The best foods for your heart contain cholesterol-lowering antioxidants and high potassium levels. Learn how to incorporate a heart-healthy diet here.
For most people, preventing heart disease depends largely on their lifestyle. Therefore, people have the power to improve their odds of living long and well. Although being overweight puts people at risk of heart disease and stroke, a heart-healthy diet can help you lose weight or lower cholesterol, blood pressure or triglycerides.
Whole and unprocessed food
- Eating food in its natural form, which is whole and unprocessed, is good for the body.
- Nuts, whole grains, fruit, green vegetables, fish (especially fatty fish) and red wine (in moderation) should fill up the plate for both variety and good health.
- Opting for oats, barley, rye, buckwheat and quinoa can be beneficial.
- They are rich in fiber and can help lower bad or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
- Moreover, eating them regularly can help keep heart diseases at bay.
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins that help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation and keep away heart disease.
- Eating walnuts (containing magnesium, copper and manganese) and almonds (containing heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber) are good for the heart.
- Eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful for the heart.
- Opt for salmon, tuna, pomfret and mackerel.
- It is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids that can improve heart health.
- Green vegetables, such as spinach, can be beneficial for the heart.
- Likewise, carrots, sweet potatoes, green or red chilies, tomatoes, oranges, papaya, sunflower, dried beans, sprouts, mushrooms, lentils and coffee can be included in the diet.
- Pumpkin seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols, sesame seeds contain lignans (bad cholesterol combating elements) and a variety of minerals and chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
- Include these and other healthy seeds in your daily diet to maintain a healthy heart and to combat other diseases.
- Eating dark chocolate one piece a day can help improve health.
- Several studies show that including dark chocolate in the diet may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and less calcified plaque in the arteries.
- Opt for a chocolate bar with at least 75 percent cocoa, which has the most flavonoids and special antioxidants.
- When eaten in moderation, they are easily heart-healthy food.
- A serving (which is one-fifth of a medium avocado) has just 50 calories and three grams of monounsaturated fat and half a gram of polyunsaturated fat. Both are healthy fats that help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
How can I take care of my heart at home?
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in many countries. Keeping the heart healthy no matter how old you are may limit heart diseases and complications.
A few common ways to keep your heart healthy are:
- Maintaining a healthy and ideal weight according to age and height.
- Staying away from alcohol and cigarette smoking may help an individual to have a healthy heart.
- Engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise or walking every day may burn excess fat and increase heart pumping capacity.
- According to research, adults who sit less throughout the day may have a lower risk of early death, particularly from heart disease.
- Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
- Avoiding excessive salt, fat and sugar from the diet may help improve heart health.
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt.
- Taking necessary medications for pre-existing diseases (diabetes, hypertension, thyroid imbalance) if directed by the physician.
- Drinking water at regular intervals may not only remove toxins from the body but also help pump blood efficiently.
- According to health experts and dietitians, people may need to consume four to five liters of water daily.
- The mind-body connection is proven to affect cardiovascular health.
- Having a regular sleep cycle may boost immunity, which directly or indirectly enables a healthy heart.
- Walnuts and flax seeds are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help decrease swelling in the arteries and protect the heart, as well as help lower cholesterol levels.
- Sexual activity may help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
- Research shows that a lower frequency of sexual activity is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease.
An important way to maintain a healthy heart is to have regular health checkups. It is also important to talk to your doctor if you have any behavioral risks (unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, use of tobacco and alcohol), so they can help plan lifestyle modifications accordingly to get your heart health back on track.
Medically Reviewed on 8/11/2021
MyHealthfinder. Heart-Healthy Foods. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/health-conditions/heart-health/heart-healthy-foods-shopping-list
Harvard Health Publishing. 10 Small Steps for Better Heart Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/10-small-steps-for-better-heart-health