Avoiding unhealthy foods, and eating a diet rich in nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats will improve your overall heart health and lower your risk of heart attack.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among American adults affecting more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. But, the good news is, you can literally eat your way to better cardiac health! Let’s explore what the best foods for heart health are, the heart healthy benefits of 15 of our favorite foods and our top 4 tips for implementing a heart healthy diet into your lifestyle.
TIP #1: Eat more fruits and vegetables
There’s no question that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to heart health and can considerably reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
In their naked state, most all fruits and veggies are good for your heart, it’s the preparation that sometimes makes them not so healthy. Avoid using creamy sauces, sugary syrups or battering and frying.
Medical researchers theorize that antioxidants in fruit and vegetables lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Foods with anthocyanin, a flavonoid (plants known for their antioxidant properties in the skins of dark-colored fruits and vegetables, are best.
One Harvard study found that people who averaged eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day were 30 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who ate one and a half servings or less per day.
HEART HEALTHY FRUITS AND VEGGIES:
- Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium to manage blood pressure.
- Potatoes are rich in potassium and high in fiber which can help lower blood pressure and lower the risk for heart disease.
- Berries such as blueberries and strawberries contain compounds known as anthocyanins, flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vesssels
- Oranges and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C which has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
- Tomatoes are high in heart healthy potassium and a good source of the antioxidant lycopene which is a carotenoid that may help get rid of bad cholesterol, keep the blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.
- Broccoli, spinach and kale are high in carotenoids, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Pomegranates are full of antioxidants including heart-healthy polyphenols and anthocyanins, which can help stave off hardening of the arteries.
TIP #2: Consume lean proteins
The best protein sources include lean meats, seafood, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and legumes.
Cut back on fatty red meats and switch to nonfat milk. Choose seafood, skinless chicken, turkey, lean beef, and pork.
Substituting soy proteins for animal proteins may also help lower LDL cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Fish, nuts and seeds all contain healthful polyunsaturated fatty acids that keep your cholesterol in check. Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) is particularly super because it also helps regulate your heartbeat and your blood pressure. For supplementation we recommend Trim® Omega 3 Fatty Acids Fish Oil.
HEART HEALTHY PROTEINS:
8. Salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines and mackerel are the superstars of heart-healthy foods because they are packed with omega 3 fatty acids which lower the risk of arrhythmia and atherosclerosis and decrease triglycerides.
9. Soybeans and soybean products, including tofu and soy milk, add protein to your diet without unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Soy products contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats (good fats), fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also may reduce blood pressure and can decrease LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
10. Nuts including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts contain heart healthy fiber, vitamin E, which can help lower bad cholesterol, and are high in omega 3 fatty acids
11. Flax and chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
12. Beans, lentils and peas are an excellent source of protein without a lot of unhealthy fat.
TIP #3: Avoid saturated and trans fats
Avoid saturated and trans fats, anything deep fried, processed foods and stick margarines that have partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient.
Replace trans-fat-laden stick margarine with olive oil, flax oil, or canola oil (without partial dehydrogenation).
HEART HEALTHY FATS
Choose healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish or fish oil supplements, some nuts (such as English walnuts), flax seeds, chia seeds and vegetable oils.
13. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which take care of your heart by decreasing your LDL cholesterol and raising your HDL cholesterol. Virgin olive oil also contains polyphenols (natural substances that have health benefits), making it even better for your heart. One study found that people at high risk for heart disease who followed a Mediterranean style diet, high in grains, fruits and vegetables supplemented by nuts and olive oil reduced their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and dying by 30%.
14. Avacados are also rich in the monounsaturated fats that may lower heart disease risk factors, such as cholesterol. They’re also high in antioxidants and in potassium.
TIP #4: Eat more whole grains
Avoid breads, snacks and cakes that are made from refined white flour.
HEART HEALTHY GRAINS
Fiber in unrefined (not processed) whole-grain foods can help lower your blood cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends soluble fiber from whole-grain foods like bran, oatmeal, and whole- grain bread and pasta for a heart-healthy diet.
15. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol. Other whole grains such as bread, pasta and grits are good for the heart as long as they contain the entire grain.
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About Priority You MD
Priority You MD provides personalized, integrative healthcare for general wellness, anti-aging, athletic performance and weight management as well as more complex medical issues. In addition, our facility also provides aesthetic services and fitness training. Combining diet, nutrition and exercise with evidence based medicine and preventative therapies, our goal is to help our patients achieve and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Priority You MD utilizes IV therapy protocols from Trim® Nutrition. These proprietary nutrient injections are formulated by doctors and compounding pharmacists who use the highest quality materials and follow strict manufacturing protocols in a class 10,000 compounding facility.
Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, Trim® Nutrition and Priority You MD’s clinical staff of physicians, pharmacists, registered nurses, and research and development specialists are dedicated to the mission of Making Bodies Better™.