Did you know that the content of your plate has a significant effect on the health of your heart?
Few people realize that nutrition has a significant contribution to the health of our hearts. In fact, the general narrative over the years has been how food is key to our overall body health as a whole. Therefore, not much attention has been paid on how nutrition plays a big part in the health of our hearts.
As the world prepares to celebrate World Heart Day on 29th September, taking care of our hearts is paramount especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death on the planet according to the World Heart Federation. Nutrition, therefore, becomes a major contributor to the wellness of your heart.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that eating foods high in fat cholesterol or sodium can be very bad for the heart. Diet therefore becomes a good starting point when trying to minimize the risk of heart diseases.
There is an assortment of foods that aid in decreasing the risk of heart disease and lowering cholesterol levels. Bear in mind that the heart suffers from many complications such as blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and inflammation. By simply taking well known nutrients can go a long way in reducing these complications.
- Fiber. Fiber helps in lowering blood pressure, improving insulin, and reducing inflammation.
- Omega 3. Helps in decreasing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, and has a positive effect on the heart’s rhythm.
- Doctors recommend a high intake of this nutrient since it goes a long way in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Folate. Foods rich in folic acid reduce the thickening of the arterial walls which can cause coronary artery diseases.
- Unsaturated fats. Vital in lowering cholesterol in our bodies. This nutrient helps in the development and maintenance of our cells.
Various simple and readily available foods are a source of the above nutrients and similarly, these foods can go a long way in ensuring that the state of our heart is perfect.
Known as a ‘power food’, few realize the actual nutritional value of avocados beyond making food tastier and palatable. Avocados contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which help keep your heart healthy. Avocados contain 20 different minerals and vitamins, are low in saturated fats and contain no sodium and cholesterol. By including avocados in your nutrition, you get potassium which is linked to low blood pressure. Remember, blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
People who consume beans regularly may are less likely to die of a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem! Research shows that there is correlation between eating beans and lower coronary disease.
Beans are rich in fiber which helps to fight excess cholesterol in our bodies. Soya beans, peas, and kidney beans are good examples. They are also a source of protein, fiber, iron, and vitamins.
The little seeds in tomatoes are very nutritious making them good for the heart. They contain nutrients such as potassium, vitamin, and fiber. Vitamin B and potassium found in tomatoes are vital in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
Therefore, when you include tomatoes in your regular balanced diet you can effectively prevent heart attacks and stroke. Next time don’t throw away those little seeds, they can save life!
While it is impossible to prove the potential effects of garlic on longevity in humans, given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer.
Additionally, garlic supplements reduce the build-up of plaques in the arteries and help lower our cholesterol levels. Healthline medical journal refers to Garlic as one of the first performance enhancing substance used in ancient times!
Well, not literally but it was vital in reduction of fatigue and enhance work capacity among laborer. This is so because, people with heart disease who took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity.
- Olive Oil.
Popularly used in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a source of antioxidants known to protect red blood cells from damage. This damage could otherwise lead to heart diseases and heart attacks.
According to Medical News Today, people who consume this diet appear to have a higher life expectancy, including a lower chance of dying from cardiovascular diseases, compared with people who follow other diets.
Liver contains choline, a nutrient that helps protect the health of our hearts. It also contains many other vitamins and minerals your body needs such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, iron and copper. This makes the liver one of the few superfoods that you should include in your diet. It is also lower on calories and fat compared to other meats such as steak and lamb.
- Green Tea
Hyped as one of the healthiest beverages for its array of benefits. Green tea has antioxidants which help in lowering the risk of heart-related diseases. In fact, it has been documented that people who drink green tea have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Unlike coffee and other types of tea, additional health benefits of taking green tea are low risk of getting several cancers such, breast, lung, colon and esophageal.
- Vegetables such as broccoli and spinach
Spinach and broccoli are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to Healthline Journal, increasing their intake can result in a lower risk of heart disease.
Spinach contains Vitamin C which help protect us from protect us from heart problems and cardiovascular disease. It contains nitrite that not only helps in preventing heart attack but also cures heart diseases associated with fat deposition.
Studies show that women whose nutrition included cruciferous vegetables found in broccoli, had lower risk of atherosclerosis a condition that can result in heart attack or stroke.
- Dark Chocolate.
Who knew dark chocolate was a super food? This is good news for the chocolate lovers however, the bad news is that it should be taken in moderation! Dark chocolates contain flavonoids which are antioxidants agents. According to a study by Harvard University, flavonoids promotes heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
BBC Good Food adds that, dark chocolate has other remarkable health benefits as it is high in iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. Iron is important for making red blood cells while copper triggers release of iron to form hemoglobin. Manganese helps to make and activate certain enzymes in the body, including those which break down food.
- Fish high in Omega 3
A good variety of fish are a good source of Omega 3 such as Tuna which is easy to prepare. Omega 3 helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases such as irregular heartbeat. This nutrient also helps in slowing down plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure.
Presence of omega 3 in our nutrition help our blood vessels to dilate. This means that the heart does not need to forcefully pump blood round the body hence lower risk of stroke.
Remember MYDAWA has a range of supplements that can help in ensuring that the body has the above nutrients to help you maintain a healthy heart. In conclusion, there is a big correlation between nutrition and the state of our heart. What you eat greatly affects your heart condition. Remember, eat your food like medicine to avoid eating medicine as your food later in life.2