“Nutrition is probably the most powerful thing you can do to prevent and treat coronary heart disease,” Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Yahoo Life. “There’s a lot of good research that says if you eat in a certain way that you can significantly decrease your risk for heart attack.”
Some of the easiest and most affordable items to add to your menu are fruits and vegetables. “Plants have amazing health benefits,” Dr. Taz Bhatia, a board-certified physician specializing in immune support and wellness, tells Yahoo Life. They contain antioxidants, such as vitamins A, B and C, which help keep your arteries free of plaque buildup.
“I know how hard this is, but kicking table salt is one of the keys to preventing heart disease,” says Bhatia. The popular seasoning actually constricts your blood vessels and in turn, decreases the amount of blood and oxygen that gets to your heart. But it’s not just the salt shaker sitting on your table that’s the problem — the biggest sodium threats are found in processed foods such as breads, pizzas and fast food sandwiches. Some of these foods contain more than 100 percent of the 2,300 milligrams of sodium that’s recommended per day.
To ease the pain of reducing your intake of some of your favorite processed foods, treat yourself to some dark chocolate. Varieties with at least 70 percent cacao help your body release nitric oxide. This powerful compound actually relaxes blood vessels and keeps them flexible. Just be sure you check the label to see if the chocolate has been processed with alkali