Maintaining a healthy diet can go a very long way towards achieving good long-term health and wellness. In addition to providing our body with essential nutrients and helping to keep a healthy, stable bodyweight, eating right can also be an essential tool in the fight against heart disease. For anyone trying to establish a heart-healthy diet, we recommend prioritizing the following foods:
Leafy Green Vegetables
We strongly recommend eating plenty of leafy green vegetables including spinach, kale, and collard greens. These greens are full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Specifically, they are an excellent source of vitamin K, a vital nutrient which is known to help promote healthy arteries and proper blood clotting. Since they are also high in dietary nitrates, these leafy greens can help reduce blood pressure and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.
Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats and others that have all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain. These foods are a lot healthier than refined grains that may remove dietary fiber, iron, and vitamins in order to create a longer-shelf life. Whole grains can help your heart by reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol, a leading risk factor for heart disease. When shopping for whole grains, we recommend reading ingredient labels carefully and looking out for terms like “whole grain” or “whole wheat”.
Although eating foods rich in fat may seem counterintuitive to heart health, not all fats are created equal. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their heart-health benefits. Certain nuts including walnuts and almonds, which are rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats, have been linked to reductions in cholesterol and belly fat. The same is true of avocados.
While we acknowledge that tea is a drink and not a food, there is no denying that regularly drinking tea can improve your cardiovascular health, Green tea specifically is high in polyphenols and catechins, which work to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease.
There are other foods that can help, however we thought this list could serve as a good starting point. “You are what you eat” may seem like an old cliché, but it’s a fact that what you put on your plate can have a significant impact on the health of your heart. For more information on heart health or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers, please contact Family Practice Center. And follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, photos, and more.