Keep your heart healthy
The number one killer in Australia is coronary heart disease: According to the ABS, it accounts for 10.8% of all deaths. Coronary heart disease is caused by clogged arteries. These blood vessels can be blocked by fatty plaque that contains calcium, cholesterol, and other substances that circulate in the blood. “There is no one magic food that acts like Drano and cleans out the accumulated plaque,” says cardiologist Dr Florian Rader. “But good habits can help slow down that process, and maintaining a healthy weight and diet is one factor you can control to a great degree. And,” he says, “It’s never too late to start.”
Here’s a step forward in helping your arteries: It’s been more than 20 years since we’ve known about the heart-healthy claims for these whole grains, and research keeps uncovering new benefits. The main one, says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table, is their rich supply of soluble fibre, which has been shown to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels. Why that’s good for your arteries, according to Dr Rader: “Cholesterol can seep into the inner layer of blood vessels and form plaque over time.” Since many of us fall chronically short on fibre, the four grams per cup that oats deliver are a welcome addition.
A great source of soluble fibre – black beans have three times as much of it per cup as oats. Another perk: Antioxidants, which are especially abundant in colourful varieties such as black beans and red kidney beans, may fight inflammation that contributes to heart disease.