5 of our favourite foods for a healthy heart

1 – Berries – Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Our favourite. And these are all full to the brim with important nutrients that play an important role in heart health.

Berries are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, these protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease and there are many studies that show a diet high in berry consumption can reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

Strawberries significantly improve insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol which is bad.

Blueberries can help control blood clotting and blood pressure by improving the cells that line the walls of the blood vessels.

2 – Beans – The old rhyme goes, beans beans good for the heart, the more you eat the more you fart.

Beans help reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and decrease inflammation because they are rich in resistant starch.

Remember not all beans are created equal, so take it easy with these guys…

3 – Nuts generally can be very good at helping maintain and healthy heart but the nut that comes out on top is the almond. High in monounsaturated fats and a good source of fibre that fight against heart disease.

These little guys are nutrient dense and are linked to a reduction cholesterol and weight loss.  As with all nuts and seeds a small amount every day is better than a several handfuls in one go because there are packed with calories.

Nuts must be eaten raw by this I mean, not roasted or salted. This will add saturated fat and sodium which can have the opposite effect of what we ‘re trying to achieve.

 

4 – Liver. Maybe not for everyone but we don’t discriminate here.

Grass feed and organic should be a preference for any meat you eat. If you are lucky enough, local soured meat from somewhere you trust would be great.

Of all the organ meats readily available, liver is the most nutrient dense of all.

Packed with copper, zinc, chromium, iron, and folic acid.

These help to keep our heart healthy by increasing blood’s haemoglobin level.

5 – Last but not least, for those with a sweet tooth…

Dark chocolate – Obviously we can’t overdo it with this one because chocolate is high in calories and sugar, but a little bit of dark choc is very good for the old ticker.

High in antioxidants that help lower the risk of developing calcified plaque in the arteries.

This month’s nutrition feature: Chlorella

The humble algae…

Chlorella, also known as chlorella pyrenoidosa is a single celled fresh-water green algae, sounds delicious right? It is grown in Taiwan or Japan and other Asian countries and is available in most health stores in a tablet or powder form. This nutrient dense plant contains carotenes, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll. Algae are considered plants, although unlike common plants that have roots or proper stems these lack the specialised multicellular reproductive structures that define true plants.

Not only is chlorella an impressive source of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B1 (thiamine), B9 (folate), B12, and K, Zinc, iron, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium

Depending on the source, chlorella is over 50% protein boosting all nine essential amino acids. For anyone a plant-based diet this is one supplement you can’t afford to miss.

Fairly impressive so far for something that is only just considered a plant but there’s more…

The research, and plenty has been done, suggest that this humble alga can cleans the body of toxins mostly in the form of heavy metals. Through environmental factors such as pollution, and through lifestyle and diet our bodies pick up these toxins, although considered safe in small amounts, if they build up this can create health problems. It is shown that chlorella binds to heavy metals before they are absorbed by the body and allows for them to be flushed from the system.

Wow! This really is a super food I hear you say, so is that all? Well, there are a few more I should mention. Because chlorella contains biotin and copper it will aid iron absorption and this also makes it great for hair, making it strong and shiny. Chlorella also helps maintain a healthy gut and immune system, it stimulates cell renewal and has anti-inflammatory properties which could help manage respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma by promoting better lung function

By now you’re probably thinking how many portions should I be having dinner?

Like many supplements chlorella is best taken in the morning with a dose of between 2-5 grams or 10 -15 tablets. This is recommended to be the most benefitable for the body in preventing disease and illness. Not all chlorella contains B12 (try and make sure yours does) so if yours does you should not take vitamin C supplement with it, you should leave a 2-hour gap between them as vitamin C can interfere with B12 absorption.

Just remember chlorella in powder form can be added to all kinds of breakfasts to create a super healthy and powerful alkaline way to start any day. Examples are with mashed up with avocado on toast, in a smoothie or even in porridge.

A super food indeed. There are a few exceptions where a little caution is advised, those taking blood thinners for example should check with their doctor as the high vitamin K content of chlorella which promotes healthy blood clotting could interact with this medication. There is nothing to suggest that this would be unsafe to take during pregnancy but again, caution is advised. The amount of chlorella you take should start of small while you get used to it as it might cause some tummy problems such as gas or diarrhoea, by and large though this is a safe and highly recommended supplement to add to your diet.