Eating chocolate with 70% cacao is good for your cardiovascular system.

Is it possible to lessen your risk of heart attack and stroke by making changes to your diet? The answer is yes. In fact, it is your diet, even more than exercise that can help protect you from the cardiovascular diseases that are the number one killer of North Americans

To maintain your heart health, try including more of the following foods in your diet,

Blueberries, Blackberries and Lingonberries

Any berry that is blue to black in hue is very good for you, thanks to the anthocyanins and flavonoids in them that help dilate blood vessels and decrease your blood pressure. For best results try to eat berries every day, or at the very least, have them three times a week.

Dark Chocolate

Several studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao can help reduce your risk of having a heart attack. The polyphenols in dark chocolate also help lower your blood pressure, stop blood from becoming thick and sluggish and prevent the arterial walls from becoming inflamed. This only applies to dark chocolate with the high percentage of cacao in it. Avoid chocolate that contains more than 8 grams of sugar or milk chocolate, which is not as effective.

Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Having at least our tablespoons, a day of olive can reduce your risk of heart attack and strokes by 30%. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which help both your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is best to buy an organic, high quality brand and to have it raw as part of a salad dressing.


Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol by absorbing it while it is in the digestive tract. This helps to prevent cholesterol plaque forming in your arteries. For best results eat whole flaked oatmeal or steel-cut oats and avoid eating instant oatmeal, which usually contains too much sugar.


If you want to lower your risk of having a stroke by 19%, then eat at least one whole orange a day. It is best to eat the whole fruit, rather than drink orange juice, because it is less glycemic. Oranges are also very high in vitamin C, which helps to prevent inflammation of the arteries

Salmon and Other Fatty Fish

Fatty Fish, such as salmon, cod and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids which help decrease the triglyceride levels in your blood, clean out the plaque on your artery wall and help repair an irregular heart beat. For best results, you should eat fatty fish three times a week.


Tomatoes are high in potassium, which help balance the fluids in your body and reduce heart attack risk. They are also a great source o the antioxidant lycopene, which helps to swab the digestive system of cholesterol, before it can enter your blood stream. Fresh tomatos are best but even canned tomatoes and commercial tomato sauces contain huge amounts of heart healthy lycopene. If you do decide to buy canned tomatoes, look for brands that are low in sugar and sodium, or you will defeat the purpose of eating them in the first place.

However, be aware that some fatty fish is from contaminated sources and to be safe from mercury poisoning and radiation you need to stick to purchasing the following types of fish: wild Alaskan salmon, Artic char, cat fish, Atlantic mackerel, sardines, black cod, anchovies, oysters, rainbow trout, Pacific halibut, rockfish, mussels,

Please also note that it is not just your diet that counts when you are trying to protect yourself from cardiovascular disease. You should also exercise in some way every day, even if it amounts to being just a half hour walk and stay away from olds that are loaded with sugar, starch and unhealthy saturated fat.

For more information about improving your heart health naturally or to book a consultation about lowering your cholesesterol levels, chelation therapy, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.ca or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.


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