World Heart Day 2020: 9 Foods for a Healthy Heart
Heart and cardiovascular diseases are one of the most fatal health ailments in the world.
They refer to a variety of conditions like coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, etc. that typically affect the heart and blood vessels in the human body.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) claim an estimate of 17.9 million lives each year and are the leading cause of deaths at the global level. WHO further reports that at least 4 out of 5 CVD deaths occur due to strokes and heart attacks while one-third of the respective deaths occur prematurely among people under the age of 70 years. Thus, people should adhere to a healthy lifestyle in order to keep heart problems at bay.
Heart problems are majorly a result of bad lifestyle habits and unhealthy food behaviour. In such a scenario, medical experts claim that diet can play a vital role in ensuring heart health as it can influence the blood pressure, cholesterol levels, inflammation, and other heart health determinants. Thus, it is important that you eat right in order to keep up with a healthy heart.
Here are some foods that can help in improving your heart heath:
1. Leafy Vegetables
Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, etc. contain a significant amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are rich sources of vitamin K, a nutrient that is known to help in protecting the arteries and promoting proper blood clotting. Moreover, these vegetables also boast high amount of dietary nitrates that can aid in maintaining blood pressure, reducing arterial stiffness, and improving the function of cell lining in blood vessels.
2. Whole Grains
Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, quinoa, etc. are some of the easily available whole grains you should include in your daily diet. They contain a high amount of fibre that can help in reducing bad LDL cholesterol and minimizing the risk of heart problems.
Berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. not only boast great taste but also high nutritional value. They are packed with antioxidants that can protect us against oxidative stress and inflammation, the two primary factors that contribute to heart diseases.
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Health experts claim that omega-3 is a healthy fat that helps in lowering down blood pressure and minimizes the risk of heart rhythm disorders. For instance, the American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of salmon or other fatty fish per week.
Beans contain resistant starch that resists digestion. Some studies conclude that resistant starch improves heart health by reducing the cholesterol levels and triglycerides. For instance, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that people should include at least half cup of beans in their daily diet.
6. Dry fruits
Dry fruits including almonds and walnuts are great sources of fibre. Moreover, walnuts also boast notable amount of micronutrients like magnesium, copper, and manganese. The two work significantly well in reducing bad LDL cholesterol and minimizing the risk of heart problems.
Seeds including flaxseeds, chain seeds, and hemp seeds are rich sources of heart-healthy nutrients. They contain notable amount of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids that can help in alleviating inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
8. Olive oil
Olive oil is possibly the healthiest oil you can use for cooking. It is rich in heart healthy antioxidants and is beneficial for our blood vessels. Moreover, it is also helpful in lowering down the cholesterol levels.
9. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains high amount of antioxidants like flavonoids that can complement heart health. However, you should consider eating chocolates that contain at least 70% cocoa.
Apart from the above-mentioned foods, you should also include red, yellow, and orange colour vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. in your daily diet. In addition, you can also consume pharmaceutical products and supplements manufactured by the top pharma companies in India for maintaining a healthy heart. However, you should always consult a medical professional before taking any medicines or supplements.