Load Up On Cauliflower Apples And Pomegranate This Season To Help Your Heart
Theres no better time than fall to get your fill of produce thats rich in both jewel tones and heart-healthy nutrients. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research has shown that one way to lower your risk of heart disease is by eating a plant-based diet. A study published in January 2022 in the journal Science China examined the fruit and vegetable consumption of 100,728 participants in China. The researchers observed that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, especially fruit, was associated with less cardiovascular disease and early death. Participants with the highest consumption of fruits and vegetables had a 13 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, including heart disease.
Not only are plants packed with vitamins and minerals, they also have nutrients like phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-blocking properties, says , of the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey.
Here are 11 seasonal favorites your heart will love.
Role Of Preventive Action
Given the magnitude of the CVD burden in the US and globally and complexity of dietary risk factor modification, simultaneous prevention strategies and policies across multiple societal levels are needed to make a measurable impact on reducing prevalence rates. In contrast to clinical decision-making where the evidence base is dominated by randomized clinical trials and large cohort studies, there is a paucity of data evaluating preventive actions to improve diet. Thus, to gauge the effectiveness of prevention strategies we also consider different types of evidence such as natural experiments and simulation models and discuss actions that have great potential for benefit and scalability that represent important knowledge gaps.
Dine Out The Smart Way
When my wife and I eat out, we always split an entree, and were never hungry when we leave, Dr. DeVane says. Not only is it healthier, but its cheaper. Order an entree thats grilled or baked rather than fried. Also, think before going through your normal routine. If you nibble on some bread, have a cocktail or two, and then have a dessert, those calories really add up.
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Meet A Friend For Lunch
Your buddy can do your heart good — literally. Research has shown that being alone, or perhaps more importantly feeling alone, is as bad for your heart as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, or not exercising. Itâs not how often you see people that matters, but how connected you feel to others. So make some plans with an old friend. Or join a club and meet some new ones.
Eat Like A Cardiologist
Eating healthfully can help prevent heart disease, but not everyones sure how to get started. What could be better than getting advice from a preventive cardiologist? Here, Dr. Matthew DeVane, author of Heart Smart and co-medical director for Cardiovascular Wellness at John Muir Health, shares some savvy tidbits.
How Can I Change My Diet To Lower My Risk
There are plenty of changes to what you eat and drink that will help to improve your cholesterol and lower your blood pressure.
Improve your cholesterol
- Swap foods high in saturated fat for heart healthy fats:
- Saturated fat is found in foods containing animal fats like butter, cream and meat fats. Its also found in coconut and palm oils and a wide range of processed foods.
- Heart healthy fats are found in plant foods like avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, plant oils and oily fish.
- Choose whole grain and fibre-rich foods like fruit and vegetables, legumes and whole grains like oats, whole grain bread, quinoa, brown rice, barley and millet.
- Eat oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, kahawai, warehou, pilchard and herring.
- Eat foods with added plant sterols within a balanced diet:
- Plant sterols occur naturally at low levels in fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals.
- Some food products like margarine are fortified with plant sterols so they have higher levels.
- When eaten in higher amounts , plant sterols can naturally reduce LDL-cholesterol . However, it is still important to focus on the quality of your overall diet.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your intake of salt by swapping processed/smoked meats, pre-packaged foods and salty takeaways for foods that are as close to how they are found in nature as possible.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
Fatty Fish And Fish Oil
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied extensively for their heart-health benefits.
Omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish may have a protective role in the risk of developing heart disease and slightly reduce the risk of CVD events and arrhythmias .
Another study showed that eating fish over the long term was linked to lower levels of total cholesterol, blood triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, and systolic blood pressure.
Fish consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and mortality .
If you dont eat much seafood, fish oil is another option for getting your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce blood triglycerides, improve arterial function, and decrease blood pressure (
Other omega-3 supplements like krill oil or algal oil are popular alternatives.
Fatty fish and fish oil are both high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help reduce heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
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Things You Can Do Today To Prevent/reverse Heart Disease
Supplement Your Greens With A Lean Protein For Dinner
For dinner, aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
If youre including meat in your meal, choose something lean, like skinless chicken or turkey breast. If youre buying ground meat, Fuller suggests getting meat labeled 93 or 97 percent lean on the package. Keep portions to about three ounces, or the size of a deck of cards, she says.
Fish can be a key part of a heart-healthy diet, as well as a good and heart-healthy fats called omega-3s.
According to the American Heart Association, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Fuller notes omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation of the vascular walls.
She recommends trying to incorporate fish into your diet twice a week. Start by switching out one red meat meal a week for fish options, like salmon, tuna, mackerel, or sardines, she says.
As a general rule of thumb, its best to avoid fried foods and foods with heavy cream or cheese sauces. Instead opt for items that are grilled or baked.
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Develop Good Sleep Routine
Inadequate sleep alters the blood pressure and hence indirectly affects the heart. 7-8 hours of night sleep is required by the body to recover and rest.
Following good sleep hygiene should be developed for a better heart health:
- Maintain regular sleep timings..
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Switch off all the electronic devices or keep them away from bed and avoid binge watching before sleep.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks after 6 pm
- Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom with dim lighting.
What Effect Does Alcohol Have On My Heart
Too much alcohol is not good for your heart. Excessive alcohol intake can increase fats in the blood, increase blood pressure and add extra calories that lead to weight gain.
In moderation, alcohol appears to have some beneficial effect on the heart. The possible antioxidant effect of red wine has been widely publicized, but its potentially beneficial substances can be obtained from other foods, such as grapes or red grape juice.
Alcohol may have an anti-clotting effect on the blood, reducing clot formation and reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. Aspirin may help reduce blood clotting in a similar way. The best-known beneficial effect of alcohol is an increase in HDL, the “good” cholesterol. However, regular physical activity and weight loss are other effective ways to raise HDL cholesterol.
