learn a little more about heart attacks and what causes them.
A heart attack is produced as a consequence of complete obstruction of a coronary artery or one of its branches. It produces irreversible damage to the heart muscle, consisting of necrosis or tissue death in that area of the heart. Coronary artery obstruction is produced by a combination of these mechanisms:
- Arteriosclerosis, progressive narrowing, and hardening of the artery.
- Thrombosis, or the formation of a blood clot in the interior of the narrowed artery, closing the blood flow completely.
Diet is very important concerning a heart attack for two reasons:
- Heart-healthy fruits, as well as heart-healthy vegetables, serve as a preventative role, while others encourage it.
- A heart-smart diet after a heart attack can contribute decisively to rehabilitation and the prevention of new crises.
Heart Healthy Foods List
FRUIT: Because of its antioxidant effect, it reduces heart attack risk.
LEGUMES: These provide fiber and B group vitamins. Legumes are highly recommended for a post-heart attack diet.
VEGETABLES: These provide antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals that reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis and infarction.
GRAPE: This is possibly among the best fruit on the heart healthy foods list, particularly black and red grapes. Fresh or in the form of (non-alcoholic) grape juice invigorates the heart and improves blood flow in the arteries that nourish it. A course of grape treatment for at least three consecutive days contributes to heart attack prevention and helps avoid future problems.
WALNUT: These strengthen the heart and improve blood flow in its arteries. Walnuts are particularly important as a heart disease prevention diet.
SOY: Soy and its derivatives such as tofu contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen that protects the arteries and prevents arteriosclerosis. It constitutes a very appropriate food for those wishing to prevent heart attack or recuperate from its consequences.
CHICKPEA: Their fiber is very effective in reducing the absorption of cholesterol from other foods. Chickpeas contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, folates, and other B vitamins that make them a great desirable diet for heart patients.
GARDEN PEA: Peas lack fat and sodium but do provide numerous vitamins and minerals. They have everything necessary for a heart-healthy diet.
ARTICHOKE: These are advantageous in the diet of those at risk of heart attack or those who have suffered one. They prevent arteriosclerosis and improve blood circulation in the heart’s arteries.
STRAWBERRY: This fruit contains the most powerful antioxidants of any, according to numerous studies. Strawberry can contribute to stopping the progress of arteriosclerosis and improve circulation in the coronary arteries after a heart attack.
SQUASH: Because of its lack of fat and sodium and its antioxidant vitamin content, squash is ideal for those who have suffered a heart attack. These individuals should eat squash at least three times a week, either baked, in soup or pureed.
PEACH: Although it is not a direct stimulant, it aids cardiac function because of its composition and is suggested for post-heart attack patients.
MANGO: These are rich in antioxidants. Mangoes improve the circulation of blood in the heart’s arteries and contribute to recuperation after a cardiac episode.
MACADAMIA: This oil-bearing nut is rich in unsaturated fat similar to that of olive oil. When used to replace animal fats, macadamias contribute to the reduction of cholesterol levels and to reverse arteriosclerosis thus preventing heart attacks. Macadamia’s are an excellent addition the heart healthy foods list as well.
POTATO: Potatoes, either baked or cooked with vegetables, with little or no salt, are highly recommended for those at risk of heart attack or who have experienced one.
WHEAT BRAN: Wheat bran reduces cholesterol level and the risk of suffering coronary disease or myocardial infarction. Ideally, it should be eaten in its natural state, together with the whole grain. Persons who do not eat sufficient whole grains for whatever reason may take bran as a supplement.
OLIVE OIL: This oil is a great addition to the heart healthy foods list because its principal component, oleic acid, is a monounsaturated fatty acid that protects against arteriosclerosis and heart attack. Olive oil should replace saturated fats from animal sources. Additionally, it is as effective as fish oil in the reduction of fibrinogen in the blood, a protein that forms the clots causing the infarction.
FISH: Fish consumption is healthy for the heart when it replaces meat. However, those that do not include fish or meat in their diet gain little or nothing from adding fish to it.
ANTIOXIDANTS: It has been proven that regular consumption of foods rich in antioxidant vitamins, such as fruits and vegetables, significantly reduces the risk of coronary disease. Other healthful components of plant-based foods, such as phytochemicals, may also have cardioprotective effects added to those of the antioxidant vitamins.
VITAMIN A: It has been shown that eating foods rich in provitamin A, such as carrots and spinach reduces the risk of coronary disease.
FLAVONOIDS: These are antioxidant phytochemicals found particularly in fruit. They may also be taken as supplements. They protect the heart against coronary disease.
COENZYME Q10: This is a powerful antioxidant produced within the body’s cells but can also be taken as a supplement. It promotes recuperation of the heart after myocardial infarction.
FIBER: Fiber is found only in plant-based foods, particularly in whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. Its regular consumption reduces cholesterol levels and heart attack risk.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 55-56. [heart healthy foods list]