Food plays a big role in your heart’s health. What you eat can either save your heart or hurt it. Consumingheart-healthy food will help you live a longer and healthier life, free from heart attacks, stroke, and many other heart-related illnesses.
Diet will influence your levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and triglycerides. All these are threatening factors for the heart. So, what foods will keep your heart healthy?
Black beans are full of heart-friendly nutrients. They’re packed with magnesium, folate, and powerful antioxidants that help maintain the right blood pressure levels. Their richness in fiber helps to maintain a healthy levelof blood sugars and cholesterol.
Hint; Rinse thoroughly black beans to eliminate the extra salt. You can introduce it to your meal routine by adding it to your salads and soups.
Red wine lovers, where are you? Before getting excited upon seeing this in the list, it’s important to know this drink will only be helpful if taken moderately. This healthy type of alcohol will keep your artery walls protected and boost good cholesterol levels. If you love alcohol, replace the other versions with this healthier choice.
Hint; Take only 1 drink a day. Too much of it will hurt your heart. Avoid it when you’re using medication like aspirin to avoid negative alterations in your body.
Switch your cooking oil with olive oil, and you’ll stay forever grateful for making that decision. Olive oil does more than making your food taste better. It’ll keep your heart healthier and happier. Its antioxidants are associated with well-performing blood vessels and reduced cholesterol levels.
Hint;You can use it on cooked vegetables, salads, or bread. The best flavor is cold-pressed, and you can use it for 6 months.
Almond and walnuts are the best types of nuts to optimize your heart’s functionality. Snacking on a handful of these nuts is enough to protect your heart from arteries’ inflammation and getting rid of harmful cholesterol in the body. On top of enjoying the crunchiness and sweetness, walnut and almond will also offer you omega 3s, monounsaturated fats, fiber, and plant sterols. They generally replace the bad fats.
Hint;Enjoy the creamy and sweet flavor by toasting them. Try them on desserts, vegetables, fish, chicken, and vegetables.
With a low glycemic index than most potatoes, this version of spuds will help maintain a stableblood sugar level. Also, they’re great sources of lycopene, vitamin A, and fiber.
Hint;Add cinnamon and lime to boost the natural sweetness. Avoid adding sugary toppings if you want a healthy diet.
Oatmeal is an awesome choice when you need a tasty and nutritious meal. It’ll make you feel full for long hours and prevent you from appetite attacks. More importantly, it’llstabilize your blood sugar levels. It’s especially useful for individuals with diabetes.
Hint;Use it on any baked good like a muffin or pancake. Instead of using flour only when baking, replace some of it with oats.
If you’re used to rice, you may consider swapping it with barley to try something new. Barley isa nutritional version of whole grains. It controls cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can use it on your soups or stews and enjoy the flavor.
Hint; Buy whole grain or hulled barley because it has more nutrients than others. You can toast or ground it to make a great cereal snack. Although pearl barley is good, it lacks mostheart-friendly fiber, making it the last option when considering the type to buy.
What other foods are heart-friendly?
- Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme
- Salmon and tuna
- Yogurtwith low fat
- Foods with cholesterol-fighting sterols
What foods should you limit to keep your heart healthy?
- Sugary foods
- Canned foods with heavy syrup
- Foods from white and refined flour
- Saturated and trans fat
- Deep-fried foods
Tips for maintaining a healthy heart
Look into your portion size
The amount of food you eat is equally important as what you eat. Eating too much or too fast will make you eat more calories than you should. There is no specific route for judging the right amount. Your age and health needs will help you make the judgment.
Focus more on vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits will help feed you the minerals and vitaminsneeded for a well-performing heart. They have minimum calories and are high in fiber. Ensure your recipes have fruits and vegetables as the main ingredients.
Invest in whole grains
Whole grains help in maintaining a good balance of blood pressure and promote heart health. Swap refined grain products with whole grains, and you’ll never regret it.
Avoid unhealthy fats
Take limited amounts of trans and saturated fats if you want to stay protected from bad cholesterol and artery illnesses. These bad fats increasecholesterol levels leading to the formation of plaques in your arteries. The final result will be a heart attack or stroke.
Go for low-fat proteins
Proteins are important, but you may have to be picky with your choices. Always opt for lower-fat optionslike skinless chicken meat instead of the fried version or skimmed milk instead of whole milk.
Minimize your salt intake
Consumption of too much salt increases high blood pressure, which is a great treat for your heart. Reducing your sodium intake will help you keep your heart safe. An adult should not take more than 2300 mg of sodium in a day.
Create a healthy daily food plan
Knowing the foods to feature in your diet and what to avoid will not give you a healthy heart. You’ll need to put your goals into action. Create a plan that contains all the suggested foods. Doing so will ensure you acquire all the nutrients your body requires.
Maintaining a healthy heart is never easy. Staying persistent and discipline are the skillsyou’ll need if youwant to maintain a strong heart. Invest more in vegetables and fruits and avoid cholesterol-building foods. To remainconsistent, don’t stick to the same foods. Make it interesting by trying new recipes. But make sure they’re healthy. You got this, friend. It’s time to make your heart happy and healthy!