Eating Right for Your Heart

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Healthy food on a heart shape cutting board

Our heart is one of the most crucial and sacred organs of our body. One of the simplest lifestyle changes that will benefit your heart is watching your diet. Most of us are conscious of our weight, but trying out a new fad diet every year just is not the best way to protect your heart. Stick to a diet that is rich in greens, fruits, vegetables, fiber, and low-fat proteins every day. Fish is high in lean protein, vitamin D, and other heart-healthy nutrients. No single food will ever make you magically heart-healthy. Your overall dietary pattern is more important than specific foods. So we’ve compiled a few cardiologist-approved diet tips for your heart. A heart-healthy eating plan is full of foods that can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Start by concentrating on key lifestyle areas such as eating, exercise, smoking, and drinking, and considering other factors like family history, diabetes, and stress.

Add lots of fresh produce

A heart-healthy diet plan is incomplete without incorporating loads of colorful and healthy fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide several healthy nutrients, especially fiber, which helps in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, improves the functionality of the blood vessels.

Avoid added sugars

Sugar is the main culprit when it comes to heart disease. Eating sugar spikes inflammation, blood lipids, and insulin. Those fatty, sugary, salty, high-calorie dishes and snacks may taste good going down, but they’re not helping your heart.

Exercise regularly

The heart is a muscle and it needs exercise to keep fit so that it can pump blood efficiently round your body with each heartbeat. Speak to a general physician/ cardiologist before starting a new fitness routine. Set small goals and commit to them. Exercise for 30 minutes a day at least five times a week. If 30 minutes is too much, start with 10-minute intervals of physical activity. The key to heart health is a healthy lifestyle.

Reduce your salt intake

Excess salt can cause blood pressure elevation which increases the development of heart problems. Avoid high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar foods and go easy on red meat. Drink lots of water and munch on nuts, apples, and berries. Your heart will thank you.

Go for whole grains

There’s nothing better than incorporating whole grains into your diet. Whole grains contain vitamin B, folic acid, fiber, magnesium, selenium, and other essential nutrients. How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Keep a check on the quantity that you eat.

Consume probiotic foods

The bacteria in your gut regulate how much energy you absorb from other foods. There is significant evidence that probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation. Probiotics can help restore healthy bacteria in the gut, which greatly improves heart health. A healthy gut precedes a healthy heart!

Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked

People with high blood pressure run a higher risk of a stroke or a heart attack. High levels of cholesterol in the blood, produced by the liver from saturated fats can lead to fatty deposits in your coronary arteries that increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

DASH Diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet is not a trendy weight-loss plan. It is an easy-to-follow, healthy lifestyle plan developed by the National Institutes of Health. Studies prove that the diet is highly effective at decreasing your risk of many diseases, including certain types of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. It includes cereals, pulses, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. It provides you with the restrictions required for salt and sugar consumption too.

Embrace high-fiber food

A diet high in fiber can lower bad cholesterol and provide nutrients that help protect against cardiovascular diseases. It helps with weight loss and healthy weight management. Consume vegetable-heavy salads. Those are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and heart-protective nutrients, protecting you from cardiovascular and other diseases.

It’s important to try to let go of these habits that increase your risk of heart disease:

  • If you are a smoker, try to quit
  • Replace soft drinks and fruit juices with water
  • Substitute fried foods with baked or grilled choices
  • Limit/avoid alcohol

Getting smart about your heart early on puts you far ahead of the curve. Make heart-smart decisions by making small, positive changes toward a healthy lifestyle. Prashanth Heart Foundation (PHF) is home to some of the best cardiac surgeons in Chennai who offer quality cardiac care services. If you or a loved one is managing a heart condition and could benefit from getting in touch with the best cardiologists in Chennai, book an appointment with us today.