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Healthy Foods That Are Great For Your Heart

The heart is one of the most important organs in the human body as it keeps our blood pumping, moving vital oxygen around the body, keeping us moving and, ultimately, alive. So why do so few of us take care of it?

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According to The American Heart Association, over 42 million people in the United States alone live with some form of cardiovascular disease which can lead to such problems as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol as well as increasing the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack.

Smoking and being overweight both affect the health of your heart but so can having bad eating habits and so it is vital to stay active and maintain a healthy and balanced diet to keep your heart going. Here we take a look at a few foods that are good for the ol' ticker.

1. Citrus Fruit Such As Oranges

Pretty much all fruit and veg have health benefits in one form or another, but oranges are great for so many reasons. Lauded for their high levels of Vitamin C they also hold a lot of pectins which act as a soluble fiber. 

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That means that it can help prevent the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream as well as helping draw some of it out of other foods. The potassium in the fruit also helps counterbalance sodium intake found in salty foods and thus keeps blood pressure in check as well.

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Recent studies have also suggested that oranges can help neutralize certain proteins that can lead to scarring of the heart tissue which thus puts more strain on it. Other fruits like this are cantaloupes and papaya which are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.

2. Kale & Spinach

Leafy greens are fantastic for all sorts of things, and there is a reason why you were always told to finish them as a child growing up. Kale contains heart-boosting antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids in decent quantities and is thus great for the heart.

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Spinach is much the same and really packs a punch and so both are a great alternative to lettuce in salads or sandwiches.

3. Garlic

Noted for its vampire repelling abilities, garlic may or may not be useful at keeping the undead at bay but that doesn't mean it isn't good for you and it still can benefit your blood flow. In fact, garlic is so good for the heart, it may be able to reverse some damage done.

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Research has found that the tiny cloves help reduce an enzyme known as angiotensin, which constricts blood vessels whilst those suffering from plaque buildup can find it almost halved by regularly taking garlic extract in a pill form. Incorporate it into your cooking, and you may never find the need to be taking it in pill form come later life.

4. Red Wine

Take this advice with a with a pinch of salt (not literally because salt raises blood pressure) as alcohol consumption has been linked with all sorts of illnesses but moderate and sensible consumption of red wine can actually be good for you.

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A 4-ounce glass of red wine (up to two for men and one for women per day) can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels which reduce the likelihood of clotting and keeps your blood vessels flexible. Some studies have found that a single glass of wine can even be more effective than an aspirin in some cases.

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