The reason cardiologists seem obsessed with taking your blood pressure? When it’s elevated, it can eventually wear out the lining of your blood vessels, leaving them less elastic and able to function normally. That can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. This juicy melon can help. “Watermelon is the number one source of citrulline,” says Ansel. Citrulline is an amino acid the body uses to produce nitric oxide, which may help keep blood vessels relaxed and pliable.
You may have the impression that carbs aren’t good for you, but that isn’t true. Whole grains – even in bread and pasta – are part of a heart-healthy diet. According to an analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, for every 10 grams of whole grains people eat each day, their risk of heart disease dropped 14 percent; even better, their odds of dying from a heart attack fell 25 percent. This may be because whole grains are loaded with fibre, says nutritionist Angela Lemond. “Fibre helps pull cholesterol out of the body. It is also known to help promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which can have an indirect benefit on heart health.” Try swapping refined grains for unprocessed ones to reap the benefits.
Milk with DHA
As ageing arteries stiffen up, says Lemond, they can begin to restrict your blood flow. Omega-3 fatty acids promote cardiovascular health – especially one known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It’s most commonly found in seafood, but if you’re not a fish fan, try DHA-fortified milk and eggs.