Eating healthily can help to keep your heart in top condition and potentially add years to your life. The key to good nutrition is choosing the right foods. Here are some tips to follow in order to keep your heart healthy:
Increase your intake of fruits & vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a major source of fibre and contain antioxidants that are good for the heart. Aim to include five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Eat more fish
Fish is an excellent source of protein, as well as being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the heart and can help to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Aim to eat at least two servings of fish per week.
Limit saturated fat
Saturated fat is found in animal products such as red meat, poultry skin, full-fat dairy products and some processed foods such as cakes and biscuits. Eating a diet high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of developing heart disease. To limit your intake of saturated fat, replace some higher-fat choices with lower-fat alternatives.
Cut back on salt
Too much salt in your diet can raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Try to reduce your salt intake by:
- Reducing your intake of processed foods that are high in salt, such as chips, crisps, ready meals and takeaways.
- Minimizing the use of table salts while cooking and at the table.
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour your food.
Choose whole grains
Whole grains provide essential vitamins, minerals and fibre, which can help to protect your heart. Aim to include three servings of whole grains in your daily diet. Some whole grains to include in your diet are brown rice, whole grain pasta and oats.
A healthy heart starts with what you eat. Eating the right foods can help to keep your heart healthy and potentially add years to your life. Be sure to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, eat more fish, limit saturated fat and choose whole grains for a heart-healthy diet.
What kinds of food are important for having good heart health?
1. Whole grains: Oats, barley, quinoa and whole wheat bread, pasta, and rice.
2. Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as antioxidants that may help protect your heart.
3. Fatty fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which may help to reduce inflammation.
4. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
5. Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas and other legumes are great sources of plant-based protein and fiber.
6. Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados, and nut butters are great sources of healthy fats.
7. Herbs and Spices: Season your meals with herbs and spices like garlic, turmeric, ginger, and oregano to boost the flavor and provide antioxidant benefits.
8. Low-fat dairy: Choose low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt to get calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients.
What foods should I avoid if I want to have good heart health?
1. Processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausage.
2. Fried foods, such as French fries and chicken tenders.
3. Sugary and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pastries, and sugary drinks.
4. Trans fats and margarine.
5. Foods high in sodium and salt, such as canned soup and fast food.
6. Alcohol and tobacco.
What foods are best for heart health?
1. Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eating antioxidant-rich fruits, such as berries, apples, and citrus, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating a variety of vegetables each day can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
2. Whole grains: Whole grains provide fiber, protein and B vitamins, which all help support heart health. Eating more whole grains, such as brown rice and oats, is linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease.
3. Fish: Eating fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, at least twice a week is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
4. Nuts and legumes: Nuts and legumes, including peanuts, almonds, walnuts, beans and lentils, are high in fiber and several nutrients that support a healthy heart. Eating a handful of nuts several times a week is linked to lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease.
5. Oils: Oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and canola oil, are a great source of unsaturated fats, which can help reduce cholesterol. Eating polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may also help protect against heart disease.
What are the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids for heart health?
1. Fish: Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and anchovies are some of the best sources of Omega-3s for heart health.
2. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are a great plant-based source of Omega-3s. Chia seeds are high in both ALA and DHA, two of the three forms of Omega-3s that are important for heart health.
3. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are a good source of ALA, making them a great plant-based source of Omega-3s.
4. Walnuts: Walnuts are also rich in ALA and can be used as a great plant-based source of Omega-3s.
5. Soybeans: Soybeans are a great source of ALA and are also a great plant-based source of Omega-3s.
6. Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds are also an excellent plant-based source of Omega 3 and can help promote heart health.
7. Spinach: Spinach and other leafy greens are a rich source of ALA and can be included as part of a heart-healthy diet.