- 1. Leafy green vegetables
- 2. Whole grains
- 3. Berries
- 4. Fish and fish oil
- 5. Seeds
What you eat every day impacts your heart health gradually. Junk, deep-fried, processed, sugar-laden and salty foods slowly but surely contribute in damaging your heart. Add to it smoking, sedentary lifestyle, eating at irregular times, and drinking too much alcohol, and your risk of getting a cardiovascular disease is increased even further. Nutrition and heart health are closely related. Unhealthy foods can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and inflammation, while foods high in fibre, antioxidants, healthy fats, and eating vegetables and fruits can turn your heart’s saviour and even prevent you from various chronic diseases. (Also read: 5 simple dos and don’ts for boosting heart health as per Rujuta Diwekar)
“One-third of all deaths globally occur due to heart disease. Diet has a significant influence on heart health and can lower your chance of developing heart disease. The quantity of the food is also very important you must avoid overeating. In fact, the foods you consume can have an impact on a variety of factors that can lead to heart diseases, such as blood pressure, triglycerides, inflammation and cholesterol levels,” says Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai.
Dr Bhamre suggests seven foods you should consume to improve your heart health.
1. Leafy green vegetables
Spinach and kale are the best leafy green vegetables as they have a high quantity of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a particularly rich source of Vitamin K, which supports healthy blood clotting and protects your arteries. Additionally, they contain significant amounts of dietary nitrates, which help in lowering blood pressure, reducing arterial stiffness, and promoting the functionality of the cells lining blood vessels. Up to a 16% reduction in the incidence of heart disease was linked to increasing the consumption of leafy green vegetables. A substantial reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease was associated with a high diet of leafy green vegetables.
2. Whole grains
Whole grains provide immunity. An additional 1 or 2 servings of whole grains in your diet per day lowers risk by 10% to 20%. It is possible to avoid and treat hypertension by consuming a diet high in plant-based foods, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and salt within acceptable ranges. Make sure to thoroughly read the ingredients list before purchasing whole grains. Go for products which mention phrases like “whole grain” or “whole wheat” and avoid products like “wheat flour” or “multigrain”.
The essential nutrients that are high in strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are important for maintaining heart health. Antioxidants like anthocyanins, which guard against oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease, are plentiful in berries. Numerous risk factors leading to heart diseases can be decreased by consuming a lot of berries.
Berries may be a filling dessert or a delectable low-calorie snack. To take advantage of each berry type’s particular health advantages, try including a few different kinds in your diet.
4. Fish and fish oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in most of the fish available in local markets, which have been proven to be helpful for heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish may play a preventive effect in lowering the risk of heart disease as well as the risk of arrhythmias and CVD events. Consuming fish is linked to a decreased risk of mortality, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
If you don’t consume a lot of seafood, consuming fish oil is a different way to acquire your recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This supplemental fish oil helps in lowering blood pressure, enhances vascular function, and lowers blood triglycerides. You can also go for other fish oil alternatives like krill oil and algal oil.
Seeds are rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for the heart. Numerous heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, can be reduced by consuming these kinds of seeds in your diet. Additionally, flaxseed also promotes healthy blood pressure along with controlling cholesterol levels.
“The relationship between nutrition and heart disease gets stronger as more research comes to light. Almost every facet of heart health, including blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol, and triglycerides, is affected by your diet. These heart-healthy foods can help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of heart disease when consumed as part of a balanced, nutrient-rich diet,” concludes Dr Bhamre.
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