Busy and active lifestyles can make fast food and processed food a more convenient and appealing alternative to heart-healthy options. Individuals worried about increasing the risk of heart disease can take active steps to adopt a diet that can improve cardiovascular health. Heart disease makes up nearly 1/3 of deaths around the world. Patients need not be another statistic.
How diet impact heart health
Before diving into the top three foods to prevent heart disease, patients should understand how diet affects heart health. Certain foods can improve triglyceride, blood pressure, inflammation, and blood cholesterol levels. Lack of exercise, cigarette smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and certain fats can increase the risk of heart disease.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids have been shown to reduce factors that increase heart disease symptoms such as high blood pressure and high triglycerides. Fish oil is an alternative to eating seafood regularly. For vegetarians or vegans, krill and algal oil are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Leafy greens
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens are an enormous source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamin K, in particular, has been shown to protect the arteries and prevent irregular blood clotting. Leafy greens are also high in dietary nitrates, which are known to reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Healthier arteries reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Whole grains
Whole grains including barley, brown rice, oatmeal, millet, and bulgur are rich in fiber, which can reduce LDL cholesterol. Too much LDL in the arteries can turn into plaque that can increase the incidence of heart attacks. Whole-grain bread, cereal, flour, and pasta are healthy alternatives to ensure individuals get the most heart-healthy nutrients available.
Preventing heart disease with delicious food
Healthy food can also be delicious. Heart-healthy food can range from a refreshing iced green tea to a bit of dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants like flavonoids that can lower the risk of heart disease. Finding the right heart-healthy foods can be the beginning of lower cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure levels.