Think an apple a day keeps the doctor away? The old adage just might be correct. There are tons of studies out there that suggest certain foods are good for your heart health, but how do you know which ones to eat and what they do for your heart?
We’ve identified five foods that you may not immediately think of as heart-healthy, but that are rich in antioxidants, probiotics, and other healthy components. We've broken them down to educate you on how each food fights to keep your heart healthy.
For instance, yogurt contains high amounts of probiotics, which prevent gum disease, which if left untreated could lead to heart disease. And fruits like raisins, pomegranates, and apples have antioxidants to help keep you healthy. Eschewing carbs? Think again. Whole grains possess a variety of elements that can help stave off coronary disease.
In the Iowa Women’s Health Study, it was found that apples were associated with a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. This is due to the antioxidant compounds in apples that help prevent "bad" LDL cholesterol from building up as plaque in your arteries. Apples also contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber known to help lower cholesterol, and provide high amounts of another antioxidant, vitamin C.
Due to their high levels of polyphenols and tannins, pomegranates may be able to help reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure. Pomegranates also contain the power of healthy antioxidants.
Studies have shown that raisins can actually fight off bacteria that can lead to inflammation and gum disease (which left unnoticed is a risk for heart disease), due to the antioxidants that they possess.
Whole grains contain all sorts of good things, like antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and phytosterols, which are protective against coronary disease. And, the fiber found in whole grains also has its plusses, too, including contributing to a lowered risk of heart disease.
You may just think of yogurt as a breakfast food or snack, but because of the probiotics found in yogurt, it’s way more than that. Research shows that eating yogurt could protect against gum disease, which left undiscovered can lead to heart disease. The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, credits probiotics, better known as "good bacteria," as one reason for gum health, as experts believe that probiotics counter the growth of "unfriendly" mouth bacteria.