‘I’m a Cardiologist and This Is the Type of Fruit I Eat Almost Every Day for Heart Health’

When you eat fruit, it’s almost always a health win. Whether it’s putting it on top of your oatmeal, adding it into a salad or enjoying it as-is, you’re doing something good for your body. This is especially the case if you want to support your cardiovascular health. Eating fruits and vegetables regularly is scientifically linked to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
But which fruit is the very best to prioritize when it comes to your heart? If fruit isn’t already part of your diet and you want to start eating more of it, picking one that’s especially good for the heart is a great place to start. With that in mind, we asked cardiologists for their favorite fruit for heart health. Keep reading to find out what they said.
Related: ‘I’m a Cardiologist, and This Is the Type of Fish I Eat At Least Once a Week for Heart Health’
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Why Is Fruit Good for Heart Health?
“Diet is one of the most modifiable risk factors for heart disease,” says Dr. Joy Gelbman, MD, a cardiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine. While heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., an estimated 80% are preventable through diet and lifestyle habits—that’s powerful!
Dr. Gelbman says that the reason why fruit—all fruit—is beneficial for heart health is because of the many vitamins and minerals it has. Since different fruits have different nutrient profiles, eating a wide range of them is a great way to support your heart. Dr. Deepak Vivek, MD, a cardiologist at Orlando Health, says that all fruit contains antioxidants, which are especially good for cardiovascular health.
Related: This Is the Worst Habit for Heart Health, According to Cardiologists
The American Heart Association recommends four servings of fruit a day as part of a healthy, balanced diet. “Fruits are rich in vitamins and antioxidants which provide cardiovascular benefits such as a reduction in high blood pressure and reduction in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries,” Dr. Vivek explains. Not only does eating antioxidant-rich foods regularly help keep blood pressure from rising (which decreases the risk of heart disease), scientific research shows that it can also reduce cardiovascular risk (such as strokes and heart attacks) in people who have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
The Fruits Cardiologists Love the Most
It bears repeating that all fruits support heart health and eating a variety of them is the best way to get a wide range of nutrients the body needs. But if you want to start with adding just one fruit to your diet regularly, one that’s particularly high in antioxidants in berries, which is the fruit that Dr. Gelbman says she eats most often.
Besides being delicious, she says that she likes that berries are high in both antioxidants and fiber. While fiber is often thought of as a nutrient that’s important for gut health (which is true), fiber is also crucial for heart health. A high-fiber diet helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure from rising.
Related: This Is the #1 Sign That Someone Has a Healthy Heart, According to Cardiologists
While Dr. Gelbman’s favorite fruit is berries, Dr. Vivek says he likes apples the most. “Apples contain polyphenols and flavonoids, which have important antioxidant properties,” he says. He adds that apples are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium—all of which support cardiovascular health. He points out that they are also low-glycemic. Eating foods that are low-glycemic helps lower the risk of diabetes and cholesterol, which, in turn, helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Most of the time, Dr. Vivek says he has an apple for a snack as-is, eating it whole. But he says that he also likes to slice it up to add to salads. “I often eat an apple as a snack prior to playing pickleball as I find it helps give me the necessary energy to play and also prevents muscle cramping,” he adds.
Dr. Sushant Khaire, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee, says that his favorite fruit for heart health is bananas. “Bananas are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants,” he says.
Dr. Khaire explains that not only do these nutrients support the heart, they help the body in other ways too: “Dietary fiber helps digestion, vitamin C boosts the immune system and vitamin B6 is important for the development of the brain and nerves.”
As you can see from the cardiologists’ varying fruit preferences, there isn’t one fruit that’s better than every other fruit when it comes to heart health. What’s most important is to eat the fruit you like the best. When you buy fruit you know you love, you’ll be more likely to actually eat it instead of allowing it to rot on the counter or in the crisper. No matter what you choose, you’ll be supporting your heart!

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