How can eating affect your heart? You’re probably aware that a diet rich in “bad” cholesterol – low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs – is unhealthy for your heart, but you may not be aware of which foods contain LDLs. Besides LDLs, an entire host of foods have the ability to affect your heart either negatively or positively. ReactDx, leaders in cardiac monitoring, provides five tips on how you can alter your diet to improve the health of your heart. Not surprisingly, these tips will benefit your overall health as you improve your heart’s longevity.
- Eating plant-based foods, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits rather than animal-based foods will positively impact your heart. Your body will benefit with more manageable blood sugar levels, a drop in weight, and inches, and decreased blood pressure. Eating plant oils, such as coconut or olive oil, will boost the good cholesterol levels (HDLs) within your bloodstream. Losing weight relieves some of the strain on your heart since it does not have to pump blood to a larger area.
- Refined grains, abundant in most cereals, breads, and pasta, are not nearly as healthy as whole grains, which contain the bran and germ removed when grains are refined. Whole grains contain a plethora of nutrients missing from refined grains, such as magnesium, potassium, and selenium. Look for whole grains on any packages you purchase or eat brown rice or popcorn – natural whole grains.
- When your body craves fat, stop giving it oil or butter. Instead, reach for a handful of sunflower nuts or cashews. Nuts and seeds contain “good” cholesterol (HDL) that adheres to and removes the bad cholesterol from your artery walls. Add a few tablespoons of nuts to your salad for a boost in protein. Along with the heart-healthy benefits, you’ll find the extra protein keeps you fuller longer.
- Most packaged food, creamers, margarine, and pastries contain trans- and saturated fats. Trans-fats promote inflammation, which can lead to obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Saturated fats from most animal products increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol amounts.
- Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient to increase your heart’s productivity. Found in foods such as fresh turkey and chicken as well as many fresh- and saltwater dishes (salmon, clams, crabs, et cetera), vitamin B12 improves cholesterol levels and protects against stroke and high blood pressure.
With these food items on your menu, your heart and your body will be happier and healthier. Learn more about heart care and the importance of diet for a healthy heart by visiting browsing the rest of the blog, or call the cardiac monitoring team at ReactDx at (800) 23-HEART.