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Want to Boost Your Heart Health? Include These 5 Foods Into Your Diet

DMOOSE

Want to Boost Your Heart Health? Include These 5 Foods Into Your Diet
Table Of Contents
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Maintaining a healthy heart is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and while exercise and quitting smoking are critical factors, diet plays a vital role as well. Heart disease is the world's leading cause of death, and it's crucial to be mindful of the foods we consume. This article will highlight five heart-healthy foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet to promote cardiovascular health.

Additionally, the article will provide information on foods that should be avoided or taken in limited quantities due to their detrimental impact on the heart, including saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. By adopting a diet that includes heart-healthy foods and avoiding unhealthy options, individuals can take important steps to ensure that their hearts remain healthy.

What is a Heart Healthy Diet

A heart-healthy diet focuses on nutrient-dense whole foods that are good for your cardiovascular system. It includes foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like fish and poultry, whole grains, nuts, quality fats such as avocados and olive oil, low-fat dairy, and legumes.

Eating a variety of these best foods for heart health can help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation levels and improve overall heart health. Additionally, limiting sodium intake is another important aspect of this type of diet—cutting back on processed meats or condiments high in salt can make a big difference.

Lastly, drinking plenty of water throughout the day and incorporating regular physical activity into your lifestyle are important. Making small sustainable lifestyle changes is key to maintaining a lower risk for cardiovascular diseases.

The Best Foods to Boost Heart Health

Ensuring a healthy heart is vital for overall health, and one of the most significant factors in promoting good heart health is a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

We will detail five scientifically-proven foods that enhance heart health. By integrating these foods into your regular diet, you can take proactive measures to lower the risk of heart disease and support a healthy cardiovascular system.

1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients that can promote heart health. A scientific study conducted by researchers found that people who consumed a high intake of whole grains had a lower risk of heart disease than those who ate a diet low in whole grains.

Whole grains are rich in several essential nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and minerals associated with reducing heart disease risk. A crucial nutrient found in whole grains is fiber, which plays a crucial role in heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, which can lead to heart disease.

Furthermore, whole grains have a low glycemic index, which enables them to release energy slowly, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which is a known risk factor for heart disease. You can promote good heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease by including whole grains in your diet, such as oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.

2. Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods you can eat to enhance your heart health. Not only do they provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, but they can also help improve cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation.

Eating various fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need for optimal heart health. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which helps eliminate toxins in your body and aid in digestion, allowing for better circulation throughout your cardiovascular system. You can also supplement with Probiotic 50 Billion CFU for healthy digestion and stronger immunity.

Additionally, research shows that consuming at least five portions of fruit or vegetables daily can significantly lower your risk of developing coronary artery disease. So fill up on fruits and veggies and enjoy heart-healthy living!

3. Lean & Plant Protein

Lean and plant proteins are highly nutritious and contribute to maintaining good heart health. Lean proteins such as fish, poultry, egg whites, and yogurt help decrease cholesterol levels, while plant proteins found in nuts, grains, legumes, and quinoa provide essential vitamins and minerals that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Both lean and plant proteins are rich in fiber, which helps manage healthy cholesterol levels by safely eliminating waste products from the body. Additionally, these proteins are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which positively impact heart health.

You can also supplement with Omega 3 Fish Oil to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, incorporating lean and plant proteins into your diet effectively maintains heart health and reduces the likelihood of developing potentially life-threatening conditions.

4. Healthy Fats

Eating foods that contain healthy fats is an important part of maintaining heart health. Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, nuts, avocados, and salmon, provide many benefits for the heart, including decreasing "bad" cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Additionally, healthy fats can help lower blood pressure levels by regulating hormones needed to maintain normal blood pressure. Studies have also shown that healthy fats can lower triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood that has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease when elevated.

Healthy fats also provide vital nutrients such as Vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, which are all necessary components of a balanced heart-healthy diet. Incorporating these healthy fat sources into your meals and snacks is an easy way to bolster your cardiovascular system and contribute to overall wellness.

5. Heart-Check Foods According to American Heart Association

The American Heart Association (AHA) has created the Heart-Check Food Certification Program to help consumers identify foods that meet specific nutritional guidelines for promoting heart health. Foods that receive the Heart-Check certification meet specific criteria established by the AHA, including being low in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.

