When it comes to rating their greatest health fear, most women will say breast cancer. And while there is good reason to fear the disease—it kills almost 40,000 women each year—the death toll from heart disease is way higher. In fact, heart disease is not only the number one killer of women in the United States—claiming the lives of over 400,000 women each year—but is also a leading cause of disability among women.
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Prevention is crucial, since two-thirds of women who suffer a heart attack will fail to recover fully.
Of course, age is a major risk factor; the older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. But if we're going to concentrate on prevention, the time is now, no matter what our age.
Healthy foods can have a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol and overall cardiovascular health. Newswise shared this information from a recent issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Linda Milo Ohr, a contributing editor, compiled a comprehensive list of both whole foods and food ingredients to look for when it comes to matters of the (healthy) heart. Below are some of her findings:
Fruits & Vegetables
Apples – Dried apple can lower cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women, according to one study.
Potatoes – These contain high concentrations of antioxidants, which can help decrease blood pressure.
Grapes – They support cardiovascular health.
Raisins – Their dietary fiber and beneficial nutrients like potassium, as well as antioxidants, may have cardio-protective benefits.
Almonds – They're naturally free of cholesterol and packed with heart-healthy protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin.
Walnuts – Eating two ounces a day, according to a study, may improve cardiovascular health in people with type 2 diabetes.
Pistachios – These may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Pecans – They're very low in saturated fat and have been shown to lower LDL levels.
Canola oil – When used in place of saturated fats, this oil, which is high in essential fatty acids, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Olive oil – According to a study, it can significantly improve cardiovascular function.
Krill oil – It contains omega-3 fatty acids and naturally occurring antioxidants.
Tomato concentrate – Several studies show it helps with blood clotting and improved blood flow.
Olive extract – It protects blood lipids from oxidative damage.
Cocoa extract – This helps keep blood vessels healthy by supporting health circulation.
For more on this study, click here.
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