What Is The Best Diet To Prevent A Heart Attack?Heart disease refers to various types of heart conditions. In most cases, it refers to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. This condition may lead to plaque buildup in the coronary arteries (they supply blood to the heart). The peripheral arteries- supply blood to the limbs and brain. A heart-healthy diet will give you preventive care for the heart. There are steps that you can take to prevent heart disease. Heart attacks are on the rise, and in the US, it is the leading cause of death. Keeping your heart healthy should be a priority as the primary organ that keeps us alive.

At Heart and Wellness Group, we provide nutritional counseling for anyone who wants to protect themselves from a heart attack and what to eat after an attack. We understand that food plays a significant role in the health of your heart which is why we highly recommend a healthy diet and exercise. Here is what you should eat to keep your heart healthy.

Cut Down On Saturated Fat

Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fat in your diet is essential to reduce blood cholesterol and the risk of coronary artery disease. Plaque build-up can clog arteries due to high blood cholesterol levels leading to atherosclerosis. This dramatically increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Use monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, ghee, nut oils, vegetable oil, avocado oil, and mustard oil instead of fats like butter, gravy, bacon fat, nondairy creamers, hydrogenated margarine, and shortening or lard. Polyunsaturated fats are also beneficial for heart health and can be found in foods such as fish, avocado, seeds, and nuts. When using any oil, moderation is vital since fats are high in calories. Saturated fat is found in milk products, pork, lamb or fatty beef. To cut on the saturated fats, use lean meat and trim all the excess fat.
Olive oil is the best because it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and oleic acid. These properties assist in; relieving inflammation which reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Oleic acid helps prevent and treat hypertension.

Consume Foods Rich in Omega -3 Fatty Acids

Eating omega- 3 fatty acids for a healthy heart is essential. This group contains foods like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. Omega -3 fatty acids lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation, cholesterol, blood sugars, and systolic blood pressure. Fish oil helps in reducing heart disease and arrhythmias. There are fish oil supplements for those who don’t like or can’t access seafood, like krill oil or algal oil.

Go for Whole Foods and Not Processed Foods

Whole grains contain fiber which keeps the heart healthy and blood sugar levels low, reducing heart disease and other diseases like diabetes. Whole grains include bran, germ, whole wheat, oats, rye, barley, quinoa, and brown rice. Eating whole grains lowers cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and lowers the risk of heart disease. Three or more servings per day lower heart disease. Rich whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and reduced sodium intake help prevent hypertension. Processed foods are washed off nutrients. They can cause obesity and increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

Increase Intake of Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits are full of vitamins, potassium, and folic acid. These foods repair the body and dramatically lowers the risk of heart disease. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, and kale are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamin K protects the arteries and promotes blood clotting. Leafy greens are high in dietary nitrates known to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve the function of the cells lining the blood vessels and arterial stiffness. Studies show that vegetables are known to lower coronary heart disease.

Aim for Low-Fat Dairy Products

Dairy products though healthy, have a lot of fat which can cause cholesterol. Products like cheese, ice cream, and sour cream are high in saturated fat. Go for skim or low-fat products. You can opt for unsweetened almond milk since it is low in calories and is healthy for the heart.

Other heart-friendly food also includes a diet rich in:

Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are full of nutrients suitable for heart health. Berries are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins. They protect against oxidants and inflammation, which contribute to heart disease. Consumption of strawberries improves insulin resistance and bad cholesterol, especially for those who are obese. Studies show that eating blueberries helps function cells that line the blood vessels hence they assist in controlling blood pressure and blood clotting. Berries are delicious and satisfying and can reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease.

Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium. Avocados reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. They are rich in potassium (one avocado has 975 milligrams of potassium). This helps reduce blood pressure associated with the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Eating beans can reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Some beans reduce levels of blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Beans are high in resistant starch and are linked to reduced blood pressure and inflammation; both are risk factors for the heart. Black beans are one of the best for lowering blood sugars and cholesterol.

Walnuts help protect against heart disease. They are rich in micronutrients like copper, manganese, fiber, and magnesium. Eating walnuts can help reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol related to heart diseases.

Low levels of lycopene are associated with heart disease and stroke risk. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties. Tomatoes increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which significantly reduces excessive plaque in the arteries and the risk of heart disease.

Dark Chocolate
Consuming chocolate in moderation (it has sugar and calories that can cause other health problems) may decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Dark chocolate is the best since it has antioxidants like flavonoids, connected to lowering the risk of plagues in the arteries, which may cause coronary heart disease.

Almonds are rich in nutrients, full of vitamins, and minerals. They are also a good source of monounsaturated fats and fiber. These nutrients help a lot in protecting against heart disease and lowering cholesterol, as well as reducing belly fat. They have high levels of HDL (good) cholesterol which assists in reducing plaque buildup and keeping arteries clear, promoting a healthy heart.

Garlic has a compound called allicin which has therapeutic effects and is effective in reducing blood pressure and bad cholesterol. It can inhibit the buildup of platelets, reducing the risk of blood clot formation and stroke. It is best consumed raw, or you can crush it and leave it for a while to give it time to form allicin.

Seeds contain fiber and omega -3 fatty acids. Seeds like flaxseeds may help keep blood pressure down and manage cholesterol levels. They lower cardiovascular disease and help prevent cancer and diabetes. They also improve gastrointestinal health. Chia seeds may assist in lowering blood triglyceride levels and boosts good cholesterol. Hemp seeds are high in arginine, an amino acid that helps reduce inflammation.

Green Tea
Green tea has several benefits, such as burning fat. It has polyphenols and catechins, antioxidants that prevent cell damage, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and protect heart health. Green tea reduces bad cholesterol, increases leptin in obese women, and reduces blood pressure and triglycerides.

This is an immature soybean rich in isoflavones that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also rich in dietary fiber, vitamin K, folate, protein, and antioxidants that benefit the heart.

Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Heart

Avoid the following foods for a healthy heart and body, especially if you have high cholesterol and had a heart attack:

  • Fried and fast foods such as French fries, pizza, burgers, and hot dogs
  • Candy, biscuits, cookies, ice cream, and cakes
  • Canned foods
  • Processed and frozen meals
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and packaged dressing
  • Deli meat and red meat (consume low amounts with trimmed fats)
  • Alcohol, smoking, and tobacco products
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils

For more tips on heart-friendly foods, contact Heart Wellness Group today or schedule an appointment online.

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