There are many precautions to take in order to keep your heart healthy. Food happens to play a significant role in that matter. The kind of food you put into your body can contribute to the health of your heart in either a positive or a negative way. Following a healthy diet goes a long way in keeping your coronary heart health in check and that’s when the cardiac diet comes into play.
Cardiac diet is a term used to describe the lifestyle followed to avoid heart diseases. It mainly focuses on reducing the food high in fat, sodium or cholesterol and increasing whole foods. Generally, a hearty healthy eating plan includes lots of fresh food and whole grains and less unhealthy fats, additive sugars, and artificial ingredients.
Besides sticking to your cardiac diet by heart, there are also other aspects to look out for in order to ensure having a healthy heart. For example, eating large portions can never be good for your heart, especially highly processed food. Adding whole foods to your daily meals is your first step towards a healthy lifestyle.
Fresh vegetables and fruits should be essential parts of every meal to ensure an overall health improvement. Besides, it is really important to alternate between the kinds of food you consume to ensure delivering the significant nutrients. Yet, we have created for you a great list of the foods you need to add to your daily intake to ensure having a healthy heart.
Foods to Eat or Avoid on A Cardiac Diet for Your Heart Health
There are many foods that you can consume every day to better your heart health. However, there are other ones that can counterattack your plans if you are not aware of what you are putting into your body. Check out this list of the foods your need to add more of them into your diet and others you better avoid. This works as a great shopping list for your cardiac diet plans.
Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables go a long way in sustaining your heart health and helping you live a long healthy life. Many vegetables are rich in essential nutrients that have great benefits for the heart, for being rich in beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A that is great for the heart, and vitamin C.
When the cholesterol is high in the body, it builds up plaque that can block up the arteries and cause atherosclerosis. That is when these vitamins come in handy, working as antioxidants and preventing such toxins from piling up.
Vegetables are essential foods to include in a cardiac diet, so make sure you add lots of them to your daily meal plans, including spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes. All of them are rich in the needed nutrients that strengthen your heart.
Cut Back on Processed Foods
One of the many reasons for heart attacks or strokes is the high consumption of processed foods. They are laden with unhealthy ingredients along with insane levels of sodium, fat, and sugar.. Such ingredients make flavour up the foods’ taste but it takes away all the nutritional value from it, leading to real health damages.
Processed foods are anything ranging from chips, frozen desserts, and muffins to highly processed meats like hot dogs, bacons, salami, pepperoni, and so on. Following a cardiac diet means cutting back on this kind of food. High consumption of these foods can lead to serious detrimental effects on your heart health, so make sure you consume them in moderation if you can’t cut them off altogether.
Reduce Highly Salted Foods
Sodium is one of the greatest enemies to the heart, given the deleterious impacts it has on it. Most fast and junk foods are opposing rivals to the main purpose of a cardiac diet. They are laden with salt, which contributes in raising one’s blood pressure which is a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. High blood pressure takes a great toll on heart health by putting a strain on the blood vessels.
Moreover, highly salted foods can cause water retention which is another factor that contributes to high blood pressure. High sodium is found in most canned foods, frozen meats, and almost all the junk food. Taking them completely out of your diet and adding whole foods instead is your gateway to leading a healthy life.
Increase Your Fruits Intake
Fruits greatly contribute to your overall health and not only your heart health. In fact, fruits should be part of any type of diet and not only a cardiac diet. They are rich in several vitamins, soluble fibres, and phytonutrients, all of which contribute to improving the heart and strengthening its muscles. Besides, many fruits reduce inflammation in the body along with enhancing your hair and skin.
Fruits that offer those great benefits include apples, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Citric fruits are also amazing when it comes to rich vitamins and minerals, so make sure you opt for lots of oranges, lemons, papaya, and cantaloupes. It is always wise to add more of these fruits into your daily routine to enhance your cardiac functions.
Opt for Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Unsaturated fats work on reducing inflammation all over your body, which helps in slimming the chances of heart disease for keeping the blood vessels in a good shape. For that very reason, doctors always recommend including foods rich in omega-3 to benefit your heart health and reap its other benefits as well.
Omega-3 is particularly found in most seafood, including sardine, salmon, anchovies, oysters, tuna, trout, and shrimp. It is pretty essential to add one or more of the food on this list to your meals. Other foods rich in this essential include spinach, eggs, chia seed, and berries. The options are plentiful and they all fit a well-balanced cardiac diet, so you have no excuse not to take care of your heart health.
