What if your doctor handed you a prescription for a new miracle drug that could reduce your blood pressure, lower your triglycerides, and keep you from dying early due to heart disease? Even better, it has no side effects and tastes delicious. You would take it without question, right?
The truth is that prescription exists. These 13 foods can heal your heart, prevent cardiovascular disease, and improve your quality of life if you already have a heart condition. Yes, food can reverse heart disease — here’s how.
13 foods that heal your heart:
Fatty fish top the list of the most heart-healthy foods you can eat. They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that support the heart by decreasing inflammation, lowering triglycerides, preventing blood clots, and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
A 2021 study found that heart-disease patients who ate at least two servings of salmon each week lowered their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and even death by nearly 20 percent. Fish could also help reduce the risk of arrhythmias such as AFib.
Some of our favorite fish:
Buying fish: Stay away from farm-raised fish, which is often polluted with heavy metals and chemicals. Always buy wild-caught fish from a sustainable source. We love Lummi Island Wild. Click here to shop their site.
Organ meat, such as beef heart, is a carnivore superfood that can help heal your heart. Beef heart contains vital minerals, L-carnitine, and vitamin B6 to protect, strengthen, and stabilize heart muscle cells.
Organ meat is one of the best sources of CoQ10 (an antioxidant for the heart) that increases energy uptake in heart cells and helps them to become stronger. CoQ10 can also lower blood pressure and inflammation and improve vascular function.
Buying organ meat: Buy high-quality grass-finished or pasture-raised organ meat. Force of Nature is a great place to buy grass-finished organ meat. Shop here.
Try Pluck organ seasoning or Kick Start My Heart organ supplement if you find it challenging to incorporate organ meat into your diet.
Green leafy vegetables
Though you might have rebelled against eating your greens as a child, it’s time to embrace the power of these veggies. Leafy green vegetables are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that protect your cardiovascular system and keep heart disease at bay. In fact, studies show that a diet rich in leafy greens was associated with a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Our favorite leafy greens include:
- Bok Choy
- Collard/mustard greens
- Swiss chard
These greens all contain high amounts of nitrates which increase nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is essential for heart health and has been shown to relax blood vessels, increase blood flow, restore endothelial functioning, and lower blood pressure.
Leafy green vegetables are also a great source of vitamin K, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, making them some of the best foods to heal your heart and reverse heart disease.
Buying leafy greens: Always get organic!
According to an extensive study that followed participants for over two decades, olive oil could be one of the top foods to heal your heart. Researchers found that people who ate more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 15 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21 percent lower risk of coronary artery disease.
These benefits are likely due to the high levels of antioxidants and the healthy fat in this heart-protective oil.
Buying olive oil: Extra-virgin, first, cold-pressed olive oil in a dark bottle is always the highest-quality option. Kassandrinos Olive Oil is our top choice for high-quality olive oil. Shop here.
Sea vegetables, or seaweed, are an often underrated source of heart-healing nutrients. They contain carotenoids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and potassium and have been shown to reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease. These delicious underwater treasures are also rich in minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, and iodine, which all create a salty cocktail of heart disease prevention.
Some of our favorite sea vegetables:
- Green nori
Buying sea vegetables: Buying organic is always a good option, but it isn’t as important with sea vegetables as they are grown in the ocean, not the soil. However, the organic certification will ensure that the seaweed isn’t subjected to chemical processing.
Coconut oil, a great source of heart-protective saturated fat, has been the subject of much debate in the health world – primarily driven by the decades-long war on fat.
There’s good news for the fragrant oil, however, as studies suggest that coconut oil could help prevent cardiac disease and help heal your heart if you already have it. It can improve your cholesterol profile, decrease inflammation, and is an excellent alternative to unhealthy cooking oils such as vegetable oil.
Buying coconut oil: Always buy organic, cold-pressed coconut oil.
Ask any conventional cardiologist, and they’ll tell you that cutting or severely limiting your red meat intake is the best way to prevent or reduce heart disease. Here at Natural Heart Doctor, we know that science says otherwise.
