Sunday, February 16, 2014

Matters of the heart: 5 foods to AVOID and 5 others to ADD to your diet

by Dave Roberts
The heart is a delicate organ. If it slowly breaks down, it won’t give you a clue that it’s not functioning at its best until you suffer a myocardial infarction. Take care of your cardiovascular health. 

Good and Bad Foods for your Heart

Myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack, results from the blockage in blood flow to the heart causing heart cells to fail due to loss of oxygen. There are numerous causes, such as sodium and saturated fats and diets high in calories. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, including well-loved Sopranos actor James Gandolfini. To stay healthy, both your diet and your heart must complement each other. There is no magic food to reduce the risk of developing heart attack but swapping out five bad habits for five good ones will greatly reduce your risk of heart attack.
Foods with high sodium content can increase blood pressure as well as the risk of stroke and heart attack. Many people consume more than the amount of salt they require. There is proof that plant foods particularly nuts, wholegrain cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease. Below are a list of primary foods that are good and bad for your heart.

5 Good Foods for your Heart

Bananas: One banana a day delivers 600mg of potassium, which decreases blood pressure. Eat your heart-friendly banana dose by slicing onto a morning cereal, baking into bread or blending into a smoothie. You can substitute bananas with other high potassium fruits like citrus or cantaloupe for variety.
Soy protein: Rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, soy protein is a great alternative for red meat. Also, it is higher in fiber and lower in fat than most meat choices. In individuals with high cholesterol, researches show that soy protein, when eaten with a healthy low-fat diet, lowers cholesterol.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal helps to lower cholesterol significantly by binding molecules required to form cholesterol and escorting them out of the bloodstream. It also offers a lot of B vitamins and fibre. You can find oats in various products so it’s not hard to begin including oats into your diet. Spice up oatmeal routine by adding nuts, raisins, dried fruit, cinnamon or apples.
Leafy Greens: Consume kale, spinach, Swiss chard, purslane, cress, or mache for a healthy heart. Good sources of antioxidants and calcium, greens help prevent the accumulation of arterial plaque by lowering inflammation. Leafy greens are also an excellent source of plant based omega-3 fatty acids.
Teas: Tea contains antioxidants that help protect your arteries from injuries and lower blood pressure levels. Drinking at least two cups of tea every day can lower the risks of heart attack and stroke by 40 percent, and might decrease recovery time for those that have had myocardial infarction. Drinking tea daily can also help you shed some weight.

5 Bad Foods for your Heart

Sugar: Avoid diets that are heavy on sugar. Excessive amounts can cause diabetes, which in turn can cause heart disease. You should keep sugary snacks and foods to an absolute minimum. Avoid adding sugar to drinks and meals, and search for healthy sugar substitutes.
Saturated and trans fats: It’s vital to limit fat intake, but particularly saturated and trans fats. These kinds of fat cause “bad” cholesterol in the body to rise and the arteries to become blocked, which leads to heart diseases. Specific foods to evade are palm oil, coconut oil, whole milk, red meat, poultry skin, fried food, margarine, as well as processed breads and snacks.
Foods with high sodium content: A lot of sodium raises blood pressure, which in turn adds more stress on the heart. Food that is high in sodium, particularly salt (sodium chloride) that’s typically added to food unlike sodium inherent in foods, may cause blood pressure to elevate, increasing the risk for stroke or heart attack.
Animal byproducts: Most dairy products are high in fat and ought to be consumed minimally. Foods to avoid include whole milk, cheese, cream, and butter. With any type of diet decision, you should be realistic. Adding one tablespoon of cream to your cup of coffee isn’t a bad decision, but you should avoid a daily coffee drink that’s half cream and half espresso.
Processed meats: Processed meats are those that are preserved using nitrites, salts, or other preservatives. Studies have found that the worst kinds of meats for your heart are processed meat. They comprise sausage, bacon, salami, hot dogs, and other deli meats, including turkey, deli ham, chicken and bologna. It is likely that the high levels of preservatives are part of the problem.
The heart is a delicate organ. If it slowly breaks down, it won’t give you a clue that it’s not functioning at its best until you suffer a myocardial infarction. Take care of your cardiovascular health. Be familiar with the best foods for a healthy heart.
Read this article in Epyk

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