Your heart has a very important job to do every day, every minute, and every second that you’re alive. If you develop heart disease and the vital organ stops working, it isn’t long before you stop working too—forever. Imagine if you had a job that you had to do 24/7; you would be spending your whole time trying to make this job as easy and efficient as it could be. You would also likely divert all of your resources to making sure you remained capable of doing that job. It would be the only way to survive such a demanding workload.
When your heart succumbs to heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions, it isn’t able to do its job of keeping your body functioning. This is why heart disease can be fatal for many older adults.
Unfortunately, most of us invest little, if any, time into making sure that our heart has all the resources and support it needs to do its job. We often don’t get as much exercise and/or rest as we should, we fail to provide our body with the nutrients it needs every day to remain strong, and we consistently make lifestyle choices, like smoking, that drastically increase the risk of heart disease.
If you want to reduce your heart disease risk, you need to start incorporating more heart-healthy foods into your daily anti-aging diet to ensure that your body is getting the nutritional support it needs. These heart-healthy meals will not only protect your cardiovascular system, but they’re beneficial for your other organs too. Here are six anti-aging foods that can help strengthen your body and protect you from heart disease.
Anti-Aging Food #1: Red Wine
Red wine contains resveratrol, which reduces your heart disease risk by helping to reduce LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels and boost HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.
Anti-Aging Food #2: Whole Grains
Whole grains have been shown to reduce all the major cardiovascular disease risk factors and improve glycemic control. Oats and barley are especially valuable for preventing heart disease, as they’re high in beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Anti-Aging Food #3: Fish
Adding fatty fish such as salmon to your anti-aging diet will offer increased protection from risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, including sudden cardiac death and heart failure. Fatty fish are also high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Anti-Aging Food #4: Berries
Berries are a great source of polyphenols, in particular anthocyanins. Researchers have found that chokeberries, cranberries, blueberries, and strawberries improved LDL oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total antioxidant capacity, and glucose metabolism—these are all important factors for reducing your heart disease risk.
Anti-Aging Food #5: Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate can help to improve lipid profiles and decrease platelet reactivity. Dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants that protect your heart from free radical damage, thereby helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and other dangerous cardiovascular conditions.
Anti-Aging Food #6: Cruciferous Vegetables:
Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, can help to protect your heart against oxidative stress, which has been linked to not only heart disease, but also heart failure.
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Merrils, A., et al., “15 ways to protect your heart,” Men’s Health web site; http://www.menshealth.co.uk/healthy/heart/avoid-a-broken-heart, last accessed January 13, 2014.
“Protect your heart,” World Heart Federation web site; http://www.world-heart-federation.org/what-we-do/awareness/go-red-for-women/protect-your-heart/, last accessed January 13, 2014.