There are a lot of factors that go into caring for your heart health. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, limiting your alcohol consumption, and trying to lower your stress when you can are all helpful for your heart.
Having things like high blood pressure, diabetes, a habit of smoking, and high cholesterol can all put you at a higher risk for heart disease and other heart-related complications. While this can sound overwhelming, there are fortunately steps you can take to help reduce your risk. For example, you can work on lowering your cholesterol by talking to your doctor about changing up your diet and including healthier foods into your daily routine.
Not only are oranges delicious and good for your immunity, but they’re apparently great for your heart health, too.
“Oranges are a satisfying fruit that contain important nutrients for heart health without added sugars,” says medical board member Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. “When looking at orange juice specifically, observational studies have shown associations between adults who consume orange juice and significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, with males having a 23% reduced risk for having low HDL concentrations, compared to non-consumers. Starting the day with a serving of 100% orange juice can be one positive thing to do to support healthy cholesterol levels.”
“Watermelon is a popular fruit that is a fantastic addition to a cholesterol-lowering diet,” says Manaker. “Watermelon naturally contains lycopene, a carotenoid that has been shown to scavenge free radicals, thereby possibly preventing elevated cholesterol levels. Sipping on watermelon juice can be a refreshing way to include a slew of important nutrients, including lycopene, into your day, especially if it replaces drinks with added sugars.”
You either love prunes or hate them. But if you’re a prune-lover, you may be helping your heart health in more ways than one.
“According to recent data, just 50 grams of daily prunes (5 to 6) increased HDL (good cholesterol) in postmenopausal women significantly, as well as lowered inflammation and increased antioxidant activity,” says Manaker. “Adding prunes to smoothies, including them in savory chicken dishes, or just eating them plain are all ways to enjoy these good-for-you fruits.”
“Apples are particularly high in pectin, which is a soluble fiber that can bind to cholesterol in the digestive system, where it carries the cholesterol to the liver for elimination,” says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, author at Fit Healthy Momma.
“Berries contain a ton of antioxidants,” says Clair. “They help protect the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol from oxidizing in the body and therefore protecting against its harmful effects.”