Once again, this widespread misconception results from another battle won by the low-fat army. Grass-finished beef has an impressive nutrient profile that makes it great for heart health. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), both essential for cardiovascular longevity.
Grass-finished beef also contains L-carnitine, which is critical in heart health. A 2013 review study looked at 13 controlled trials and 629 patients to analyze the benefits of L-carnitine on the heart. The study found that L-carnitine was linked to a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, 40% reduction in angina symptoms, and a 65% reduction in reduced ventricular arrhythmias.
Buying beef: Always buy grass-finished beef from a reputable source. Wild Pastures is a great place to get grass-finished meat delivered directly to your door. Shop here.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds might be small, but they have a lot to brag about. They are a great source of healthy omega 3-fatty acids, plant sterols, and fiber. Nuts and seeds lower inflammation, reduce harmful cholesterol, and could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 23 percent.
Plus, each type of nut and seed possesses different kinds of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, including vitamin E and L-arginine. Studies have shown that Vitamin E could halt plaque development in the arteries and reduce the risk of stroke. L-arginine, an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide in the body, could lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Some of our favorite nuts and seeds:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Buying nuts and seeds: Always buy fresh, organic nuts and seeds without added ingredients.
Note: Soaking most nuts and seeds overnight before eating can help improve nutrient availability.
Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit contain high amounts of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant that protects nitric oxide molecules from free radical damage. Citrus fruit also contains potassium and pectin fiber that stabilize cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.
Buying citrus: Always buy organic and avoid citrus juice unless you make it yourself and only in moderation.
Who knew something so rich and delicious could be good for you? Avocado is one of the tastiest foods to reverse heart disease. Studies have found that a higher avocado intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and dangerous cardiovascular events.
Avocados could lower small, dense LDL cholesterol. They are also rich in potassium which has been shown to decrease blood pressure and stroke risk.
Buying avocados: Always get organic!
Though eggs were villainized for many years, they have been vindicated! Dietitians and doctors are changing their tune on egg recommendations for heart health patients. Since eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, it was assumed that eating them would lead to higher blood cholesterol levels. However, research shows that dietary cholesterol has little to no effect on blood cholesterol.
Not only are eggs not bad for heart health, but they can also help improve your heart health. Eggs are abundant in healthy fats and choline. Healthy fats stabilize heart cell membranes, while choline helps to keep the blood vessels strong and healthy. Pasture-raised eggs also contain CoQ10, B vitamins, selenium, and D-ribose. They are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D.
Buying eggs: Cage-free and free-range labels don’t really mean much. Instead, get organic, pastured-raised eggs for the best quality.
Garlic, an allium vegetable, has been shown to improve circulation, increase blood flow, and even reduce inflammation. One study published in the Journal of Hypertension found that a higher habitual intake of allium vegetables was associated with a 64 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes.
Another study showed that taking garlic extract for 24 weeks was as effective as atenolol, a common prescription beta blocker, at reducing blood pressure.
Buying garlic: Always get organic!
Seasonal berries (in moderation)
Berries deliver potent antioxidants such as anthocyanins, which have been shown to fight free radicals in the body and decrease chronic inflammation. Not only that, but research suggests that berries could lower blood pressure, reduce abnormal cholesterol, and improve insulin resistance, placing them among the top foods to reduce heart disease.
Our favorite berries:
Buying berries: Always buy organic!
Adding any of these heart-healthy foods to your diet is a great way to improve your cardiovascular outcomes, reduce your risk of heart disease, and keep your ticker healthy for years to come. Remember, eating good food doesn’t negate the bad! You can only achieve optimal heart health when you cut out foods that harm your body and focus on cultivating a whole, organic diet that supports your cardiovascular system.
Though we can get many of the nutrients we need from food, you may need some extra support. Consider our comprehensive micronutrient testing to determine what nutrients you need and our quality supplement packages to help you get them. For more information on how food can heal your heart, check out our Nutrition page.
Eat well, Live well, Think well
Medical Review: Dr. Lauren Lattanza 2023