While studies on the potential mechanisms of alcohol on cardiovascular risk need further research, right now we do not recommend adding alcohol to your diet to achieve these potential benefits. If you already drink alcohol and have no reason to avoid it, such as alcoholism or family history of alcoholism, limit it to one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men. One serving is 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits or one ounce of 100-proof spirits.
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Eating Right For Your Heart
The foods you eat directly impact your cardiovascular health. Improving your diet can help you manage current health conditions, such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, and can also help prevent future health problems.
- High in fruits and in green, red and orange vegetables
- Low in saturated fats and trans fats
- Low in alcohol or alcohol-free
- Calorie-balanced to support a healthy weight
Foods That Help Stave Off Strokes After 40
According to the American Heart Association’s 2018 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update, someone in the U.S. has a stroke about once every 40 seconds, and a stroke accounts for 1 of every 19 deaths in the U.S. And globally, strokes rank as the second leading cause of death . Though a stroke can happen at any age, your risk does increase as you get older.
These are sobering statistics, but thankfully, there are a wealth of foods out there that can help you stave off a stroke as you age. Have you ever heard of the famous Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food?” It’s time we start following that advice and eating more foods that help fight against heart attacks and strokes as best we can. However, it’s important to identify that food alone cannot prevent stroke, but you can absolutely decrease your chances of having one by making positive changes to your diet.
“No one food can prevent stroke, but people with poor eating patterns are more prone to developing a multitude of chronic diseases, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, which can increase the risk for having a stroke,” explains Erin Holley, registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help with weight and blood pressure management.”
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How Much Fiber Should I Have In My Diet
A high-fiber diet is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. In addition to its role in heart health, a high-fiber diet appears to reduce risk of developing diabetes, diverticular disease, constipation and colon cancer. Fiber also slows digestion, which means high-fiber foods help you feel fuller, longer which may help you eat fewer calories and control your weight.
Dietary fiber is material from plant cells that cannot be broken down by enzymes in the human digestive tract. There are two important types of fiber: water-soluble and water insoluble. Each has different properties and characteristics. Both types of fiber are helpful in maintaining good digestion and providing a sense of fullness, which helps prevent overeating and weight gain.
Soluble fiber in particular decreases blood cholesterol. Fruits, vegetables, legumes , barley, oats and oat bran are good sources of soluble fiber.
Total dietary fiber intake should be at least 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. Right now dietary fiber intakes among adults in the United States average about 15 grams a day. That’s about half the recommended amount.
How Your Diet Can Affect Your Heart Health
Your diet affects the health of every part of your body, including your heart.
After all, food provides the nutrients your body needs to function optimally, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals .
The foods and beverages you consume on a daily basis may affect heart health, either positively or negatively, which is why diet is considered a modifiable risk factor for heart disease.
Heart disease risk factors are categorized as modifiable or non-modifiable.
Diet falls into the modifiable category because its something that you can change. Other modifiable heart disease risk factors include:
- psychosocial factors
- drinking alcohol
People can modify their diet in order to improve and protect the health of their heart. Your dietary choices can either increase or decrease your risk of some of these risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood fat levels.
On the other hand, family health history and age fit into the non-modifiable risk factor category because they cant be changed .
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Eat Right For Your Heart
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dieta diet rich in fruits and vegetablesWestern diet
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American Journal of Cardiology.
Red Wine And Resveratrol
If you drink alcohol, a little red wine may be a heart-healthy choice. Resveratrol and catechins, two antioxidants in red wine, may protect artery walls. Alcohol can also boost HDL, the good cholesterol.
Tip: Too much alcohol hurts the heart. Donât have more than one drink a day for women or two drinks for men. Itâs best to talk to your doctor first. Alcohol may cause problems for people taking aspirin and other medications.
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Brussels Sprouts Are High In Fiber And Contain Antioxidants
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable high in antioxidants, including glucosinolate, which the body turns into isothiocyanates during digestion. Antioxidants may have health-protecting benefits that can help lower inflammation in the body, notes Michael S. Fenster, MD, a cardiologist and professional chef in Tampa, Florida. For example, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables high in isothiocyanates such as Brussels sprouts are associated with a 10 percent decreased risk of all-cause mortality, according to a study published in May 2022 in Food Chemistry.
“The modern Western diet creates chronic inflammation in the body, which is at the root of many diseases, including heart disease,” says Finckenor. This is because many Americans eat too much saturated fat and refined sugar.
Brussels sprouts are also a good source of fiber, with about 3 grams per cup, and an equal amount of protein, according to MedlinePlus. According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber-rich foods can help control blood sugar and weight, both of which lower heart disease risk and help you live longer. Soluble fiber can also help lower cholesterol, a key heart disease risk factor.
Enjoy Brussels sprouts raw, shaved in salads, or roasted.
Eat Foods Rich In Omega
Make friends with omega-3 fatty acids for the sake of your heart health. Eating fish such as salmon and tuna that contain omega-3 fatty acids, have shown to lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation in the body. Food rich in omega-3, such as walnuts, flaxseeds and rajma also helps keep blood pressure at normal levels and lower bad cholesterol in the body.
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Reach Out To Modern Heart And Vascular
Cutting back on unhealthy foods becomes crucial as we age. But focusing on eating heart-healthy foods can benefit people of all ages by decreasing your chances of heart ailments such as heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.
For more information on the best foods to prevent heart disease, consider contacting the experts at Modern Heart and Vascular. Modern Heart and Vascular Institute uses state-of-the-art cardiovascular tools to diagnose and test for heart disease. Contact Modern Heart and Vascular today for more information! If youd like to learn more about our practice, read our providers bios.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at .
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