A Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly half of these deaths are women. For every person who dies from a heart attack, 18 survive, and for every person who dies from a stroke, 7 survive. Many of these survivors find themselves disabled for life and can no longer be the productive people they once were. They also become high risk candidates for additional heart attacks and strokes. Although deaths from heart attacks have been decreasing, heart-failure related hospitalizations have skyrocketed.
One of the keys to preventing cardiovascular disease is maintaining a healthy diet, and some foods are definitely more heart friendly than others. So if you are interested in protecting your heart through a healthy diet, here are a few suggestions.
A Heart-Healthy Approach
What we eat matters. It is not all just hype and advertisement. A study of more than 42,000 women found that those who ate a healthy diet that included plenty of vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat dairy were 31% less likely to die in the next six years than those women who ate an unhealthy diet.
Remember along the way to watch your salt intake. Salt increases blood pressure, and do not think that sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to table salt. Both have the same amount of sodium.
Go easy on caffeine and alcohol. A little wine might be good for your heart, but a great deal is not. Go easy on the red meat, as well. Red meat is usually high in saturated fat. If you are going to have red meat on occasion, choose the leanest cuts although pork tenderloin, chicken breast, or turkey breast will serve you better.
Some Heart Healthy Food Choices
Get a good amount of fish into your diet and prepare it in the most healthy way. Deep fried fish will not do you any favors, but grilled or roasted fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, and trout are great choices.
Plenty of fiber is also good for your heart as it absorbs fat during digestion and reduces the swelling that can occur in your arteries. It also helps to control weight gain because it makes you feel satiated faster. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans are all quality sources of fiber.
Oranges contain pectin which helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and potassium, which helps to control high blood pressure. Carrots control diabetes and combat bad cholesterol while walnuts also help lower blood pressure as well as reduce inflammation in the arteries.
Another good source of fiber is black beans. Black beans have large amounts of folate, antioxidants, and magnesium, all of which are useful in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Flaxseeds also contain fiber, and a spoonful in powdered form added to salads on a daily basis will provide high-level protection to the heart.
If you enjoyed this article, you also may wish to read "The Ornish Diet Review: A Heart Happy Diet."
Living life well-fed,
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New York State Department of Health - http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cardiovascular/heart_disease/
The times of India - http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-02/diet/33520611_1_heart-disease-bad-cholesterol-blood-pressure
WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/afib-12/heart-diet
Published On: January 25, 2013