Eating for a healthy heart

In our face-paced lifestyle, our food habits have changed drastically. Fast foods and unhealthy eatables have become an inevitable part of our diet, causing numerous problems like diabetes, obesity, heart problems, etc. Although there has been a significant decrease in deaths due to heart diseases globally, a maximum amount of deaths in America are caused due to the same. Trans fat is the biggest culprit that’s present in junk food and packaged food. This artificially obtained “edible” ingredient is present in most of the food items sold in stores. As a result, people who consume trans fat can be victims of high cholesterol levels. The good news is that people are now realizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and altered food habits. But, it’s still a slow process. While health consciousness started as a trend, it is successfully becoming a lifestyle choice of many Americans. Also, with the advent of technology, we have come to know a lot about cardiovascular diseases and ways to prevent it. For a healthy heart, one needs to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Here’s a cheat sheet of eating for a healthy heart that comprises a list of four food items that you should include in your diet to keep heart diseases at bay.

Salmon
One of the most heart-healthy foods that you can get your hands on is salmon. Many other fatty fishes that are great for the heart include mackerels and sardines. These seafood items are good for the heart because of the high level of omega-3 fatty acids present in them. Studies have shown that people who take higher amounts of food containing omega-3 fatty acids have lower risks of heart diseases like irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), plaque build up in arteries (atherosclerosis), and also have a significant decrease in the amount of triglycerides in the body. According to the American Heart Association, fatty fishes such as the ones mentioned should be included in the diet at least twice a week.

Oatmeal
This is definitely the king of healthy foods. Not only does an oatmeal recipe taste excellent, but it is also amazing for the heart. Oatmeal has a higher content of soluble fiber. Thus, it acts as a sponge and soaks up all the cholesterol in the body. Hence, the cholesterol is excreted out and not absorbed by the blood. Lauren Graf, the director and dietitian of the wellness program at Montefiore Medical Centre in New York City, however, suggests that it is best to avoid instant oatmeal and opt for the traditional oats because instant oats usually contain sugar. Whole grains like pasta, grits, and bread are also great for the heart.

Citrus fruits
Studies have shown that women consuming high amounts of flavanoids (found in oranges and grapefruits) have a lower chance of getting heart strokes. Citrus fruits have vitamin C, which helps in decreasing risks of heart diseases. However, it is important that you avoid citrus drinks with sugar. Certain grapefruit products might interfere with the actions of Statins, which are cholesterol lowering drugs, and hence, should be avoided.

Nuts
Nuts are not only tasty but are also really good for the heart. Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are the ones that you should be eating for a healthy heart on a regular basis. These are high in fibers and contain omega-3 fatty acids and also Vitamin E, which help to control the bad cholesterol in our body.

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