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Foods that keep your heart healthy

By Angella Wali | August 19th 2015

It is common knowledge that there is both good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein-HDL) and bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein-LDL).

HDL is needed by the body for vital functions such as cell formation, manufacture of vitamin D and hormones as well as getting rid of bad cholesterol. LDL is bad for the body because it is the type associated with cardiovascular diseases.

There are certain foods that, when included in our diets, are beneficial in keeping LDL out of our blood vessels. These are:

Avocado: This amazing fruit has oleic acid, which lowers LDL levels in the blood. Incorporate it into your diet as part of a salad, snack or as a spread on your bread in place of margarine.

Nuts and seeds: These are high in poly-unsaturated fatty acids which help to lower LDL. Examples of these include peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sesame, and sunflower seeds.

Dark chocolate: Very rich in antioxidants which in turn lower LDL.

Green tea: Rich in antioxidants as well. A cup in the evening after a meal is just perfect.

Fish: Oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines have Omega 3 fatty acids, which work to lower LDL.

Whole grains and legumes: Make these a part of your diet since they have lots of soluble fibre, which reduces the absorption of cholesterol into your blood stream. These include maize, wheat, oats, beans, lentils, green grams and soy beans.

Cooking oils: Use poly-unsaturated oils and fats in your cooking. Olive oil, nut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil are some great choices to use.

Red wine: Our beloved red has a compound called resveratrol, which lowers LDL and also helps reduce the risk of blood clots.

Keep your heart healthy and enjoy your food.

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