Let's eat our 'hearts' out

Let's eat our 'hearts' out

What is the key to a healthy and happy heart? Well, a nutritious and heart-friendly diet of course! With cardiovascular disorders being the leading cause of deaths in the country, it is about time we make smart lifestyle choices.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with the inclusion of lean proteins is ideal for the most vital organ in our body. Let’s take a look at 10 foods that will keep your heart beating:

Oatmeal: Oats is high in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol. It acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol, so that it gets eliminated from the body and is not absorbed into the bloodstream.

Salmon: Oily fish are a good source of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon has the highest concentration omega-3s, but tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring and anchovies are also a good source.

Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are excellent sources of protein without a lot of unhealthy fat. People who consume legumes at least four times a week have a 22% lower risk of heart disease compared to those who consume them once a week

Citrus fruits: Women, who consume high amounts of the flavonoids found in oranges and grapefruits, have 19% lower risk of developing ischemic heart diseases (caused by a clot), than women who don’t get enough of these compounds.

Soy: Tofu and soy milk are the best way to include protein in your diet, without unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Soy products contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. What’s more, soy may reduce blood pressure in people who consume meals that are high in refined carbohydrates.

Potatoes: There’s no reason to shun potatoes because they’re white and look like “bad” starch. Potatoes, as long as they’re not deep fried, are good for your heart. They’re rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. And they’re high in fibre, which can lower the risk for heart disease.

Tomatoes: This fruit/vegetable is a good source of lycopene, which is a carotenoid that helps get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keeps blood vessels open, and lowers the risk of heart attacks.

Mighty greens: When it comes to your diet, you can’t really ignore leafy vegetables. Broccoli, spinach and kale are your heart’s best friend. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds.

Red wine: Red wine, or small amounts of any type of alcohol, are proven to lower the risk of heart ailments. A polyphenol called resveratrol found in red wine makes the beverage heart-friendly. You can also get a dose of resveratrol from non-alcoholic sources, like natural peanut butter and grapes.

Avocado: This soft, buttery fruit contains monounsaturated fats that lower the risk of heart disease. They’re also high in antioxidants and potassium.

Olive oil: This again is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olives, both green and black, are another source of “good” fat.


(The author is a senior consultant, Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Aakash Healthcare)

 

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