Heart diseases are on the rise all over the world, specially after covid-19 pandemic. With lockdowns, limited traveling, and stay at home recommendations, stress among adults and even teens has increased exponentially. It is imperative that we take care of our health (both mental and physical) by eating the right kind of foods. This article explains the top 5 foods to include in your daily diet for a healthy heart.
Let us start by exploring the 3 things to avoid for a healthy heart.
3 Things To Avoid For A Healthy Heart
1. Saturated Fats
Saturated fats have high amounts of cholestrol and trans fat making it an unhealthy fat that our bodies don’t need. Popular saturated fats are usually in solid form at room temperature like butter, palm oil, coconut oil etc. Saturated fats can also be found in red meat and cheese. These types of foods should be avoided to have a healthy heart.
2. Processed Foods
Processed foods are any raw and natural food items that have been cooked, canned, frozen, mixed or packaged — or anything else done to them that alters their natural state. Processed foods have levels of sodium, cholestrol, and preservatives that are harmful for human body. Some examples of processed foods are canned fruits, canned vegetables, pre-cooked or frozen food etc.
Sugar is another food item to avoid for a healthy heart. Sugar in any form is bad for health since our bodies get enough sugar and glucose from the carbohydrates that we eat. The extra sugar consumed gets stored as fat in our bodies primarily as visceral fat. Sugary drinks like sodas, commercial fruit juices, and food items like cakes, pasteries, cookies contain high amounts of sugar that must be avoided for a healthy heart.
Let us now look at the top 5 foods to have a healthy heart.
Top 5 Foods To Have A Healthy Heart
Oats are a healthy breakfast for many. Having oats for breakfast not only helps in providing essential nutrients but also helps in providing the body with complex carbs that digest slowly thereby keeping you full. Oatmeal helps in lowering bad cholestrol (LDL) in the body and thus helps in having a healthy heart.
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which are a healthy form of fats that may lessen the risk of heart rhythm disorders and lower blood pressure. They also bad cholestrol, lower triglycerides and curb inflammation. Eating salmon 1-2 times a week may prove to be highly beneficial. Read this publishing by Harvard Medical School about how Salmon lessens the risk of heart disease here.
3. Mixed Nuts
A handful of mixed nuts everyday can help in lowering cholesterol. It may also protect against inflammation in heart’s arteries. Most nuts are packed with omega-3s, healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, plant sterols, and fiber which are all great sources of nutrients to have a healthy heart. Some common examples include almonds, cashews, walnuts etc.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains are grains that are not processed like wheat, barley, brown rice, quinoa, oats etc. Products that are made from whole grains are always a healthy substitute for processed grains like white rice, muffins, and sliced bread. One study found that, “eating whole grain foods can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 30%”.
5. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in fiber which helps in better digestion of foods and aids in having a healthy heart. Eating more fruits and vegetables may also help in cutting back on higher calorie foods such as snack foods (although there are healthy snack alternatives too).
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