Although each organ plays its own key role, there are few as important (or at risk), based on our current lifestyles, then the human heart. In one day only, your heart beats an incredible 100,000 times. Pumping oxygen and nutrient blood around the body, we all know what happens when heart health is poor.
Cardiovascular disease is sweeping the globe, leading to increased rates of heart failure, stroke, and heart attacks. Luckily, you can protect yourself long before any issues arise. If heart disease runs in your family, it’s especially imperative that you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Nutrition and the Heart
Of course, those who follow an unhealthy diet, tend to be overweight and obese, significantly threatening their heart. Once individuals reach an unhealthy weight, they also increase their risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer. It’s critical that you eat right before any issue occurs.
Preventative measures are the most effective form of treatment, helping you avoid complications before they develop. Although exercise, supplementation, and stress management can help support a healthy heart, a balanced diet is imperative — especially in terms of the following foods.
- Almonds (raw)
Acting as the perfect mid-afternoon snack, almonds are rich in vitamin B2, vitamin E, zinc, protein, magnesium, and much more. All of these nutrients play a key role in terms of reducing free radicals, targeting stress, and reducing the risk of heart disease. Almonds have also been shown to reduce inflammation, body fat, and cholesterol.
Just like almonds, other raw nuts also offer unique nutritional benefits. Pistachios, for instance, can help lower your blood pressure; while walnuts offer healthy fats that reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Start making a small mixture of nuts and seeds, consuming at least three times weekly. Remember, you only need a little to benefit — as nuts are often high in calories.
Legumes are versatile and nutritious, making them the perfect protein source for any meal. In fact, in just one cup of beans, you will generally benefit from a quarter of our daily needs. Offering calcium, B vitamins, and iron, these nutrients support a healthy heart.
When studying patients with coronary heart disease, it’s been found that beans are able to improve serum lipid profiles. Based on a 2005 study, consuming ½ cup of beans daily, can reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 38 percent. They’re also high in fiber, helping support optimal digestive and absorption.
Nearly all fruits are great for your health — cherries, mangos, pineapples, you name it. With that being said, berries tend to be superior in terms of their antioxidant content. Low in sugar and calories, they’re a great snack to support a healthy waistline.
Offering key flavonoids, berries have been shown to promote healthy blood pressure and overall circulation. A high intake of antioxidants are also linked to reduced oxidative stress and inflammation. Although you should eat fruit daily, focus on your overall consumption.
Rich in nutrients and fiber, fruit also contain naturally occurring sugar. This is why you need to eat a balanced diet, focusing on a variety of nutrient-rich, plant-based foods. If you make a smoothie, for instance, you should generally include around 75 percent vegetables (especially leafy greens) and 25 percent fruit.
- Wild salmon
Packed with B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon offer nutrients in which your body and mind crave. This essential nutrient needs to be consumed through your diet, helping to reduce your risk of heart failure, blood clots, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, and increase triglycerides.
Whenever you’re sourcing salmon, ensure that it’s wild caught. Not only is it higher in omega-3 and other nutrients, but wild salmon has not been exposed to the same level of pesticides and hormones. Whenever you’re making fish, grill, roast, or boil it — avoid frying. Serve on a bed of greens with plenty of fresh lemon and herbs.
In order to protect your heart, eat a whole food diet that resembles the rainbow. You want variety, ensuring that all your nutritional needs are met. Not only should you focus on healthy foods, but also reduce your intake of alcohol, processed foods, and sugar.