Regardless of your age or your previous eating habits, changing your diet and improving how you look and feel are only a step away. Even though the rate of heart disease-related deaths has dropped in recent years, it still remains the leading killer in Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fortunately, we have learned a great deal about cardiovascular disease and preventing both heart attacks and strokes. One vital thing we've learned is that eating and living healthy contributes to the prevention of heart disease. Below are some heart-healthy foods to incorporate into your diet.
Heart-Healthy Foods for Your Diet
Whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 25 percent, according to the Whole Grains Council. Increasing how much whole grains you get in your new heart-healthy diet is as simple as substituting for refined grain foods. You can also opt for quinoa, whole grain farro, barley, and other new whole grains.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals. They are rich in dietary fiber and low in calories. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health reports that fruits and vegetables can reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. By eating more fruits and veggies, you can help cut down on the high-fat foods like cheese, meat and snacks.
Salmon is a heart-healthy food, along with mackerel and sardines. This is because it contains abundant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown in studies to lower your risk of an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and built-up plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis), as well as a decrease in triglycerides. In fact, eating fish (fatty fish) a couple times a week is recommended by the American Heart Association.
With your doctor’s blessing, you can still enjoy that morning cup of joe since it too is supposed to promote heart health. For instance, in one study, it was found that it lowered the risk of heart disease-related deaths by as much as 15 percent when you drink six or more cups a day.
Overall, the objective of a heart-healthy diet is to include foods that maintain healthy levels of lipids (fatty molecules) and cholesterol. This can be done by reducing your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and cholesterol levels, increasing your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, and reducing harmful lipids like lipoproteins and triglycerides. Your diet should also involve eating foods that help to manage your weight and keep your blood pressure down.