Heart Healthy Diet: 15 Foods You Should Eat
- Prevent 80% of premature heart attacks via diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco
- Eat avocados, walnuts and spinach for heart-healthy fats, fibre and minerals
- Avoid butter, refined white flour and fatty red meat for good heart health
Conditions such as arrhythmias, heart failure and cardiomyopathy are some of the main heart diseases that afflict Indians. Moreover, according to research, the number of Indians affected is steadily growing. As per the ICMR State-Level Disease Burden Report, the occurrence of heart diseases has gone up by 50% from 1990 to 2016. In addition, heart conditions contribute to 18% of all deaths in India.
Excessive consumption of salt (which can lead to high blood pressure), tobacco, oily, unhealthy food, as well as uncontrolled diabetes and high cholesterol can contribute to heart diseases in the long run. While these are controllable, certain factors aren’t, such as age, and a family history of cardiac diseases, both of which put you at risk of suffering from heart conditions.
The good news is that you can prevent the incidence of heart conditions via your diet. Take a look at how the two are co-related, and a list of heart healthy foods you can incorporate in your everyday meal plan.
How does a Heart Healthy Diet help?
Diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure put you at greater risk of heart disease. Fortunately, all three conditions can be regulated via your diet. By making simple adjustments you can prevent their incidence, and in turn lower your chances of developing a heart condition. In fact, as per the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, 80% of premature heart attacks can be prevented simply by eating a heart healthy diet<span data-contrast="auto">, exercising regularly and eliminating tobacco products from one’s lifestyle.
The best part is that you don’t have to go to any extremes. Follow a few basic rules and incorporate plenty fruits good for the heart, along with vegetables, nuts and the right seafood and meats to make a difference to your health.
5 Heart Healthy Foods you should add to your Diet
Leafy Green Vegetables
Be it the humble spinach or super foods like kale, step one should be to fill your diet with as many green, leafy vegetables as possible. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, specifically Vitamin K, which is known to promote artery health and aid in appropriate blood clotting. Studies have found that consumption of greens reduces blood pressure, and by increasing the quantity of leafy greens you consume, the incidence of heart conditions can be lowered by 16%.
When it comes to food good for heart, don’t ignore avocados. They’re rich in heart-healthy fats that lower cholesterol and in turn lower your risk of suffering from cardiac conditions. Eating a single avocado gives your body 975mg of potassium, or 28% of your daily requirement. This is helpful as potassium contributes to keeping blood pressure problems at bay.
Walnuts are amongst the top heart healthy foods that you can incorporate in your diet. They are an excellent source of plant sterols, fiber, healthy fats and omega-3s. In fact, they lower cholesterol and are likely to lower inflammation within the arteries of the heart as well.
Certain seafoods—such as salmon, tuna or mackerel—are high in omega 3 fatty acids, and an excellent addition to a heart healthy diet if you’re not vegetarian. Long term benefits of including fatty seafood to your diet includelower cholesterol, blood pressure and lower fasting blood sugar as well.
Berries of all kinds, such as strawberries and blueberries, are fruits good for the heart. Due to their rich antioxidant content, berries help lower the risk of heart attack, particularly in women who incorporate them into their diet regularly. They prevent oxidative stress, lower bad cholesterol and inflammation, thus making for an excellent addition.
Rich in Vitamin C and fiber, oranges are one of the fruits good for the heart. They are easy to add to your diet, and help lower the possibility of strokes as well. Like avocados, oranges are a good source of potassium, a mineral that goes a long way in controlling blood pressure.
3 Foods you should Avoid for Good Heart Health
While fats are necessary in your diet, it’s important to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. Unfortunately, butter falls in the latter category. It is high in saturated fats that are have a reputation for increasing your LDL or bad cholesterol, which in turn increases your susceptibility for heart conditions. While a small amount every once in a while won’t do much harm, most people consume butter on a daily basis, making this one of the foods to avoid with heart disease. Instead, it’s best to opt for healthier fats such as olive oil or avocado oil.
Red meats such as lamb/mutton are high in saturated fat, just like butter is. Therefore, a diet that is rich in red meat is best avoided, because it predisposes you to high cholesterol, and over time puts you at risk of heart diseases. Switch to fish such as tuna or salmon and lean meats such as chicken breast. If you must eat red meat, pick cuts that are lean.
When it comes to the worst food for heart patient, foods made from white flour, such as bread and pasta, are at the top of the list. They lack vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are high in sugar. Not only does this contribute to high blood sugar levels, your body is likely to store the sugar as belly fat, which as per studies contributes to heart disease. Instead of refined flour goods, look at products made from oats, whole wheat or other whole grains.
It’s clear that understanding the nutrition profile of the foods that you consume on an everyday basis can help you prevent heart conditions. However, as factors such as unmitigated stress can also result in heart diseases, it is a good idea to get a check-up every year. Use Bajaj Finserv Health to book a doctor's appointment. Get access to special deals and offers through partner healthcare facilities, so you can get quality healthcare economically.
Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.
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