Everything, you put into your mouth, makes a great influence not only on your shape, but also on your health.

In fact, diet is a fundamental risk factor for numerous health issues. And some of them can be dramatically serious and even life-threatening.

Heart disease is a perfect example of dangerous food-dependent troubles.

Thousands studies have proved association between poor dietary choices and increased risks of developing cardiovascular disorder.

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

The reason is that high-calorie, low-nutrition menu may cause formation of fatty plaques on the vessels lining. With time, they grow so large that can block the blood flow. As a result, certain body area can’t get sufficient amount of oxygenated blood. Deprived tissues lose ability to work properly and begin to die off.

If fatty plaques build up within the coronary arteries, which normally carry blood to heart muscle, heart attack may occur. The same mechanism can contribute to stroke and peripheral artery disease.

In addition to this, poor diet is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. If not treated, it can damage the vessels and boost your chances of heart disease.

READ MORE: Things men love to hear from their women

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

So what do we really need to eat in order to keep our heart healthy and strong? Here is top-20 of heart-friendly foods:

#. 1. Sardines – all oily fish, like salmon, mackerel and sardines, are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglycerides level and improve your heart health.

#2. Blueberries – actually it's not only about blueberries. Other berries also represent a perfect source of natural antioxidants and anthocyanins, which can efficiently protect heart cells from oxidative damage.

#3. Sweet potatoes – they have lower glycemic index, compared with white potatoes. This helps avoid so harmful blood sugar spikes. Sweet potatoes contain high amount of heart-healthy fiber, lycopene and vitamin A.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

#4. Oranges – you probably know that citrus fruits are rich with vitamin C. But did you know that they have special fiber, called pectin, which can regulate blood cholesterol and avoid developing plaques.

READ MORE: 6 steps to take to move on with the life and forget the ex

#5. Olives and olive oil – not all fats are bad for your health. For example, olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help keep under the control your blood cholesterol.

#6. Oats – choose oatmeal for your heart-friendly breakfast instead of chewing a muffin. A bowl of warm oats can enhance your digestion and decrease “bad” cholesterol level.

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

#7. Low-fat dairy – that's right, milk and yogurt can maintain your bone health, as they give you high amount of calcium. In addition to this, dairy foods can prevent elevation of the blood pressure.

#8. Dark chocolategood news for you, sweet tooth. Cacao (the main compound of chocolate) is full of polyphenols that act like antioxidants, protecting your heart and vessels. However benefits are available only in dark chocolate, which contains more cacao and less sugar.

#9. Nuts – which one do you prefer? Almonds, walnuts, macadamia or peanuts? No matter, all nuts consist of protein, omega-3s, vitamin E and fiber. All these components are really beneficial for your cardiovascular system.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

#10. Leafy greens – it's maybe impossible to overdo with vegetables. Swiss chard, spinach and other greens may improve your heart health, as they contain fiber, carotenoids, potassium and vitamin A.

#11. Flax seeds – seeds have something good for your heart: omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and lignans (phytochemicals).

#12. Avocado – what could be better for your health than guacamole with whole-grain bread? Avocado is a well-known superfood that bring your body a lot of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and other nutritive elements.

#13. Barley – it can be extremely boring to eat oats every morning. Try something new for your heart. Barley, quinoa and other whole grains are excellent choices.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

#14. Pomegranate – studies show that polyphenols and anthocyanins from the pomegranate may reduce risks of atherosclerosis and promote sufficient blood flow in your vessels.

#15. Legumes – it's a really good protein source, which is really more healthy than meat. One research found that eating legumes four times per week or more can lower your chances of getting heart disease.

#16. Red wine – sounds too good to be true, but it is. Taking one glass of wine (but no more!) can give you sufficient amount of resveratrol – heart-improving polyphenol.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

#17. Tofu – vegetarians prefer often use this soy product in order to meet body's needs of protein. Moreover, tofu contains fiber, minerals and polyunsaturated fats. So it might be a good idea to add it into your ration, even if you don’t refuse meat.

#18. Tomatoes – carotenoid lycopene in tomatoes can keep your arteries clean and decrease cholesterol levels.

#19. Spices - season your dishes with fragrant herbs (like rosemary, oregano and thyme) instead of putting salt. Remember that taking too much salt may elevate your blood pressure.

#20. Coffee – your morning cup of coffee can not only give you energy splash, but also lower risks of cardiovascular issues, according to investigations.

READ MORE: A scientific 7-minute workout

The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!

Please share this with your friends and family and let us know what you think in the comments below.