Looking for some new inspiration to eat well and age well? Naturopath Kate Ferguson takes a look at more key foods for the over-50s that may help to support heart health.
Pomegranates are a rich source of vitamin C and polyphenols – including anothocyanins which are responsible for its rich colour.
Polyphenols may be beneficial for our health because of their antioxidant action. In particular they seem to help support heart health by decreasing oxidative stress.
Oxidation of LDL-cholesterol is thought to play a role in the development of poor heart health.
The humble tomato could well be the next ‘super food’ owing to the presence of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid nutrient that is responsible for tomato’s red colour. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and it’s this action that is thought to be responsible for its health benefits.
One of the more commonly known benefits of lycopene is that it may help to support prostate health. Lycopene is concentrated in the prostate and may help to prevent free radical damage to prostate cells.
Lycopene may also help to support heart health. A study undertaken at Yonsei University in Seoul found that lycopene may help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress. Lycopene may also help to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which may affect the health of the arteries.
Regular consumption of beetroot juice may also help to play a role in maintaining a healthy heart. Beetroots are a rich source of dietary nitrates. Dietary nitrates eventually become converted to nitric oxide (NO) in the body. NO acts to dilate blood vessels and it is through this mechanism that nitrates from the diet, such as those found in beetroot juice, may help to improve blood flow and help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Beetroot also contains antioxidant betalins which are responsible for their deep red colour, vitamins A, C and carotenoids. As a source of dietary fibre, having beetroot on the healthy eating menu may help to support healthy lipid levels in the blood.