By selecting Heart-Check-certified foods, individuals can make healthier food choices that promote heart health. Studies have shown that incorporating these foods into a balanced diet can lower the risk of developing heart disease and other related conditions.

Additionally, by adhering to the AHA's nutritional guidelines, individuals can maintain healthy blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels, which are essential for a healthy heart. Some examples of Heart-Check-certified foods include whole grain products, fresh fruits, and vegetables, lean protein sources such as chicken and fish, and low-fat dairy products.

By selecting these types of foods, individuals can ensure that they are consuming a diet that promotes heart health and can lower their risk of developing heart disease. Ultimately, the Heart-Check Food Certification Program is a useful tool in helping individuals maintain a heart-healthy diet and improve their overall cardiovascular health.

Foods to Avoid for Heart Health

Maintaining a healthy heart involves not only consuming heart-healthy foods but also avoiding foods that can negatively impact heart health. Here are seven foods that should be limited or avoided to improve heart health.

Trans Fats and Saturated Fats:

Trans fats and saturated fats can have adverse effects on heart health as they can increase LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels and decrease HDL or "good" cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

Trans fats are commonly present in processed and fried foods, such as snack foods, baked goods, and margarine, while saturated fats are often found in animal products like meat, cheese, and butter. The American Heart Association suggests limiting the intake of trans fats and saturated fats to less than 5-6% of the total daily calorie intake.

Processed Meat

Processed meats such as lunch meat, salami, and hot dogs contain high amounts of sodium, nitrates, and saturated fats, which can increase the risk of heart disease. According to a study published, consuming processed meats is associated with a 42% increased risk of heart disease. These meats should be limited or avoided, and instead, lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and beans should be consumed.

Excess Salt

Excess salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease. It is recommended to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and individuals with high blood pressure should aim for less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Excess Sugar

Excess sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A study found that consuming high amounts of added sugars was associated with an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to limit added sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and snacks like crackers and chips can increase blood sugar levels, leading to inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. According to a study, consuming high amounts of refined carbohydrates increases the risk of heart disease by 60%.

Red Meat

Consuming high amounts of red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A study found that consuming high amounts of red meat was associated with a 20% increased risk of developing heart disease. Instead, individuals should choose lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, and beans.

The Bottom Line

A healthy and balanced diet is crucial in maintaining heart health. Incorporating the above-mentioned foods into your daily diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels.

Individuals can ensure that they are providing their bodies with the necessary nutrients and antioxidants required for optimal heart health by including foods such as berries, fish, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.

It's important to remember that dietary changes alone may not be sufficient to prevent heart disease, and combining a healthy diet with other healthy habits such as regular exercise, stress management, and getting enough sleep is recommended. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, individuals can take control of their heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Aune, Dagfinn, et al. “Whole Grain Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All Cause and Cause Specific Mortality: Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.” BMJ, vol. 353, June 2016, p. i2716. www.bmj.com, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2716.
  • He, F. J., et al. “Increased Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables Is Related to a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies.” Journal of Human Hypertension, vol. 21, no. 9, Sept. 2007, pp. 717–28. www.nature.com, https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jhh.1002212.
  • Liu, Simin. “Intake of Refined Carbohydrates and Whole Grain Foods in Relation to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Coronary Heart Disease.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 21, no. 4, Aug. 2002, pp. 298–306. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2002.10719227.
  • Micha, Renata, et al. “Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Circulation, vol. 121, no. 21, June 2010, pp. 2271–83. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.924977.
  • Pearson, Thomas A., et al. “American Heart Association Guide for Improving Cardiovascular Health at the Community Level, 2013 Update: A Scientific Statement for Public Health Practitioners, Healthcare Providers, and Health Policy Makers.” Circulation, vol. 127, no. 16, Apr. 2013, pp. 1730–53. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0b013e31828f8a94.
  • Ros, Emilio, and José Mataix. “Fatty Acid Composition of Nuts – Implications for Cardiovascular Health.” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 96, no. S2, Nov. 2006, pp. S29–35. Cambridge University Press, https://doi.org/10.1017/BJN20061861.
  • Wolk, A. “Potential Health Hazards of Eating Red Meat.” Journal of Internal Medicine, vol. 281, no. 2, Feb. 2017, pp. 106–22. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.12543.
  • Yang, Quanhe, et al. “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults.” JAMA Internal Medicine, vol. 174, no. 4, Apr. 2014, pp. 516–24. Silverchair, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563.

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