Tomatoes. Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood - a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. But only recently are researchers beginning to identify some of the more unusual phytonutrients in tomatoes that help provide us with these heart-protective benefits. One of these phytonutrients is a glycoside called esculeoside A; another is flavonoid called chalconaringenin; and yet another is a fatty-acid type molecule called 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid. Tomatoes played the unique role in support of heart health.
Apples. According to research out of the University of Michigan Health System, eating apples and apple products reduces oxidative stress in the body, boosts heart function and health, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals in apples help to reduce damage caused by free radicals. As a result, the key markers of heart disease are mitigated.
Bananas. Diets rich in potassium and low in sodium may reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. At about 400mg per finger, bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Diets rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease. Bananas supply 3 grams of fiber per serving. That's 12% of the daily recommended allowance. Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6. B vitamins help break down homocysteine—an amino acid that at high levels is related to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Citrus fruits. Oranges and grapefruits can help keep your arteries healthy and protect against heart attacks. It is suggested that those with high cholesterol could try eating a diet rich in citrus fruits as a first alternative drugs such as statins. It is already known that grapefruit consumption can have an effect on cholesterol levels by changing the way the liver functions - so much so that doctors warn patients who are prescribed statins not to eat grapefruit because it can increase the effect of the drugs. An antioxidant in orange juice called hesperidin improves blood vessel function and helps lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Hesperidin is a plant-based compound called a flavonoid. A growing body of evidence suggests that flavonoids can improve the health of the delicate cells that line blood vessels. The way these cells work is referred to as "endothelial function."