The heart, the organ that beats life into us and the one that bears the weight of love. It is the most essential organ of the body. It carries nutrients and oxygen to the entire body. Therefore, having a healthy heart is of prime importance. It is central to being overall healthy and essential to your wellness. For this, it is not just necessary to have good genes but also to make healthy choices on a routine basis.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle is imperative to leading a happy, healthy, and fruitful life. Two obvious and most beneficial habits that one can inculcate in one’s life to be heart-healthy are: making exercise a regular part of your regime and eating a nutritious and balanced diet. It would come as no surprise that your plate should be colourful, consisting of a good variety of foods. Though it may seem as simple as eating whole foods and avoiding junk food, people who follow such good habits are so uncommon that the most common reason for death is cardiovascular disease. With the heart working so hard for you, it is only fair that it receives royal treatment in return. It is about time we change our diets and aim for a long and healthy life.
To bring about change, we must first understand the relationship between diet and heart disease. For this let’s see how different foods affect our body:
Though it should be had in moderation, dark chocolates help in preventing atherosclerosis, which is the building of plaque inside the arteries.
This crunchy stick makes munching pleasurable. What’s more, it prevents homocysteine from building up in the body. This amino acid is commonly found in our blood. However, high levels of homocysteine has been linked with heart disease.
They contain a good number of antioxidants, essential minerals such as iron, folate, fibre, and vitamins A & C, calcium. With very little fat, berries are a good option to include in your diet, to reduce heart disease.
Pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans are full of fibre, antioxidants, and proteins which help in decreasing “bad cholesterol” which is mainly responsible for heart disease.
Nuts are a great option for when hunger pangs attack. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and also minerals, protein, fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins. If you can lay your hands on hazelnuts and pecan, enjoy them too.
These seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help in reducing blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL, and cholesterol. They prevent the building up of fatty plaques in arteries, reducing the risk of arrhythmias and thrombosis.
Fibre-rich foods such as broccoli reduce the risks of heart disease and prevent damage to the heart tissue. Broccoli also possesses high amounts of good fatty acids that lower cholesterol.
This leafy green is required for a healthy heart rhythm as it is a rich source of dietary magnesium.
Rich in Omega 3s and low in saturated fat. This slows down the collection of plaque in arteries and reduces the risk of abnormal heartbeats. Mackerel, lake trout, salmon, herring, and albacore tuna. A portion of any of these fish should be included in your diet at least twice a week.
The best option for a great diet, the liver is full of nutrients, such as folic acid, iron, copper, chromium, zinc which increases the haemoglobin level in the blood.
A good breakfast option, oats have a lot of soluble fibre which reduces LDL cholesterol and all types of cholesterol.
These red balls are rich in potassium, fibre, vitamin C, choline, folate, which are all good ingredients to keep you heart-healthy. An increase in potassium and reduction of sodium intake is very important for a healthy heart.
Besides the above, red wine, coffee and green tea are good choices to include in your diet for a healthy heart.
Eating right and clubbing it with exercise is the way to go if you want a good life with minimal risk of heart disease. So let’s heed good advice and hope to live long and prosper!
Here’s more on which healthy foods to incorporate into your diet.