Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide and affects millions of people each year.
While genetics and other factors do play a role in the development of heart disease, research has clearly shown that adopting healthy eating habits can significantly impact heart health. For those who have already experienced a heart event, such as a heart attack or stroke, maintaining a heart-healthy diet is a crucial step in reducing the risk of future events and promoting overall health. In this Hope For Hearts blog we explore the importance of healthy eating habits in limiting heart disease risk and maintaining heart health after an event. 1
One of the key factors in maintaining heart health is through a balanced and nutritious diet. A balanced diet refers to consuming a variety of foods that provide the body with the necessary nutrients in appropriate quantities. A varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats has been shown to have numerous benefits for heart health. 2
1. Fruits and vegetables
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have been linked to reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and a lower risk of heart disease.
2. Whole Grains
Grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread are a great source of fiber proven to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Sources like fish, poultry, and legumes provide essential amino acids without the excess saturated fat found in red meat. These amino acids are used to restore bone and muscle.
4. Healthy Fats
Can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Found in nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
Incorporating these food groups into meals and snacks can help maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease. 3
While eating a balanced and nutritious diet is an essential step towards heart health, it is equally important to avoid certain foods that can increase the risk of heart disease. Limit your consumption or avoid these types of foods all together and opt for heart-healthy alternatives instead.
- Excess saturated/trans fats: Fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and processed foods, can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise the risk of heart disease.
- Excess sodium: Too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. Avoid foods such as processed snacks, canned foods, and fast food to limit your sodium intake.
- Excess added sugars: Soda, candy, and baked goods can contribute to obesity and other risk factors for heart disease with their high levels.
It is important to limit these types of foods and instead focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods to maintain a healthy heart.
Here are three recipes you can try that not only taste great but also promote heart health.
This recipe features chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. It’s a great source of lean protein and incorporates nutrient-dense spinach for added health benefits.
This simple salad is made up of chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese, all tossed in a lemon and olive oil dressing. It’s a great option for a light and refreshing lunch or side dish.
Looking for a simple and flavourful way to incorporate more fish into your diet for heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids? Try this recipe of cod fillets baked with cherry tomatoes, olives, and herbs.
Maintaining a balanced diet is critically important for heart health, particularly after experiencing a heart event or as a means of reducing the risk of developing heart disease. Inflammation can be reduced, cholesterol levels can be lowered, and a healthy weight can be maintained with a balanced diet that contains a range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.
However, consuming foods high in sodium, added sugars, and saturated and trans fats can exacerbate pre-existing heart issues. Heart health and general wellbeing can be considerably enhanced by making healthy choices and opting for nutritious alternatives.
Disclaimer: This information is general and not conclusive. Follow any guidelines and advice from your doctor or specialist, health care, or multidisciplinary team, for your personalised patient-centred needs and care. Inquire about a patient advocate group regarding your specific needs. Call 000 if you are experiencing chest pain.
To find a GP or a Cardiologist near you, visit www.hopeforhearts.com.au
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