The heart is one of the most fascinating parts of the human body. It is one organ of our body that never stops beating, working endlessly, without ever pausing to take a rest. It beats, gives LIFE, and keeps us going.
Today, in this busy world, many find it challenging to invest in habits and activities that can keep our hearts healthy. But, despite of knowing it all, heart diseases are the leading cause of death all over the globe. Heart diseases are cutting a wide swath through our health and well-being.
All of us need the most, is a heart-healthy diet and certain lifestyle changes to help us lessen the risks of developing heart diseases. They are the best weapons to fight all heart ailments. Knowing what to eat more and what to limit, you’ll be on track towards a healthy being. And, if you are affected by any heart disease, it is all the more important for you to eat and healthy and well-balanced diet to reduce the effects of bad cholesterol (LDL), and lower your blood pressure and sugar levels.
What is a heart-healthy diet?
A healthy diet is a key weapon to fight heart diseases and keep you the healthiest. Choosing to eat heart-healthy foods may help you reduce the risks of developing heart diseases like stroke by almost 80%.
- Eat good fats: good fats are the ones that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which you can fin in fishes like tuna and salmon. Good fats can also be found in oils like olive and coconut oils. Limit the intake of saturated and trans fats as they can make you and your heart unhealthy.
- Increase your intake of dietary fiber: fibers help lower your bad cholesterol levels and can be found in green vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes. Fiber is the main food group that helps to protect the heart and keep it functioning optimally.
- Fruits are good for your heart: fruits abound in fiber, and natural antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, and E. Fruits also keep the heart protected along with protecting us from diabetes, cancers, and many other illnesses. Some of the best fruits good for the heart are different kinds of berries, apples, pears, bananas, and guava.
- Get more lean protein in your list of food for the heart: found in abundant in chicken, turkey, seafood, milk and dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds, can significantly reduce the risks of obesity, high cholesterol build-up, plaque buildup, heart arracks, and strokes.
- Add complex carbs to your diet: Complex carbs are good for your heart, so include whole grains, bread, and brown rice into your heart-healthy diet. Avoid the intake of simple carbs, as they have high sugar content.
- Avoid skipping meals: meal skipping and crash diets are dangerous for your heart. You will always need to eat a well-balanced diet and must have three complete meals a day or five to six smaller meals. This will ensure that your blood sugar levels are stable. Avoid taking too much sodium or salt.
The best foods for your heart
The best foods for your heart are the ones that you usually avoid eating. If you are interested in vamping your heart health, and help your heart stay healthy and function properly all through your life, here is a list of some of the most wonderful heart healthy foods, that you should incorporate in your daily diet:
- Leafy Greens
Leafy green like spinach, collard green, and kale are rich sources of nitrates and vitamin K, which help reduce your blood pressure and improves the functionality of the arteries. The higher is your intake of leafy greens the lower are chances of developing any heart problems. They are vegetables good for the heart.
- Whole Grains
The most common whole grains that you can eat regularly are oats, rye, barley, whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat. Whole grains are rich in fiber and helps to reduce your cholesterol levels and decrease any chances of heart diseases, and thereby is the best food for the heart.
Beans have resistant starch that resists your digestion process and is fermented by the bacteria present in the gut. Beans have proved to lower the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and helps in decreasing inflammation.
No wonder, why berries fall in the category of superfoods. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, all are supercharged with valuable nutrients that play a crucial role in your heart health. These berries can fight multiple risks of heart diseases and are also the best fruits for heart patients.
Mackerel, salmon, tuna, and herrings, are all loaded with the richness of Omega 3 fatty acids – a boon for your heart health. Omega 3 is a blessing for your heart. It helps fight multiple heart health problems, including controlling your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Avocados are the top food to be included in the heart-healthy food list. With high amounts of monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados help in lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure and fights metabolic syndrome.
- Walnuts and Almonds
Walnuts serve the heart by reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure with their high amounts of fiber contents and vital micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, and copper.
Almonds are dense in vital nutrients, including a long list of vitamins and minerals that are great for your heart. Not only do almonds cut down on your belly fat, but also help in lowering cholesterol levels and keeps your heart functioning well.
- Olive Oil
The health benefits are olives are nothing new to mankind. A staple in any Mediterranean diet, Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It has been long associated with defending our hearts from health troubles and also helps in lowering cholesterol.
- Green Tea:
Green tea has had traditional roots in our culture for ages. It is touted as one of the best drinks for mankind for numerous health benefits including heart health, weight loss, and improved insulin sensitivity. High in polyphenols and catechins, green tea can help you lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. A must inclusion in the list of food for a heart patient.
With more and more studies being conducted on heart health, and with new evidence emerging, the link between heart diseases and diet, grows even stronger than ever. What you decide to put on your plate, always has its influence on every aspect of your heart health. Including the mentioned foods in your daily diet, is your first step towards a nutritious, and well-balanced diet, that will help in keeping your heart in the best of shape and minimize all the risks of developing any heart diseases.
The Cardiac Diet
The cardiac diet is mostly prescribed for and used by people with heart diseases like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and other heart diseases. It is used as a part of a regime to either prevent or treat cardiovascular diseases.
The cardiac diet typically consists of foods that are classified healthy for their overwhelming nutritional advantages for heart ailments and are the food for heart attack patients. The diet typically aims towards increasing the consumption of whole grains, fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and at the same time controlling or lowering the intake of sodium, cholesterol, fats, and sometimes caffeine that are primary sources responsible for the onset of various heart health issues. The diet is often recommended for the long-term, once a patient has been diagnosed with any heart health issues.
The basic guidelines of the cardia diet
- Not more than 25 to 30 percent of the daily calorie intake should be from the total fat consumption, including saturated fats.
- Out of the 25 to 30 percent of your daily calorie consumption that is allowed, not more than 7 percent should come from saturated fat sources.
- No trans-fat is allowed.
- Less than 200 milligrams per day of dietary cholesterol is allowed.
- Salt or sodium intake should be limited. The aim should be less than 2 grams per day. Lesser is even better.
- Alcohol intake should be avoided. If you still want to consume, consume in moderation – for women it should not be more than one serving, and for men, two.
The foods that are allowed in the cardiac diet
- Vegetables : All fresh yields
- Fruits : All fresh fruits
- Milk and Dairy : Fat-free milk, yogurt & cheese.
- Grains : All whole wheat fruits, Brown Rice, Quinoa, and Barley.
- Proteins and meat sources : Beans and peas, Nuts and nuts butter, Soy and tofu, Egg white, Fish
- Fats : Unsaturated oil – Olive, Peanut, Canola, Seeds and Nuts, Avocados
- Beverages : Water, Tea, Coffee
The foods that are not allowed / Foods bad for the heart
- Vegetables : Fried vegetables and the ones prepared
In butter or with cheese and cream.
- Fruits : Fruits with cream and cheese
- Milk and Dairy : Whole or full-fat milk
Cream & Cheese
- Grains : Baked products like doughnuts, pastries
Chips, puffs and all snacks made with
- Protein and meat sources : Bacon, sausages, hot dogs, Poultry with skin, Fried meat, poultry
- Fats : Butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils
- Beverages : Sweetened fruit juices, soft drinks.
A heart-healthy diet is the greatest protection for you against all sorts of heart diseases including heart attack and stroke. Keep evaluating your nutritional needs continuously and utilize the mentioned elements for a healthy heart forever.