Heart Problems: What Food to Eat and What Food Not to Eat
Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, but it can be prevented or managed by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. Certain foods can help protect your heart and lower your risk of heart disease, while others can increase your risk and harm your health. Here are some tips on what food to eat and what food not to eat if you have heart problems or want to prevent them.
What Food to Eat
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary nitrates. These nutrients can help protect your arteries, prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure, and improve the function of the cells lining your blood vessels. Studies have shown that eating more leafy green vegetables can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 16%.
Whole grains include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain: germ, endosperm, and bran. Common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. Whole grains are beneficial for your heart health because they can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. They also contain fiber, which can help you feel full and prevent overeating. Studies have shown that eating three more servings of whole grains daily can lower your risk of heart disease by 22%.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, and cod are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides, prevent blood clots, and improve the function of your blood vessels. They can also lower your risk of irregular heartbeat and sudden cardiac death. Studies have shown that eating at least two servings of fatty fish per week can lower your risk of heart disease by 36%.
What Food Not to Eat
Processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, salami, and lunch meat are the worst types of meats for your heart. They have high amounts of salt, which can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke. They also contain preservatives, additives, and nitrates, which can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart failure. Studies have shown that eating processed meats can increase your risk of heart disease by 42%.
Foods high in cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by your liver and found in some foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones and vitamin D, but too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart problems. Eggs, meats, butter and dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt are some foods that are high in cholesterol and should not be eaten in excess when you have heart problems. You should also avoid organ meats such as kidney, liver, brains, sweetbread, which have a very high cholesterol content.
Foods high in saturated and trans fats
Saturated and trans fats are types of fats that can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. This can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as meat, cheese, butter, cream, and lard. Trans fats are found mainly in processed foods such as baked goods, snacks, margarine, and fried foods. You should limit your intake of saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily calories and avoid trans fats as much as possible.
By following these tips on what food to eat and what food not to eat for your heart health, you can improve your well-being and reduce your risk of heart problems. Remember to also exercise regularly, manage your stress levels, quit smoking if you do smoke ,and avoid alcohol intake for optimal results.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456