Consuming a healthy diet of fiber, protein, complex-carbohydrates and good fats can help improve your overall health and protect your heart. Heart-healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent diseases and improve cholesterol levels if applied to a low-saturated-fat diet.
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Olive oil is heart healthy oil, mainly used in Mediterranean-style dishes. This oil contains monounsaturated fat, which can lower your risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fat reduces total cholesterol count, targeting the “bad” low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol levels in the blood. Consuming just 2 tbsp. of olive oil a day can reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
Flaxseeds contain two essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6. A diet low in saturated fats and rich in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, can decrease the risk of developing heart disease. Flaxseeds are high in protein and soluble fiber; they also contain phytonutrients called lignans, which might work to lower the risk of developing colon or breast cancer.
Fish oil usually comes in capsule form, rather than an oil you can pour. Fish oil supplements are made from fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, mullet, sardines or tuna. In addition to fish oil, fish oil capsules contain vitamin E to prevent them from spoiling. Fish oil supplements are often used in relation to conditions that affect the heart. These supplements lower triglyceride levels, which can improve cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Canola oil is the second highest ranking vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil is heart-healthy and known to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides. When using canola oil, do not heat it above 120 degrees F, or else the fatty acids might change to trans fats, which can increase total cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. When purchasing canola oil, choose an organic variety because the rapeseeds used to make this oil often are sprayed with pesticides.