Your good health is 70% nutrition so find out the best diets and foods to consume to maintain a healthy heart.
While it’s vital to lead an active lifestyle, exercise, and give up unhealthy choices like smoking, your diet plays a massive role in the health of your heart.
Following a heart healthy diet plan will reduce your risks of suffering from high cholesterol, inflammation, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and other cardiovascular issues.
Even if you already suffer from heart disease, including the best foods for heart health in your diet will make it easier to manage your symptoms and live a better quality of life.
Your good health is 70% nutrition so find out the best diets and foods to consume to maintain a healthy heart. #hearthealth #americanheartassociation #healthyheartTweet
Heart Healthy Diet Plans
If you’re keen on improving your heart health, following a heart healthy diet plan is helpful. It will help you make better food choices and guide you in the right direction. It’s important to remember that not all diet or weight loss plans are healthy.
Restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups can be counterproductive because while you may lose weight which is good for your heart, you will likely be missing out on essential nutrients found in foods you’ve cut out of your diet.
For this reason, it’s best to take a balanced approach that includes all food groups and the right supplements to meet all your nutritional needs.
Some of the best diet plans for a healthy heart are:
The Mediterranean diet is based on the foods and eating patterns of people who live near the Mediterranean sea, in places like Greece, Spain, France, Italy, and Cyprus.
Mediterranean diets are typically made up of nutrient-dense, fresh whole foods and are more plant-based. Typical foods in a Mediterranean diet include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and healthy oils like olive oil. You can eat dairy products like yogurt, milk, poultry, and eggs, but in moderation. This diet allows for a glass of red wine every day because it has heart health benefits.
Processed foods, red meat, processed meat, sugar, sweets, and simple carbs like bread and baked goods have little room in a Mediterranean diet.
Apart from the food staples of this region, you should also be inspired by how they eat. Food is usually enjoyed slowly, and meal times bring family and friends together, sharing healthy meals around a table rather than grabbing food on the go and wolfing it down in a rush.
Eating slowly gives you time to digest the food, and you’re less likely to overeat.
The DASH diet, or a dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, was specifically developed to improve heart health by controlling blood pressure. This diet limits the amount of sodium you consume and is similar to the Mediterranean diet in that it’s not restrictive and does not eliminate food groups.
Instead, it allows all food groups but guides the amount of each of them you should consume.
Following the DASH diet means that your meals should include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meat, poultry, fish, and grains. You can occasionally eat red meat, refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods.
It’s one of the best diets for heart health as it lowers the blood pressure of people suffering from hypertension and reduces the risk of heart failure.
There are many health benefits to veganism which is why it’s growing in popularity. Following a completely vegan diet means eliminating all animal products from your diet, including dairy and eggs.
A vegan diet is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and fiber and low in fat which is good for the heart, but not all vegan food is equal. Many vegans opt for convenience foods as these are easy to prepare but not always the healthiest options.
The best vegan diets for heart health focus on whole foods that are minimally processed, so choose fresh fruits and vegetables, soy, legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds rather than those that are canned or processed since these food are typically high in sodium.
If you’re considering a vegan diet but are reluctant because of the amount of time it may take to prepare these foods, you don’t have to cook your meals yourself.
You can use a healthy food delivery service. It’s a convenient option for folks who want healthy meals but don’t have the time or energy to cook.
Best Foods for Heart Health
While following a heart healthy diet plan is an excellent step to improving the health of your heart, it’s also helpful to know what the best foods for heart health are so that you can include more of them into your diet. If you’re looking to eat more heart healthy foods, add some of the following to your shopping list:
Olive oil is a fantastic, versatile oil that can be used for cooking or as a spread, dressing, or condiment. It contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation and can protect your blood vessels. Use it instead of butter on bread or drizzle it over salads instead of fatty salad dressings. The most flavorful olive oil is cold pressed or extra virgin, which means the oil is made without heat and retains a higher percentage of nutrients. Regular olive oil is usually made with heat and, while still healthier than other oils, does not retain the same amount of nutrients.
While olive oil is delicious on its own, you can infuse it with other herbs or spices. It adds interest to your meals. It’s very easy to do. Chop the herbs or spices you like, add them to a bottle, and then top them with olive oil. Seal the bottle and leave it to infuse for a few days. Popular options are garlic, chili, rosemary, and oregano.
Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly good for the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
You should try to eat fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna once or twice a week. The way you prepare it is the key. Instead of deep frying the fish in oil, opt for grilling, steaming, or baking it. Also serve it with a portion of vegetables.
Collard greens, spinach, kale, and other leafy green vegetables contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These green veggies are also high in vitamin K, particularly good for your heart as they protect the arteries and aid in blood clotting correctly. They also contain dietary nitrates that may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness and lower heart disease risk.
Many people don’t eat a lot of leafy greens because the assumption is that they can only be eaten in salads, and this can get boring. However, it’s far from true!
The trick is to get creative and look for other ways to incorporate these superfoods into your diet.
Add them to soups, smoothies, stews, and wraps. Blend them into sauces like a marinara sauce to top your pasta, or use them to make a healthy pesto.
What are your favorite foods for a healthy heart?
- Bhf: Healthy Eating
- Healthline: The 6 Best Diets for Heart Health
- Mayoclinic: Heart-Healthy Diet: 8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease
- Webmed: 21 Foods That Can Save Your Heart
- Forbes: Best Diets for Hearth Health of 2022, According to Experts
- Everydayhealth: What Is the Mediterranean Diet? A Detailed Beginner’s Guide
- Healthline: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to the DASH Diet