A list of the best 8 heart-healthy fruits is prepared by our nutritionist. Although these fruits have different amounts of vitamins, minerals, and calories, one thing is common to all and that is their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
These heart-healthy fruits can be used as an adjunct to other dietary measures such as fiber and fresh vegetables, exercise, and omega 3 supplements.
Ever wonder why you always get to hear the phrase “Eat more fruit “. This is because fruits pretty much provide you with unlimited health benefits with zero side effects. Fresh fruits are literally a bundle of healthy nutrients.
Research shows that fruits and vegetables are the main natural sources of phytochemicals and nutraceuticals. And increased consumption of fruits and vegetables has been linked to decreased risk of chronic diseases. [Ref]
Fruits supply you with dietary fiber that helps in maintaining satiety for longer, aids in weight loss, and lowers blood cholesterol. In this way increasing fruit consumption has the ability to maintain cardiovascular health.
Fruits are also high in potassium, a mineral that aids in maintaining blood pressure and prevents hypertension.
Fresh, Frozen, or Canned, Which One is the Best for Your Heart?
You can go for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits while on a normal diet. But when focusing on your heart health, you must avoid any extra calories and always choose fresh fruits. Yes! The fresh it is the better it gets.
8 Heart Healthy Fruits
Pomegranates are regarded as “superfoods” because of their active component ellagic acid.
Ellagic acid is a potent antioxidant and it is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties. It might also have a role in the prevention of the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries.
Pomegranates are also high in essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium that play major roles in blood pressure regulation.
Eating pomegranates or consuming its juice is perfectly healthy for normal individuals but those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) must avoid it as it interferes with the drug action.
Apples are the most popular and the healthiest fruits. They contain high levels of heart-healthy substances like pectin, a form of fiber, and antioxidants like quercetin and anthocyanins. All of these are found especially in the peel.
Apples have also been demonstrated to improve and manage blood sugar, and apple puree may improve blood lipid profiles when eaten whole.
Just like apples, pears are super healthy because of their high fiber content. Apart from their fiber content they contain an abundant amount of antioxidants mainly catechins.
Catechins have been found to have an impact on cardiovascular health. A recent review suggests that catechins are major mediators of heart health because they play role in the regulation of blood pressure and flow-mediated vasodilation. [Ref]
Apricots are best known for their amazing nutrient composition. They are high in essential vitamins such as vitamins A, E, C, and K.
Carotenoids are the antioxidants found in apricots. Carotenoids and vitamin A have been known to play a role in preventing tissue damage that occurs in the heart. This is done by reducing oxidative stress.
One study suggests that vitamin A and carotenoids are essential components in decreasing the incidence of cardiovascular disease. [Ref]
Dried apricots also provide the same nutrients as fresh ones.
Grapefruit has been known to play role in blood pressure regulation.
Furanocoumarins are the main components found in grapefruits. These have been associated to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties,
Grapefruit is also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, about 7% of the daily value. In one study, women who ate grapefruit or drank its juice on a regular basis had greater levels of HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and weighed less. [Ref]
Keep in mind that grapefruit and its juice may interact with some prescription medications and interfere with their mode of action. So, consult your doctor before including it in your diet. Unfortunately altering medication timing has no benefit because the effect of grapefruit juice remains for approximately 24 hours,
The flavonoids in oranges are mainly naringenin and hesperidin. These have substantial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Naringenin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and protective roles against various diseases. [Ref]
They may also help lower blood pressure and reduce the chance of developing atherosclerosis. Oranges, like the other fruits on this list, provide potassium and an abundant amount of soluble fiber.
Berries include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and raspberries. They are chock-full of nutrients that are essential for heart health.
Berries contain a high amount of antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which contribute to heart disease development.
In one study of 33 obese adults, eating two and a half servings of strawberries for four weeks dramatically decreased insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol.[Ref]
Another study discovered that consuming blueberries on a daily basis increased the activity of arterial lining cells, which assist regulate blood pressure and blood clotting.[Ref]
Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contain oleic acid, a fatty acid that reduces tissue inflammation and also decreases LDL cholesterol.
One study suggests that oleic acid exhibits promising heart-protective properties due to its antioxidative properties. [Ref]
One recent study suggests that consuming one avocado daily resulted in decreased levels of LDL cholesterol in obese and overweight individuals. [Ref]
Avocado oil is also healthful and safe for cooking since its fats are resistant to heat-induced oxidation, a process that produces free radicals and causes some fats to become unhealthy once they reach a specific temperature.
Fruits, due to their high antioxidant and fiber content have a protective role against chronic diseases such as CVD therefore fruit consumption must be increased to lower the incidence of such diseases.
Popular cardiac diets such as the Mediterranean diet, AHA diet, and DASH diet emphasize including more fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Some studies have also shown that increasing fruit intake has proved to have greater effects on heart health than reducing overall fat or calorie intake.
Therefore, try to add fresh fruits to your daily meals and snacks to get maximum benefits and optimal health status.
Always consult your doctor or dietitian to know about the interactions between your medications and some fruits.