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Know All About Heart Healthy Foods

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Know All About Heart Healthy Foods

Cardiology | by Dr. Sabyasachi Pal | Published on 07/12/2022

There is a no-brainer that your diet must include healthy foods.  Eating right and nutritious is very important for our hearts if we want to ensure a healthy and happy heart. Eating for a healthy heart means filling your plate with heart-healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, paying attention to fiber, eating fish a couple of times a week, eating healthy fats, and restricting unhealthy fats such as trans fats, including salt. Although no single food is a cure, certain foods miraculously help to improve your heart health. 

If you want to be in good health, you need to ensure a healthy heart. Following a healthy lifestyle at any age can help you avoid heart disease and decrease your odds of having a heart attack or a brain hemorrhage. Taking care of your heart can be started at any age, whether you are at elderly age or young. If you want to reap the benefits, then you must start making health choices now. However, if you've already had a heart attack or any heart disease, changing lifestyle behaviors can make a substantial difference in your overall health and well-being.

Choosing healthier diets and engaging in physical activity are two of the most effective ways to promote a healthy heart. In this write-up, we will discuss the finest heart healthy food options for you. So, let’s get started.

Why heart healthy foods?

According to studies, it is found that heart diseases cause nearly one-third of deaths across the globe. One of the primary reasons is the kind of lifestyle changes we are leading and unhealthy eating habits. It’s high time we understand that healthy nutrition ranks at top when it comes to maintaining your heart health. However, changing your eating habits, in the beginning, can be difficult. So, start with these tips to kick-start your way toward a heart-healthy diet.

  • Check the serving size

The amount you eat on a daily basis is as essential as what you eat. Do not overload your plate, as you might end up eating more calories. If you eat in restaurants, the portions served in restaurants are often more than your daily needs so make sure to keep calories in check.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are known for their amazing sources of vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories and high in fiber. Fruits and vegetables such as plant-based foods or other plants contain substances that help in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

  • Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol

Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step in reducing blood cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease. A high level of cholesterol in the blood can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries, called atherosclerosis which enhances the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can also use low-fat substitutions when possible, for a healthy diet for the heart.

  • Choose low-fat protein sources

White lean meat, chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose the options of fat such as skim milk instead of whole milk and chicken breast instead of fried chicken patties. Fish is the best substitute for high-fat meats.

10 heart-healthy food options

Here is the list of heart-healthy food options that you must include in your daily routine:

  • Black Beans

Black beans are one of the best heart health foods you must include in your diet. The presence of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in black beans can benefit your heart health. They are also rich in proteins and contain several key vitamins and minerals. Consuming Black beans with less sodium can decrease blood pressure as it has potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Black beans also reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood, which is good for decreasing the risk of heart disease. Apart from this, black beans can also help lose weight, prevent cancer, and are also good for healthy digestion.

  • Carrots

Carrots have several vitamins that help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or developing coronary heart disease. The vitamins that help gain these benefits are Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C. Carrots are known to have beta-carotene and other antioxidant nutrients. Researches prove the advantage of the health benefits of carrots such as reducing the risk of cancer and reaping the benefits of cardiovascular benefits.

  • Walnuts

Like Black Beans, Walnuts also have the benefits of lowering the risk of heart disease along with the benefits of anti-cancer and treating diabetes. Walnuts contain important omega-3 fatty acids. There are antioxidants in the walnuts that also help improve your health. Research have shown that consumption of walnuts may help in controlling weight and improving brain health as well.

  • Almonds

Almonds are low in sugar and are a fine source of fiber and protein. They are rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium which also contain Vitamin E. Studies have shown that Almonds are the finest choices for a healthy heart as it helps in decreasing the bad cholesterol leaving the healthy cholesterol ensuring good heart health. Other than heart benefits, almonds can also help lower the sugar level and control your weight. Also, it is important to limit the amount of consumption for foods with high calories like almonds.

  • Flaxseed

Flaxseed is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and phytoestrogens which are good for the heart. It lowers the risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias and it even keeps blood pressure and bad cholesterol in check. Omega-3 fatty acids increase HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque build-up, are anti-inflammatory, and lower blood pressure.

  • Dark chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, then probably you will love this heart-healthy food. you don’t have to think every time you eat chocolates now. You can enjoy a nice, healthy milkshake or hot chocolate drink made out of dark chocolate. Prefer dark chocolate which is 70% or higher in cocoa content. It is rich in resveratrol and cocoa phenols which are known for keeping the heart healthy.

  • Blueberries

Blueberries are known for their high antioxidant properties. It benefits in reducing inflammation and alleviates bad cholesterol levels. Blueberries also help in high blood pressure reducing the risk of heart attack. It is also good for brain function and improving memory.

  • Apples

We all heard that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and it is important to include this superfood in your daily life. Make sure to eat one or two apples a day as it helps in reducing heart disease. Lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, protecting against cancer, etc. are some of its benefits.

  • Oatmeal

Oats are also among the heart-healthy food lists as it is filled with fiber and benefits your heart by eliminating bad cholesterol levels. It not only fills you up for a long time but also benefits in keeping the sugar levels stable. However, ensure avoiding instant oatmeal as it contains unnecessary sugar.

  • Spinach

Green leafy vegetables like spinach are always the best heart-healthy food choice. It is one of the best foods you can include because of its fibrous nature. It contains magnesium and potassium which helps in reducing high blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Final words

As per new research, the relation between heart and diet-disease is very strong. It is important to understand what you eat on a daily basis as it influences your heart and overall health such as from inflammation to cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and triglycerides.

Incorporating the above heart health foods list as part of your well-balanced and nutritious diet will help you in achieving good heart health and reducing the risk of growing heart disease. You can get in touch with a cardiologist expert in Kolkata at the BM Birla Heart Research Centre, the only cardiology hospital in the eastern region.