Forget Fad Diets—This Is What Doctors Actually Eat for a Healthy Heart

Kelsey Clark

Our hearts beat an estimated 2.5 billion times over the course of a typical lifespan, flooding our bodies with the blood, oxygen, and hormones necessary to function. That said, this powerhouse organ needs sustenance in the form of a healthy diet, lifestyle, and plenty of exercise. While many heart diseases will require medication or even surgery at a certain point, "A healthy lifestyle, especially when started at a young age, goes a long way to preventing cardiovascular disease," writes Harvard Health Publications. Unsurprisingly, heart-healthy foods are an important part of that equation. Here's what three functional medicine doctors actually eat to keep their hearts in tip-top shape.

 

Broccoli

"Broccoli works the liver, which plays a main role in regulating cholesterol and balancing blood sugar, two big components and potential contributors to heart disease. One of the main ingredients is sulfloraphane, which also helps reduce the risk [of] cancer, keep blood flowing, and prevent inflammation. Sulfloraphane has been shown to re-activate Nfr2, a beneficial protein that helps protect arteries, and found to be absent in branched or bent arteries, making them more susceptible to disease. Studies have also shown that diets that have a higher intake of broccoli [have] been correlated to less coronary related events." — Serena Goldstein, ND

Wild Salmon

"My favourite food for a healthy heart is salmon. Omega-3 fats found in salmon are cardio-protective and keep us all super charged. It also forces us to all trade red meat for a healthier option." — Taz Bhatia, MD, and instructor of The Doctor's Guide to Hormonal Imbalance

Dark Chocolate

"My favourite food for heart health is dark chocolate. Several studies have shown that the high levels of polyphenols may help reduce blood pressure and inflammation with daily consumption. The key is that you must consume at least 60% or higher cacao content to reap the benefits. Milk or white chocolate will not give you same benefits for a healthy heart." Tiffany Lester, MD, and medical director at Parsley Health

Head over to Mindbodygreen for more heart-healthy foods, and share your go-tos with us below!

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