The heart is a very important organ in the human body. It works continuously to pump fresh oxygenated blood to the entire body. The heart along with the capillaries and veins form the cardiovascular system in the body. One of the easiest and most important ways to keep your heart and cardiovascular system in good condition is maintaining a heart-healthy diet.
Studies suggest that diet is one of the most useful preventive measures to prevent sudden death caused due to heart disease. It is scientifically proven that following a heart-healthy diet can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease and even reverse certain conditions like high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels and blood fat levels.
How Diet Can Affect Heart Health
Food is like the fuel to our body. So when we intake food and diet it affects every part of our body including our heart. Food is responsible for providing all the important nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins to the body to keep it functioning optimally.
The diet including food and beverages we consume everyday may have positive or negative impacts on our heart health. This is why diet is considered as a modifiable factor for heart diseases.
Risk factors related to heart disease are divided into two categories: modifiable and non-modifiable.
Diet comes under a modifiable category because it is something that you can modify if you wish to.
Other modifiable risk factors include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High levels of fat in the blood
- High Blood Sugar Levels
- Drinking Alcohol
We are responsible for all the healthy and unhealthy foods that we eat. They can modify their diet in order to improve and protect their heart health. The dietary choices you make can either elevate or reduce the risk of various health conditions.
On the other hand there are various other non-modifiable matrices contributing to your health which include factors like:
- Genetic Factors
- Family History Of Disease
- Age Of a Person
Eating Pattern That Lower Risk Of Heart Disease
Diets that contain high and ultra processed foods with added sugar can impose a great danger to heart health and increase the risk of health conditions.
However there are various dietary patterns that can help elevate heart health and prevent heart disease.
Here are certain examples of the diet that can be proven helpful in maintaining good health:
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is one of the diets which is most spoken about when we talk about a heart healthy diet.
This diet is based on the diet of people living in countries located along the coastline of the Mediterranean sea. It includes countries like Italy, Southern France, Greece and Spain.
These diets contain large amounts of plant-based diets like beans, vegetables, healthy fats, olive oil and nuts. This diet contains low processed foods. Research suggests that people who follow Mediterranean diets are at a lower risk of heart diseases than people who follow western dietary patterns.
Plant Based Diets
Different kinds of plant based diets including vegetarian and vegan diets are promptly associated with improved heart health and decreased heart disease. Not all plant based diets provide the same results but plant based diets rich in refined grains, sugar sweetened beverages and highly processed snacks are associated with cardiovascular disease.
Foods That Support Heart Health
It is your diet that matters a lot when it comes to prevention of diseases as a whole but consuming certain foods can promote heart health and overall wellbeing.
Eating citrus fruits, apples, pears and cherries have high benefits. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.
Eating vegetables in your diet can elevate your heart health. Eating vegetables like onion, garlic and green leafy vegetables are very helpful in maintaining the health of your heart.
Seafood is very high in Omega 3 which is amazing for cardiovascular health. It lowers the risk of heart disease, heart failure and heart attack.
Beans and lentils are high in various nutrients and vitamins like magnesium, potassium and other nutrients. Research shows that legume rich diets are linked to lower rates of heart disease.
Heart Healthy Menu
Here is a sample menu you can follow for a heart healthy diet:
Breakfast: Oats mixed with almond butter, mixed berries, chia seeds, cashew milk, etc.
Lunch: Mediterranean quinoa salad, chickpeas, dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, olives, and feta cheese with an olive oil.
Evening Snacks: Unsweetened Greek Yogurt, Diced Apples, Cinnamon and Almonds.
Dinner: Baked chicken breast and asparagus.
Your diet can either elevate or reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Heart disease today is one of the leading causes of sudden death worldwide. Along with maintaining a heart healthy diet you also need to take care of your lifestyle. You should perform exercises like running or walking. Keep yourself hydrated and there are various other ways to promote heart health.