The Best Superfoods To Eat To Keep Your Heart Strong and Warm This Winter
Embrace winter with caution! The cold winds not only impact your bone and skin health but also pose potential risks to your heart. Yes, it's true! Winter can introduce serious effects on heart health, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a heart-friendly diet. The colder months can be challenging for cardiovascular well-being as the cold weather may constrict blood vessels and elevate blood pressure.
Fortunately, safeguarding your heart is possible, and one effective method is by adopting a healthy diet for the winter season. So let's take a look at some of the best superfoods to eat to keep your heart strong and warm this winter.
Word of caution: Please consult a health professional before trying out any food on our list if you have an existing medical condition or a potential health condition that may get triggered by eating any of the superfoods.
What are some winter superfoods we should have on our plate?
Salmon, Sardines, and Trout
Fish is one of the best superfoods for winter. It contains unsaturated fatty acids, which, when swapped for saturated fats like those found in meat, might help lower cholesterol levels. However, the primary beneficial nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids present in fatty fish. Omega-3s are a type of unsaturated fat that could potentially diminish inflammation throughout the body, which, if unchecked, can harm blood vessels and contribute to heart disease.
These omega-3s have multiple potential health benefits: they may reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, diminish blood clotting, decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure, stabilize irregular heartbeats, and in children, potentially enhance learning abilities. Consuming fish at least once or twice a week, especially varieties rich in omega-3s, seems to decrease the risk of heart disease, particularly sudden cardiac death.
Sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate (ITC) found in broccoli, boasts anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings resulting from inflammation associated with chronic blood sugar issues. Broccoli supports heart health by providing fibers, fatty acids, and vitamins that help regulate blood pressure, leading to a decrease in bad cholesterol levels and promoting overall cardiovascular well-being. Additionally, broccoli serves a protective function in preventing damage to blood vessels.
Hailed as the "Mother of all Grains" by the Incas, quinoa was revered for its believed stamina-boosting properties among their warriors.
Quinoa is one of the superfoods to eat during the winter months. This superfood stands out as a high-protein source, containing nearly double the fiber content of many other grains. Packed with heart-healthy potassium and magnesium and naturally gluten-free, quinoa aids in regulating blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Moreover, it's beneficial for managing diabetes and weight loss goals.
Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
The combination of sweet potato and carrot juice offers the body a dose of potassium, an essential mineral with significant cardiovascular advantages, aiding in the reduction of hypertension and benefiting overall heart health.
Additionally, carrots and sweet potatoes carry other noteworthy benefits. Their richness in beta-carotene, converted into vitamin A, supports eye health by shielding against sun damage and preventing cataracts. Furthermore, yams, serving as a healthier substitute for regular potatoes, contain beta-carotene, antioxidants, and fiber.
Walnuts serve as a high source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid, which has been proven to have positive effects on cardiovascular health. Previous studies have demonstrated that nuts, especially walnuts, are linked to reduced rates of heart disease and stroke. This is attributed to their ability to lower LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels.
Almonds offer a dual benefit by reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often known as the 'bad' cholesterol, while elevating levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the 'good' cholesterol, thereby contributing to heart health. Furthermore, their anti-inflammatory properties serve as a shield against heart disease, enhancing overall cardiovascular protection. Despite their calorie density, incorporating almonds into your diet in appropriate portions might aid in weight management; their protein and fiber content promotes a sense of fullness, aiding in calorie control while satiating hunger. Additionally, the presence of vitamin E, potassium, and calcium in almonds may assist in lowering blood pressure, and fortifying defenses against heart disease.
The creamy white to deep red hues present in pomegranates indicate the varying levels of antioxidants of the fruit. Pomegranate juice, similar to many fruit juices, is rich in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, at significantly higher levels. It boasts nearly three times the antioxidant content of green tea or red wine, working to shield the heart by reducing LDL or "bad" cholesterol. Polyphenols play a role in combating inflammation, supporting healthy aging, and regulating blood flow.
Pomegranates are abundant in folate, potassium, and vitamin K. Notably, it can hinder triglycerides, lowering the risk of heart disease by preventing their accumulation in the body, averting blockages, and even curtailing abdominal fat. Its potassium and magnesium contribute to reducing hypertension and blood pressure while its essential fats aid digestion and alleviate constipation, ensuring gut health.
Flaxseeds offer multiple heart-boosting benefits, primarily owing to their abundant content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the crucial omega-3 fatty acid also found in fish. It stands as the richest ALA source in the typical western diet. Upon consumption, ALA converts into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), renowned for their heart-disease-fighting properties.
Additionally, flaxseeds hold high levels of lignans, acting as antioxidants and phytoestrogens. These lignans, known for their heart-disease-preventing abilities, are more concentrated in flaxseeds than in any other known plant-based foods.
Open sesame! These humble and minute seeds certainly do wonders for our heart health.
Regular consumption of sesame seeds may contribute to reducing high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both significant risk factors for heart disease, according to some studies. These seeds have low saturated fat content and an ideal combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Research suggests that increasing the intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats relative to saturated fat can potentially lower cholesterol levels and mitigate the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, sesame seeds contain plant compounds like lignans and phytosterols, further suggesting their potential cholesterol-lowering effects.
Let's Eat Healthily to our Heart's Delight This Winter
This winter, make sure to include these delicious winter superfoods for a healthy heart, providing the special care and necessary fuel your heart deserves.
Make sure to stay fit and active in winter by trying out some winter sports or doing some indoor cycling. Let's eat healthily and sweat it out in any of our All Women's and All Men's collections this winter.