10 Heart-healthy Foods And How They Can Reverse Heart Disease
Reversing heart disease means to bring change to your eating habits, sleeping patterns, a period of being active, and managing stress. All these changes would help you in reversing heart disease, thus preventing it from causing more damage in the long run. Heart disease isn’t a single problem, but it is a wide range of conditions affecting the proper functioning of the heart. Cardiovascular disease narrows down your arteries, and this results in improper circulation of blood in the body. This causes strokes and heart attacks. You can prevent heart diseases with exercise and following a proper diet.
How is diet related to heart?
A healthy diet and lifestyle have proved to prevent and also revert heart disease. Most people adopt an unhealthy diet and lifestyle at a very early age, which causes many diseases, and one of them is heart disease. When someone is diagnosed with a heart problem, it could be challenging to adapt to a new diet plan and lifestyle in the beginning. The optimal diet for reversing heart disease is one that is low in sugar and processed foods, low in animal products, and high in whole plant foods. A healthy diet also helps in lowering blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and bad cholesterol.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables definitely add to a healthy lifestyle. They provide our bodies with the required fibers and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables are beneficial because they have fewer calories, less cholesterol, and a low amount of sodium in them. Also, they boost your immune system. However, the more veggies and fruit you eat, the less junk you’ll be liable to eat. The American Heart center suggests that half of your plate should be filled with veggies and fruits. Here’s the good news every vegetable and fruit is right for you as long as you don’t consume it with added salt or sugar. Also, if you’re diabetic, consult a dietitian before you take up any diet plan. You can add spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, tomato, asparagus, bell peppers, etc. in your diet.
When we hear about fibers, we only think of proper digestion, but fibers are vital for a heart-healthy diet. Soluble fiber is one of the most critical components of a healthy heart diet. Adding soluble fibers in your diet also helps in maintaining cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Make sure you eat 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber per day. For this, you can have oats, berries, beans, and flaxseeds.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
You can find omega 3 fatty acids in some nuts, seeds, and fish, of course. These can lower the blood pressure and the growth of plaque in the arteries. You can find omega 3 in tuna, salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.
Leafy greens like spinach strengthen the most important muscle in your body the heart. They have an abundance of Vitamin K, which helps to protect the arteries. A study has shown that heart disease decreased by 16 percent after adding green leaves into the diet. Mix raw and cooked leafy greens to get more nutritional benefits.
Avocados have a significant amount of potassium. In fact, one Hass avocado has 33 percent of daily potassium required. Potassium encourages nitric oxide release that lowers your blood pressure and improves the function of arteries. Avocados have healthy monounsaturated fats that can reduce LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk.
Tomatoes get their bright red color from an antioxidant named lycopene. Lycopene reduces the inflammation in your body and reduces the oxidative stress that contributes to heart disease. You can eat raw tomatoes as a salad as it increases HDL or good cholesterol in the body. Cooking tomatoes has its own benefit. You can add tomatoes in stews, stir fry, noodles, etc.
Garlic is being used for centuries in cooking and medicines. Garlic maintains the circulation of blood and strengthens the heart. A single clove of garlic can reduce cholesterol levels by 9 percent. Also, it has anti-clotting and lowering blood pressure properties.
To make your diet even healthier, add grains to it. You can add corn, wheat, brown rice, cereal, and whole wheat bread to your meal. Make sure you consume everything as prescribed or in a limited quantity because an excess of grains in your diet could result in weight gain.
Ginger is a widely used medicinal spice. It is beneficial in treating chronic conditions, including heart disease. Ginger has a gingerol that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Although we associate cinnamon with food, it has a medicinal history that goes back thousands of years. Cinnamon helps to manage high cholesterol, obesity-related issues, and nitric-oxide levels.
Now that you know what food you have to consume to keep your heart healthy have a look at foods you should avoid for the same.
Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
Trans fats raise our blood cholesterol like nothing else. You should consume zero amount of such fats as it has directly been linked to heart disease. Some processed foods claim that they have 0 amounts of trans fat, but still, it can be present in some foods in small quantities. Make sure you check the label before buying anything and don’t buy if it contains partially hydrogenated oils.
Saturated fats are mostly present in animal and dairy products. To boost your lipid profile, avoid food that is high in saturated fats. These foods include cheese, pork, lamb, beef, butter, full-fat dairy products.
Excess salt in your diet is terrible for your cardiovascular health. This is because sodium increases blood volume in your blood vessels, and the heart has to work harder to pump it. Your goal should be to stay away from that salt shaker. Avoid eating packed foods as they have sodium in them. You can make your own soup, stew, or sauce to check the intake of sodium. Read the labels before buying anything that has added salt in it.
We have bad news for those with a sweet tooth. Research has shown that eating more sugar can cause heart disease and worse, death. Most of us overeat sugar every day. The American Heart Association has prescribed that women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons of sugar and men not more than 9 teaspoons. Cut down the intake of soft drinks, candies, ice cream, cakes, cookies, waffles, etc.
The tip to reverse heart disease is to change your lifestyle and adopt a healthy diet. Firstly, work on changing your existing habits, and this could be challenging at first, but slowly you will get used to it. If you’re suffering heart disease or heart attack, make sure you include jogging, walking, sound sleep, low stress, and eating healthy in your lifestyle. These things will ensure that you are in balance. You can allow yourself an occasional treat, but don’t let it become the reason to drop your heart-healthy diet. Don’t forget to take the proper medications and enough sleep. Try to incorporate these tips into your life, and you’ll be happy to see all these changes are enjoyable and doable.