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Home / Food

Are claims about heart friendly foods true?

Food
By Nancy Nzalambi | 4 months ago | 2 min read

 Foods that boost heart health (Photo: Courtesy)

There is no magic potion or superfood that will counter heart disease straight away.

Getting the basics right such as healthy nutrition, physical activity as part of daily living, regular cholesterol and blood pressure checkups, quitting smoking are every day choices that will keep your heart healthy.

But we hear about foods that can boost heart health. Are they truly? We look at some of them:

Red wine

For thousands of years, grapes have been considered as fruits with abundance of health benefits. Due to the high antioxidant content, they help in repairing damaged cells and relieve oxidative stress.

Red grapes in particular have high quantities of antioxidants due to the presence of anthocyanins that are responsible for their colour.

Though it is argued the antioxidants remain after fermentation, The Heart Foundation discourages the use of red wine as a suitable source of antioxidants for prevention of heart disease.

According to their publication, there is lack of adequate and consistent evidence that the antioxidants in red wine offer a protective effect against heart disease.

Many doctors warn alcohol consumption can potentially elevate the risk of heart conditions and other cardiovascular diseases.

Dark chocolate

The presence of polyphenols seems to be the main selling point for dark chocolate. Polyphenols are mainly plant-based compounds that are packed with antioxidants that protect against heart disease.

Polyphenols are, however, found in fruits and vegetables, especially berries, nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli and red onion.

But although chocolate contains these heart friendly compounds, the amount is mostly low. Some manufactures do not even feature the polyphenols as a component of the nutritional content on their packaging.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil does bring a nice, tasty, nutty taste to a meal. However, your heart may not be a huge fan of it. Coconut oil contains over 90 per cent saturated fat.

For a healthier heart, scientific evidence backs efforts of replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats such as olive, sunflower and canola as healthier options.

Omega 3 supplements

Fish oil supplements can bring great nutritional value in people who consume more fat than they can burn.

As much as heart health is concerned, consider consulting your doctor if they are of value to you. A good fact is that the benefits of fish in its whole form outweigh processed fish oil supplements.

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