To reduce your risk of heart disease, try these simple dietary changes.
Heart health has always been important. However, because heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, more needs to be done on both a societal and individual level. While there are some factors beyond our control, such as genetics, access to healthier foods, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are daily lifestyle choices that can be made to help reduce your risk of heart disease. You can even change your eating habits to help your heart.
According to a report, physical activity, weight, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, and diet are some of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It also mentions that COVID-19 had a significant impact because it reduced physical activity in many people. The AHA factors listed may differ between individuals, but many, such as weight, cholesterol, glucose levels, and blood pressure levels, can be directly linked to diet and nutrition. This emphasizes the importance of healthy eating habits to care for your heart and prevent disease.
A cardiologist specializing in preventive cardiology shared five simple dietary steps to incorporate into our daily routine to help us work toward a healthier heart and lower our risk of heart disease.
Consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
A good place to start with your diet is to ask yourself how many servings of fruit and vegetables you believe you’re getting daily, because these foods provide numerous benefits to your heart’s health.
Fruit and vegetable-rich diets can help lower the risk of heart disease by providing essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins C and E, known to have antioxidant properties. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables contain potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. Although fruits have a high sugar content, the fruit’s fiber slows the sugar absorption rate, allowing you to avoid high sugar levels, especially when compared to fruit juices.
Those who ate more vegetables and fruit had fewer biomarkers associated with heart disease or heart strain. So, eating more fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference if you want to improve your heart health through diet.
Include whole grains.
Eating whole grains instead of refined grains whenever possible is a big step toward better heart health. The main difference between whole and refined grains is that whole grains retain all of the grain’s components, including fiber and nutrients. Refined grains, such as white pasta and white bread, are made by removing the bran and germ from the grain and the majority of the fiber and beneficial nutrients.
Whole grains are high in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, as well as essential vitamins B and E, magnesium, and selenium.
Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats.
Saturated and trans fats have been linked to increased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. You can help lower your cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease by limiting your intake of saturated fats found in meat and dairy products and avoiding trans fats found in processed foods.
Eat fish at least twice a week.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglycerides, inflammation, and blood pressure. Eating fish twice a week can help you meet your daily requirement for these essential fatty acids.
There is also good news for those who dislike or are allergic to seafood. If you cannot consume the recommended amount of fish per week, you can always take omega-3 supplements in pill form. However, consult with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.
Eat your meals as soon as possible.
The final eating habit to save your heart is to eat your last meal of the day at an early hour, which can be applied to any dinner meal regardless of what’s in it. This can assist you in managing your weight, which will help you care for your heart health.
Eating meals earlier in the day helped to keep weight gain at bay. Eating an early dinner allows the body to use excess glucose rather than storing it as fat. Eating later in the evening can also slow metabolism and increase hunger.
Weight management can play an important role in lowering your risk of heart disease. Obesity has been linked to several heart problems, including coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. This is not to say that being overweight will cause heart disease, but if you’re already at risk, consulting with a trusted doctor or dietitian about some healthy, long-term steps you can take may be beneficial. While all of the tips mentioned above help determine where to begin, speaking with a medical professional about your heart health and concerns is the best next step you can take.
Learn more: 8 Healthy Foods That Can Also Be Toxic