While many may assume that popping a few pills that your healthcare provider prescribed is enough to quell symptoms or prevent a heart attack, remember the age-old saying - prevention is better than cure. Many foods can help keep your heart stay younger, longer. Some help lower your blood pressure. Others keep your cholesterol in line. So, here are some quick and easy foods to be added to your shopping cart and on to your diet.
This ocean-going fish is a top choice because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They help lower triglyceride in your body, which is a type of fat that can lead to heart disease. Omega-3s have an anti-clotting effect, so they keep your blood flowing. Aim for at least two servings of oily fish each week, says the American Heart Association. A serving is 3.5 ounces. That’s a little bit bigger than a computer mouse. Here's another tip, while selecting fish for a meal—either 6 ounces of salmon or 5 fish sticks. Both the salmon and the fish sticks would offer roughly about the same number of calories, but the salmon would be a better choice for heart health, because it's a great source of protein, vitamin B and omega-3 essential fatty acids, while the fish sticks contain loads of unhealthy fats and sodium from the breading.
Substitute: Tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel.
It may not be at the top of everyone’s to-do lists, but caring for your heart through a healthy diet and regular physical activity is the secret weapon to preventing heart disease. The real preventative power lies with changes to your lifestyle, which can reduce the risk for heart disease by as much as 80%. Fat-Free or Low-fat Milk or Yogurt
We always keep reading about the consequences of dairy-deficient diet. Also, an important factor to be considered is the risk of chronic diseases associated with this kind of diet. Shortfall in nutrients can lead to serious consequences and chronic disease in the long term. While they are not always visibly deleterious in the short term, several analyses indicate that suboptimal intakes of dairy are associated with metabolic disorders such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as elevated risk for cardiovascular disorders. Dairy products are high in potassium, and that has a blood-pressure-lowering effect. When you choose low-fat or fat-free dairy, you get little to no saturated fat, the kind of fat that can raise your cholesterol.
Substitute: Bananas, oranges, and potatoes are especially good sources. Most fruits and vegetables also have some potassium.
Walnuts have a lot of good fats. Nibbling on 5 ounces of nuts each week may cut your risk of heart disease to half. When you use these monounsaturated fats in place of saturated fats like in butter, you cut your bad LDL cholesterol and raise your good HDL cholesterol. Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fats. However, they don’t have the same kind of omega-3s as fish.
Substitute: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
These berries are loaded with polyphenols. These are antioxidants that mop up damage-causing free radicals in your body. They also deliver fibre and vitamin C, which are both linked to a lower risk of stroke.
Substitute: Any berries like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are great choices. Fruits and vegetables in general are excellent choices because of their nutrients and fibre.
Chickpeas and other legume are a good source of soluble fibre that can lower your bad cholesterol. If you buy canned beans, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties, because sodium can raise blood pressure. Rinse them in water to wash off any added salt. Beans have a high concentration of slow-burning carbohydrates, however, it might be good to know that the same compounds that ensure the carbohydrates in legumes, directly hit our bloodstreams and may contribute to increased intestinal permeability. The intestinal permeability or a leaky gut, as we commonly call it, is a result of cells of the lining of the small intestine becoming damaged or altered. This is commonly seen in diabetic people, hence is not much recommended for them.
Substitute: Eggplant, okra, apples, and pears are also good choices for soluble fibre.