April 20, 2022
5 Heart-Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet
Heart disease is already a major concern for adults throughout the world, affecting up to one-third of people annually. The best way to reduce the risks of heart disease is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. In addition to getting more exercise and sleeping better, it’s important to alter your diet. Since the foods you eat affect your cardiovascular functioning, making healthier choices can positively impact your heart’s health.
There are many reasons to add spinach, kale, and other leafy green vegetables to your diet due to the high content of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber in these foods. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which are helpful in reducing plaque in the artery walls. Additionally, leafy greens contain vitamin K. This vitamin is important for older adults in particular since it helps with blood clotting. Some research conducted at the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute in Florence, Italy suggests the risks of heart disease are reduced by up to 16% when leafy green vegetables are a regular part of the diet.
Refined grains, such as white bread and rolls, should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, choose whole wheat products, brown rice, oats, and quinoa. You’ll do your heart a great service by adding whole wheat to your diet because these foods are rich in natural fiber. While natural fiber is commonly known for aiding in weight loss by reducing hunger cravings, it can also help keep LDL (bad cholesterol) levels lower. In a recent study conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, it was found that a minimum of three daily servings of whole grains helped lower the risks for heart disease by up to 22%.
There are plenty of berries to choose from, including strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. One thing all of these foods have in common is that they are rich in antioxidants that help to fight oxidative stress. In a new study from researchers at Dongguan Third People’s Hospital, it was found that the antioxidants in berries also help fight inflammation in the cardiovascular system.
While meat is an excellent source of protein, processed foods, such as sausage and ground beef, pose other health risks. The solution is to limit yourself to small portions of lean-cut red meat. Alternatives include wild-caught fish, poultry, and legumes. Soy products and low-fat dairy products are also good sources of protein.
Low Sodium Foods
While a little sodium is okay, too much of this compound will lead to water retention and hypertension. Limiting your sodium intake can be tricky because it’s found in most foods. To begin, ditch the table salt. Experiment with other spices that help you satisfy that craving for salty foods. You should also look for low-sodium processed foods. In particular, watch the sodium content in canned soup, frozen dinners, and condiments. There are often reduced-sodium options for many of these products.
Before you make any changes to your diet or exercise routine, it’s important to consult a doctor with expertise in nutrition. They can recommend specific changes that won’t adversely interact with your current medical condition or other treatments you might be receiving.