Food For A Fit Heart

 

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. The prevalence of diabetes has soared and can largely be attributed to weight gain. Nearly two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese. This continued increase has affected our entire population- no racial group, no ethnic group, no region in the country and no socioeconomic group has been spared. Overweight or obesity results in an increased risk of diabetes, and adults with diabetes have a 2-4X higher risk of heart disease than those without diabetes! Many studies have shown that attention to lifestyle can influence the progression to diabetes and heart disease.

 

Advice and recommendations for reducing the risk of heart disease includes eating a more balanced diet with less saturated fats from red meats, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, or just eating more of them in any form, more fish, more fiber, less sugar and for so many, less total calories overall! Weight loss and sustained moderate physical activity are the foundation of an overall improvement in heart health. You can then make the rest of your cardiovascular system healthier by adding a few more specific foods such as these.

 

Salmon: an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids that can protect your heart and keep your cholesterol levels low. Eat salmon, tuna, sardines or herring twice a week.     

Olive oil: lowers your LDL cholesterol levels.  

Oats: contain a soluble fiber that lowers your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. 

Apples: contain an anti-inflammatory phytochemical that can prevent blood clots too.   

Almonds: and other nuts contain healthy oils, Vitamin E and other substances to keep cholesterol levels in a healthy range; almonds are also a good source of protein and fiber.

Whole Grains: provide vitamins and fiber that can help keep your heart healthy  

Green Leafy Vegetables: contain folate which keeps homocysteine levels down (homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body as a by-product of eating meat and is associated with atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart attacks).   

Tomatoes: are full of vitamins and lycopene which has been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease. 

Soy: Soy proteins have been shown to prevent heart attacks. Soy products are an excellent substitute for red meat which will help decrease your intake of saturated fat.

 

Most of us know that eating certain foods can increase your risk of heart disease. And now you know that eating certain foods can help decrease your risk of heart disease. But we all know that it is challenging to change your eating habits. If you have many years of unhealthy eating in your background or you just want to continue to make changes to improve the overall quality of your diet, knowing foods to limit and which ones to eat more of can bring you closer to a heart-healthy diet!