These low-cost foods are good for your heart

Based on scientific research, it seems that an apple a day does indeed keep the doctor away. It's not the only food your heart - and your wallet - will love

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Many South Africans suffer from heart-related conditions, be it because of genetics, unhealthy diets or leading stressful lives. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, but adding simple foods to one’s diet can reduce the risk of heart disease.

You may assume that these foods are expensive, but in reality, there are readily available and low-cost foods that can help your heart and your wallet.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes and tomato juice have been extensively researched for their health advantages in men, particularly in relation to prostate health. Recent studies, on the other hand, has concentrated on the heart-health benefits of tomatoes, which could be another clue to the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

Lycopene, a robust antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon and guavas, is a powerful antioxidant with a variety of health advantages. Tomatoes, thanks to the lycopene in them, have been demonstrated to contribute to good cholesterol and blood pressure levels in studies on cardiovascular health.

Oats

Oats are a good source of dietary fibre, and they include a substance called beta-glucan, which helps the body naturally eliminate small amounts of dangerous cholesterol. Indeed, this substance has become so popular for lowering cholesterol that it may now be found in extracts and food supplements that are prescribed as cholesterol-reduction medicines.

Cooked oat porridge is the best way to get the most cholesterol-lowering benefits from oats. Toasted oat flakes do not appear to have the same cholesterol-lowering effect as oat flakes mixed with water and cooked, or oat flakes eaten raw but soaked in water.

ALSO READ: Edible leaves: Don’t throw away the healthy bits

Red apples

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Based on medical study, it appears an apple a day does, in fact, keep the doctor away. According to recent research from the United States, people who eat apples on a daily basis are less reliant on prescription medications. This may be due in part to the fact that people who consume apples tend to eat a healthier diet and live a healthier lifestyle.

Further research shows that specific components present in apples, particularly antioxidant elements known as polyphenols, can improve heart health by improving blood circulation, blood pressure and overall heart health.

In fact, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, a regular dietary consumption of apple polyphenols can help reduce dangerous LDL-cholesterol by up to 40%.

To read the full article on heart-healthy food, visit Health For Mzansi.

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