In this society the stereotype is that food is the enemy. In most cases yes the constant number 3's plus sized with a diet soda are the enemy. Not just to your waistline and rear end but to your heart as well. If your one of the few people who are still on track to your "New Year, New You" hoopla then this is the part you want to pay attention to. There are certain foods that while they are also good to eat, are actually good for you. They help with vitals things that your doctor keeps tabs on especially once you get to a certain age; like cholesterol, blood pressure and overall heart health. Working in the health care field I explain to patients who are newly diagnosed with any of these conditions; There doesn't have to be a family history of these things. They can just happen and there are steps you can take to prevent them from happening. Since we all need to eat to survive, it makes sense to give you the foods that can help you steer clear of these problems.
1. Oranges- reduce blood pressure cholesterol and heart failure. Its also rich in Vitamin C which is good to help fight the common cold. That's why the doctor always recommends to drink plenty of water and orange juice when your sick. It also has potassium in it which counter balances the salt keeping your blood pressure under control.
2.Garlic- reduces blood pressure and plaque. Garlic cuts down a specific enzyme that constricts the blood vessel. It also comes in a pill form, however researchers recommend eating the food instead.
3. For all you wine lovers. Red Wine- Boosts HDL and reduces unwanted clotting. HDL is the good cholesterol that helps prevent plaque. However this is not a excuse to go on a drinking binge. Key points to remember is more than one glass a day increases the risk of breast cancer, and chronic heavy drinking damages the heart (and liver). Not a wine drinker? Dark beer like Guinness stout has some of the same benefits.
4. Dark Chocolate. Enough said. It doesn't matter what the health benefits are, any chocolate that is good for you is A-OK in my book! But in case you care any way it does reduce blood pressure. There is something called flavanols, its a compound found in some chocolates and it improves blood vessel flexibility. This can be found in dove chocolate.
You can find these foods and more as well as nutritional dishes you can make, in the Feb issue of prevention magazine. http://www.prevention.com/health/