Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control, three out of four Americans have a heart age that is older than their own age? It seems like we might be a nation of human time bombs, ready to go off because our hearts have prematurely aged due to factors like high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking.
If this concerns you have faith. There are some simple ways to turn back the clock, if you will, on your heart age, mostly with a few dietary changes. The editors at “Eat This, Not That! magazine have identified a few of the best choices to help with reducing aging on your heart, dropping pounds and lowering your odds of getting diabetes.
Here is the list:
Dark Chocolate – There are many studies that speak to the benefits of consuming cocoa. The most helpful dark chocolate contains 74% or more of cacao. Researchers attribute cocoa’s health benefits to polyphenols and flavanols, anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect the heart. Two long term studies suggest eating one to two servings a week will reduce your risk of stroke compared to those who don’t consume dark chocolate.
Edamame – The soybean pods are a great anytime snack because they’re an excellent source of magnesium, folate and potassium. These nutrients can help lower blood pressure and support heart health, reducing your risk for heart disease. Shoot for eating 7 grams of fiber to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Rooibos Tea – Did you know that inflammation in the body is directly tied to obesity, as well as diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. When anxiety rides high, stress hormones like cortisol tend to take over. Cortisol has been called the belly fat hormone for a reason. The flavanoid Aspalathin, found in Rooibos tea has been shown to be particularly good at reducing stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage. So add this to your tea time routine.
Tomatoes – tomatoes are heroes in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Lycopene, an antioxidant that, unlike most nutrients in fresh produce, increases after cooking and processing is found in tomatoes. Many studies show that a diet that includes regular intake of tomatoes lowers the risk of skin damage, certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. Most of the disease-fighting polyphenols in tomatoes occur in the skin, so grape and cherry tomatoes are considerably healthier than the larger beefsteak kind.
Walnuts – I have seen information that speaks to how the shape of our certain foods is an indicator of what organs they benefit. If that is true, then heart shaped walnuts are giving a big hint.
Tomorrow, I will add a few more choices to this list. Share your feedback with me on facebook if you agree or disagree with this list.