Go for Plant-based Foods
All foods that come from nature are great for your heart as well as your overall health. While a cardiac diet may not be an official term used, it describes following a healthy lifestyle that is exactly based on plant-based ones. Plant-based foods are basically anything that is out there in nature and doesn’t need any human interference. This includes all kinds of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and beans.
Meats definitely have their own benefits and are essential to increasing your daily protein intake. However, including fewer of them is a great way to slim your chances of getting heart disease. You can opt for meat substitutes like soy, tofu, lentils, quinoa, or pumpkin seeds.
Get More Fibre
Soluble fibres are important for your gut health and improving your digestion process. Fibre-rich food also helps in boosting your metabolism, which leads to feeling more energetic and burning more calories. Among the great benefits that fibre offers is regulating levels of cholesterol, which is great for the health of your heart.
Needless to say, foods laden with fibre should be part of a cardiac diet, for fibre is also responsible for reducing levels of blood pressure. It also improves insulin sensitivity and combining all those benefits together is quite sufficient for giving heart diseases a wide berth. Thus, make sure you include high-fibre foods in your diet, including oats, lentils, avocado, fruits, quinoa, and green vegetables.
Additional Tips for a Healthy Heart
Your heart is the core of our lives. Food definitely plays a tremendous role in your heart health. However, it is not the only way to keep your heart functioning properly and healthily. Your daily habits can say a lot about your cardiovascular health, so make sure you do your best to make your heart live a long healthy life. Here are some simple tips to follow for a healthy heart besides having a balanced cardiac diet:
1. Exercise on a Regular Basis
Following a cardiac diet can help you lose some weight, but staying active is a sure way to maintain your weight and shed the excess pounds when needed. However, you shouldn’t only consider throwing a workout into your schedule when you need to lose weight.
In fact, exercising does more than just burn fat, it is important to keep your heart rate high every once in a while. Exercise should be an essential part of your daily routine to keep your heart health in check. On the other hand, leading a sedentary life can impact your cardiovascular health in the most negative ways.
2. Avoid Unhealthy Fats
Most people fear the consumption of fat even when it has been proven to have some benefits on one’s overall health. However, one thing that people should learn is that fat comes in different forms; there are healthy and unhealthy fats. Saturated fats that come from unprocessed foods can have a detrimental effect on heart health.
Your cardiac diet should be based on the right kind of fats. Make sure you get your fat intake from healthy sources and whole food. This includes vegetables, nuts, and seafood. Such food contains some healthy fats that not only reduce the risk of heart diseases but also strengthen the heart muscles.
3. Control Your Portion Size
Following a balanced cardiac diet goes a long way in sustaining the health of your heart. However, it may not be efficient if you happen to binge on great amounts of food, even if it is of a healthy kind. Large portions contribute to consuming more calories than your body needs and can have negative impacts on your heart health as well.
Controlling your portions helps in weight management, which in turn contributes to reducing the risks of heart disease. It will also make you avoid overeating without realising it, so make sure you stick to proper portions.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking is a self-murder technique that many human beings seem to be fine with. Needless to say, there isn’t a single benefit that you can reap out of smoking, but there are plenty of them that come with quitting. Not only does smoking affect how your lungs function, but it also negatively impacts your heart health.
The effect that smoking has on the heart can be shown in many ways, including unexplained fatigue, shortness of breath, and low energy levels. Basically, you are missing out on all the great benefits you can reap from a cardiac diet if you keep on smoking along with it.
5. Regulate Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels
There is bad and good cholesterol. The reason cholesterol was classified that way is that levels of HCL can slam one’s heart health when it is high for a prolonged period. High levels of cholesterol and blood pressure are another side effect that comes with consuming high levels of saturated fats.
Reducing your consumption of junk food and other calorie-dense foods goes a long way in improving your heart health. On the other hand, not keeping your cholesterol levels and blood pressure in check can lead to fatal cardiovascular diseases.
6. Maintain Your Oral Hygiene
Yes, this may sound odd at first but many studies have actually proven that your dental and oral health contributes to your heart health in different ways. Surprisingly, your heart is related to how different parts of your body function no matter how unrelated it seems.
Studies have proven that poor oral hygiene can lead to the accumulation of some harmful bacteria that can find their way through your system to your heart. Besides, gum diseases can inflame your body, leading to the growth of substances in the blood that can easily affect your heart functions.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is rather a necessity than a privilege that many seem to only have during the weekends. Having a good night’s sleep contributes in improving heart health, which leads to leading a better quality of life. Make sure that you add enough hours of sleep into your daily routine to help keep heart diseases at bay.