There’s no better time to look at how you can maintain a healthy heart because this has to happen all the time. And the best and most important way to do this is to improve your eating habits and lead a more heart-healthy life.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 17.3 million (source: American Heart Association) lives being claimed due to the disease, every year. However, most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as an unhealthy diet, obesity, physical inactivity, and excessive tobacco and alcohol use. And if addressed correctly, they can lead to a healthy heart.
Banin Shanine, Nutrition Manager at Fitness First, has a few tips to help maintain a healthy heart
- Portion control is the easiest way to change your diet and lead a healthier lifestyle. Excess food on your plate leads to excess calories and eventually to unhealthy weight gain (stored as fat).
- Keep your saturated and trans fats (unhealthy fats) intake to a minimum, e.g. animal fat, dairy, and unhealthy snacks.
- Stay away from simple carbs which tend to contain refined sugar such as candy and soft drinks.
- Also, avoid foods that are high in sodium, as sodium is known for its effect on blood pressure and it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Here is a list of foods which can be consumed to help promote a healthy heart:
- Vegetables and leafy greens
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats) such as fish, plant oils, avocados, nuts and seeds
- Complex carbs that are high in fiber such as vegetables, wholegrain rice and rolled oats – these food items will help with your digestive system and help your body to avoid sugar spikes
- Regular exercise is also important for preventing heart disease – exercise can help make your heart muscle stronger and also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol leading to a healthy heart.