According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer the world over. If this is not enough to convince you to start taking care of your heart right NOW, then I don’t know what is!
Dr. Cesar Yepes, a well- trained, highly experienced cardiologist, specializes in interventional and non-invasive cardiology, including transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography and nuclear cardiology. He has vast experience in dealing with cardiovascular diseases and recommends paying attention to a heart-healthy diet. In terms of a heart-healthy diet, he says that, in general:
It depends upon the culture.The main issue is to maintain balance between carbohydrates, fat, and protein intake. Avoid saturated fat and maintain a caloric intake according to ideal weight for each individual. In general, white meats plenty of salad with minimum dressingor no dressing are ideal. Plenty of fruits are good but avoid too many bananas or mango. Avoid saturated fats as well.
Dr. Cesar Yepes also highlights one reason for the proliferation of heart diseases in modern society: “Modern diets have high caloric value and this associated with lack of exercise contributes to coronary artery disease.“
This is why it is vital that we look at what we’re eating if we want to have a healthy heart. As for specific food items, here are some of the best that will protect your heart.
Who says healthy food can’t be utterly delicious? Salmon is one of the most delectable kinds of fish you can have, and however way it is prepared – raw, grilled, steamed, or as an ingredient in another dish – it will make your tastebuds happy. But that’s not the only reason you should eat salmon as often as you can – it also protects your heart.
Salmon has even made it to WebMD’s list of top heart-healthy foods, and for good reason. Salmon has loads of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce inflammation and help prevent heart attacks.
Whole grains cover a lot of ground, giving you many options. From oatmeal to barley to brown rice, you can take your pick. The reason whole grains are good for your heart is that they contain copious amounts of antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and phytosterols, which protect against coronary disease. When you do your grocery shopping, try to buy more whole grains.
Go nuts over nuts! They’re a good source of protein, they’re filling, and they’re not too fattening. Even better, they lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level, which is harmful to the heart. Nuts also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and Vitamin E – all good for protecting the heart. So, take your pick – almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, to name a few.
Eating yoghurt daily – about 100 grams – will decrease your chances of getting a heart attack. This is due to the possibility of this food item to increase HDL, or good, cholesterol.
Oranges belong to the fruit family so they’re naturally good for the health, but just how do they protect your heart? Oranges are known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. In turn, this helps protect against heart attacks. So the next time you feel like snacking, instead of grabbing that tantalizing bag of chips, grab a nice, juicy orange instead.
Kale is all the rage with health enthusiasts these days, and while it may not be the most appealing vegetable, it prevents atherosclerosis, the condition wherein plaque builds up in your arteries, leading to heart diseases.
If you have no idea how to incorporate kale into your diet, try these healthy and delicious kale recipes.
Here’s the zinger: red wine!
This is because red wine contains flavanoids, a type of antioxidant. Additionally, alcohol can have the following benefits:
increases the amount of HDL (“good”) cholesterol
decreases the chance of forming clots in blood vessels
Of course, the key here is moderation.
The bottom line
When it comes to the point, having a heart-healthy diet is not all about eating just the food items mentioned above. It is all about a whole lifestyle and finding the right balance.
As Dr. Cesar Yepes says, “More than a specific food, the key is to maintaining a proper percentage between carbohydrates fat and protein intake.” Balance is key.