Living a healthy lifestyle can have a positive effect on keeping a healthy heart. While many things can be done to maintain a healthy heart, watching what you eat is still the key lifestyle change needed.
Adding foods that are good for the heart is a great formulation of a well-balanced diet and healthy living.
“Protecting your heart is more than simply avoiding unhealthy foods; a well-rounded diet is important for a healthy heart and it is important to increase your intake of nutrient-rich and high-fiber foods, as well as healthful fats,” says Omy Naidoo, co-founder of Newtricion Wellness Dieticians.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) says that cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease are among the leading causes of death and disability in South Africa, resulting in almost one in six deaths.
Adding to that, about 225 South Africans die from heart disease and stroke on a daily basis.
“To reduce your risk of heart disease, a well-balanced diet will help to keep your heart healthy. Moreover, watching how much you eat by controlling your food portion size can make a considerable difference to your heart,” says Naidoo.
Five types of foods that keep the heart healthy:
Leafy green vegetables
A healthful amount of veggies in the diet can help to moderate weight and blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables are a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting.
Greens such as spinach, kale, and broccoli are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also good for the heart, and the vitamins and antioxidants found in them can also prevent many types of cancers and strengthen bones.
Whole grains are packed with fibre as well as key nutrients that help regulate your blood pressure. Including more whole grains in your diet can benefit your heart health. The most common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. Whole grains are higher in fibre and may help decrease the risk of heart disease.
Almonds are nutrient-dense, with lots of vitamins and minerals that are important for heart health. They are also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre, which are two important nutrients that can help keep your arteries clear and protect against heart disease.
While almonds are very high in nutrients, they are also high in calories, so it is important to have moderate portions.
The antioxidants found in tomatoes help neutralize harmful free radicals, preventing oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease.
Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. Avocados are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that is essential to heart health.