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Heart disease is one of the most common reasons for deaths worldwide. Heart health depends on many factors like the food we consume, lifestyle-related factors like exercise schedule, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc. No matter how much you exercise daily or don’t smoke or drink the major part depends on the right food we consume. Right food consumed will help to prevent inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart-related diseases.

Major Heart Problems

  • Arrhythmia – It includes damage in the electrical conduction system of the heart. The electrical impulse of the heart coordinates heartbeat dysfunction by making it beat too fast or slow. The symptoms are not visible early. The symptoms are skipped heartbeats, dizziness, and irregular palpitations.
  • High Blood Pressure – It changes at the pace at which the heart expands and relaxes while pumping blood. In hypertension, the blood flows into the blood vessels at a fast speed which leads to pressure in the arteries. If this problem stays long, it can damage the arteries and other blood vessels which leads to the risk of a heart attack. It can also damage the eyes, brain, and kidneys. Hence blood pressure needs to be maintained at 120/80. Hence one should avoid consumption of high salt, alcohol.
  • Atrial Fibrillation – In this case, the deoxygenated blood flows through the body because of un sync electric signals. This is common in cases where a pacemaker is inserted.
  • Angina – In this case, the artery walls become narrow, and hence the blood flow is restricted to the heart muscles due to the accumulation of plaque.
  • High Cholesterol – Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood. Increased levels of cholesterol lead to Atherosclerosis. In this condition, the plaque gets deposited in the walls of arteries which will narrow the passage of blood flow. As time passes the plaque will become hard and it will become a clot that can block the artery leading to a heart attack.
  • Cardiomyopathy – In this the muscles become rigid and thick, and the risk of heart failure will increase. The heart loses the function of pumping blood in the correct manner and quantity.
  • Heart Failure – The primary function of the heart is to pump blood, supply oxygen and essential nutrients to various parts of the body. If this function fails, then it will lead to heart failure.
  • Myocardial Infarction – In this condition, the muscles of the heart get damaged or stop function due to improper supply of oxygen or blood. If the damage persists it can lead to death. The alarming signs are severe pain, squeezing in the chest that lasts for few minutes, fainting, excess sweating, shortness of breath.

Nutrients Involved in Maintaining Heart Health

  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Magnesium
  • Glutathione
  • Vitamin D
  • Curcumin
  • Vitamin K2
  • Omega 3 fatty acids

Foods Good for Heart

Red Apples

  • Contains phytochemical quercetin which aids as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps to prevent blood clots.
  • Contains soluble fibres which reduce bad cholesterol.
  • Contains polyphenols which have antioxidant feature. Also has flavonoid epicatechin which reduces blood pressure.
  • Can be consumed directly, or along with walnuts or almonds as a part of a healthy snack or even in salads.

Avocados

  • Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, full of vitamins and phytochemicals which acts as antioxidants.
  • Contains monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid which aids in reducing inflammation in the body majorly the heart.

Green Leafy vegetables

  • Rich in fibre which helps to lower bad cholesterol and hence reduces heart-related disease.
  • Low in calories.
  • Rich in Vitamin K and nitrates which aids to reduce blood pressure and also improves arterial functions.

Whole grains

  • Contains vitamins, minerals and fibre which aids to lower LDL Cholesterol and triglycerides which are key to a healthy heart.
  • Oats possess soluble fibre named beta-glucan which aids in reducing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Soy

  • Contains plant protein and is a healthy alternative to meat.
  • Helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Tomatoes

  • Contains vitamins and the antioxidant lycopene.

Walnuts

  • Contains monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E which aids in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Contains omega – 3 fatty acids.
  • Can be munched single, or with some fruit, can be sprinkled on warm oatmeal with honey and berries as a healthy breakfast option.

Red Wine

  • Contains polyphenols good for the heart that impart antioxidant effect by increasing good cholesterol and reducing the negative effects of the activity of blood platelets.

Berries

  • Rich in antioxidants that reduce risk factors associated with heart disease.

Dark Chocolate

  • Rich in flavonoids that act as antioxidants.
  • Associated with minimal risk of development of calcified plaque in arteries and coronary heart disease.

Seeds

  • Improves risk factors related to the heart like inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Pomegranate

  • Prevents damage to artery walls.
  • Improves blood flow to the heart and reduces blood pressure.

Recommended Diet for a Healthy Heart by Dietitian

  • Limit your portion size.
  • Increase fruits and vegetables in the diet.
  • Avoid unhealthy fats.
  • Select foods low in fat but high in protein.
  • Include whole grains in your diet.
  • Consume low sodium foods.

Diet That Should Be Restricted

  • Baked goods – like cakes, muffins, cookies as these contain high sugar that will lead to weight gain. These result in an increase in triglyceride levels which lead to heart risk.
  • Red Meat – These are high in saturated fats which raises cholesterol and heart-related diseases.
  • Processed Meats – like sausages, bacon, hot dog. These are rich in saturated fats and salt.
  • Pizza – They are rich in fat, calories, and sodium all lead to heart risks.
  • Alcohol – If consumed in high amounts it may lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, and strokes.
  • Soda – It may damage the heart which leads to heart diseases. They can also lead to weight gain due to high sugar content.
  • Rice, Pasta, White Bread – All these contain refined grains which get converted to sugar which gets stored in the body as unwanted fat. These can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
  • High sugar, salt, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates.

Conclusion

  • There is a direct link between heart disease and the food we consume.
  • Foods good for the heart aids in reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammation.
  • So, it is necessary to have a well-balanced diet to keep your heart healthy and in good shape away from heart disease.

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