Which foods to eat and which to avoid is one of the commonest worries of patients who suffer from a heart attack or undergo procedures like angioplasty and bypass surgery. It is also imperative that we know and follow a heart healthy diet even if we do not have any heart related issues as most of us are at a risk of heart disease with our present ways of life and our environment.
Best Foods for a Young, Healthy Heart
- Green Leafy Vegetables– Good source of dietary nitrates and Vitamin K which help to keep the arteries young and promote efficient blood clotting.
- Whole grains– Compared to refined grains, whole grains are higher in fibre, which may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Berries– They are rich in antioxidant, which protect against the development of heart disease.
- Avocados– Avocados are rich in potassium which helps to reduce blood pressure and are an excellent source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Fatty Fish and Fish Oil– Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are well known for their heart-health benefits.
- Walnuts and Almonds– These nuts are a great source of fibre and micronutrients, all of which are known to protect against heart disease.
- Seeds– Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of heart-healthy nutrients, including fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Garlic– For centuries, garlic has been used to treat heart related ailments and the source of its benefit has now been traced to a component named allicin, which helps in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Olive Oil– Packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, olive oil is known to have many heart related benefits.
- Green Tea– Found to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Foods that are bad for your heart
- Red meat, Processed meat and Bacon– Contain high content of saturated fats which increases the bad cholesterol levels and sodium which increases blood pressure.
- Soda– A can of soda has more added sugar than experts recommend for a whole day. Soda drinkers are more likely to be obese and have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Baked Goods– Cookies, cakes, and muffins are typically loaded with added sugar, which leads to weight gain. They’re also linked to higher triglyceride levels, and that can lead to heart disease.
- White Rice, Bread and Pasta– Rice, bread, pasta, and snacks made from white flour are missing their healthy fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Refined grains quickly convert to sugar, which your body stores as fat. A diet high in refined grains can cause belly fat, which studies link to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Pizza– Pizza can be healthy if you make it the right way, but most take-out pizza and frozen pies have staggering amounts of sodium, fat, and calories, all of which can raise your risk of a heart attack.
- Butter– It is high in saturated fat, which can raise your bad cholesterol and make heart disease more likely.
- French Fries and Potato Chips– Commonest cause of obesity in young adults which leads to heart diseases in the future.
- Fried Chicken– Deep-frying chicken adds calories, fat, and sodium to an otherwise healthy food. Studies have linked fried food with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure — all of which raise your odds of heart failure.
- Canned Soup– Canned soup often has lots of sodium, which can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And any cream-based soup has unhealthy saturated fat.