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03 October 2020 laia

5 Heart-Healthy Nutrients & Where To Find Them

Beating around 115,000 times and pumping over 7,500 liters of oxygen-rich blood every day, your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. It is also no exaggeration to say that the heart is one of the most vital organs keeping us alive – which is why we should treat it like the precious treasure that it is.

This is according to Kershnee Kallee, Marketing Manager at Jungle, who says that with World Heart Day just around the corner (29 September 2020), we should all remember to give our hearts the love they deserve.  “Many of us take this vital organ for granted, but the heart really needs all the help it can get to stay healthy. A big part of this is taking in the right nutrients, while cutting down on the foods that increase bad cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Kallee adds that keeping a list of heart-friendly food choices on hand the next time you go shopping, is the first step towards creating a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. “At Jungle, we believe that everyone should be able to have a heart-healthy diet, which is why we took the time to come up with a list of essential nutrients that are easy to find and do not break the bank.”

Below Kallee lists her top picks for heart-friendly nutrient choices, and where to find them:

1. BETA-GLUCAN

First in the lineup is Beta-Glucan, which are not only among the most important nutrients for healthy-heart function; but can also be found in a myriad of foods. The most important role that Beta-Glucan plays in the body is to help to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels as part of a heart healthy diet. Lowering bad cholesterol is especially important because of the link between high cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Where to find it? Beta-Glucan is present in grains such as barley as well as in certain types of mushrooms, baker’s yeast and some types of seaweed. However, perhaps one of the most affordable and abundant sources of this precious water-soluble fibre is Oats.

2. FIBRE

The importance of fibre-rich foods to a heart-healthy diet cannot be understated. The fibre found in many affordable foods has been shown to reduce heart disease risks by improving blood lipid profiles, lowering blood pressure, improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation and helping maintain a healthy body weight. Fibre actually has so many benefits that some say it is the key to longevity.

Where to find it? Oats, barley, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, oranges and pears all contain fibre.

3. ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants are substances that work to deactivate free radicals by binding to oxidants and preventing them from causing cell damage.

Where to find it? Making its third appearance on the list of affordable foods to contain these vital substances is Oats. Other easy-to-find foods that qualify for this entry are leeks, onions, garlic, pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach and tea.

4. MAGNESIUM

A humble mineral with a massive job to do, magnesium is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It helps to maintain nerve and muscle function, and keeps your heart rhythm steady. High intakes of magnesium are also believed to significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Where to find it? Barley, Oats, black beans, soy and tofu, almonds, pumpkin, sesame seeds and spinach are all excellent sources of magnesium.

5. FOLATE

The final entry on our list is also known as one of the B-vitamins. It helps regulate the levels of amino acids homocysteine which is linked to contribute to heart disease risks.

Where to find it? Spinach, mint, Bengal, green and black gram and soy are some of the most well-known sources of folates. Oats also contain appreciable levels.

“These are just some of the most important nutrients that can help your heart stay great at its job, but there are many more,” says Kallee. “You may have noticed that Oats feature prominently on this list. This is why Jungle products like Large Tiger Oat Flakes, Cooking Oats, Jungle Plus, Jungle Instant Oats and Oat Bran have all been endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA). Coupled with some simple lifestyle changes, eating right can help you to avoid, or even slow down, heart-related problems,” she concludes.

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