Do you know that 17.9% of the world’s population dies from heart attack and stroke every year, and the only cause for these deaths is unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits? Your heart continuously works to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the vital organs of your body. To keep it working, it needs to be given heart-healthy fuel, and that fuel comes from a healthy diet.

A healthy diet for the heart can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and other complications. In this article, you will find tips for a healthy diet that can give long-term benefits to your heart.

Why Is It Important To Eat A Healthy Diet For The Heart?

A diet with high salt or sugar content makes you more susceptible to having a heart attack or stroke. Since cardiovascular diseases kill one in every three people, their risk can be lowered by adopting a healthy diet for the heart. A healthy diet:

  • Helps lower LDL cholesterol levels
  • Stops you from gaining weight
  • Reduces the risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Protects against certain cancers [1].

Adopting Healthy Diet For The Heart To Keep Working:

The following are some tips for a well-balanced diet to keep your heart functioning at its best:

 

1. Eat More Fruits & Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of essential nutrients, such as antioxidants, fiber, and minerals that are essential for heart health. Research suggests that you should eat 4-5 servings of vegetables a day [2].

Fruits and vegetables also make you cut back on snacks and high-calorie foods that cause obesity – a major contributor to heart disease.

 

Fats To Choose (<6% of total daily calories)      Fats To Limit
  • Avocados
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna
  • Olive oil, canola oil.
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cream sauce
  • Gravy
  • Palm, coconut, and cottonseed oil
  • Bacon

 

2. Limit Unhealthy Fats:

Eating saturated and trans fats have been associated with a high risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. The American Heart Association (AHA)provides guidelines about fats to choose and avoid.

3. Increase The Amount Of Whole Grains:

Eating whole grains regulates your blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy. Preferring whole grains over refined grain products can save your heart from many dangers [3].

 

      Whole Grains To Choose      Grain Products To Limit
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • High-fiber cereal
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Cornbread
  • Egg noodles
  • Biscuits
  • White bread

 

4. Add Less Salt To Your Food:

Many studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and heart failure. Healthy adults should take not more than 2300 mgof salt daily.

5. Control Your Portion Size:

Watching your plate and tracking the number of servings you eat is an important part of a healthy diet for the heart. The following are some tips to control food portion size:

  • Eat smaller amounts of processed and high-calorie foods.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and whole grains.
  • Use a small bowl or plate.

The Bottom Line:

If you want to protect your heart from many health complications, you should first add a healthy diet for the heart to your routine. Eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding high sugar intake and trans fat, eating whole grains, and controlling portion size is also important. Besides eating healthy, make sure you remain physically active to keep your heart healthy.

 

References:

  1. Rastegari F. The healthy diet for cardiovascular disease 2016:2–3.
  2. Harris KA, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of Whole Grains on Coronary Heart Disease Risk. Curr Atheroscler Rep 2010;12:368–76. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11883-010-0136-1.
  3. Dinu M, Pagliai G, Sofi F. A Heart-Healthy Diet: Recent Insights and Practical Recommendations. Curr Cardiol Rep 2017;19:95. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11886-017-0908-0.