Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. It includes a wide range of conditions that can negatively affect your heart, including coronary artery disease and heart defects. If blood vessels become narrowed or blocked, it can lead to a stroke or heart attack, and other types of heart disease can cause symptoms such as quickly becoming out of breath while being active.
In some cases, heart disease can be linked to a poor diet and being overweight or obese, as well as a lack of regular activity. By eating a healthy diet, you can reduce your risk of becoming overweight and of having high cholesterol. In addition, some foods contain specific nutrients that can help reduce your heart disease risk.
In this blog, the Bronx medical specialists at Boulevard Medical Care in NY outline some food-related steps you can take to help prevent heart disease:
How can you take steps with your eating to help prevent heart disease?
The American Heart Association recommends that you choose a healthy eating plan that follows these general guidelines:
- Choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fats.
- Limit red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Eat some meatless meals.
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Control your portion size.
- Plan meals ahead of time.
What heart-healthy foods are recommended?
The following foods can play a part in a heart-healthy diet:
- Watermelon – high in fiber and lycopene, which can lower your risk for heart disease. It also contains citrulline, which may improve the health of your blood vessels, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
- Red wine – contains two antioxidants – resveratrol and catechins – that may protect artery walls. It can also boost your levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol). A maximum of one drink a day is recommended for women and two for men, but check with your doctor first.
- Avocados – contains healthy monounsaturated fats and carotenoids, which have been linked to a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. It also is a good source of potassium, which can help control blood pressure.
- Salmon – rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower blood pressure, triglycerides, heart rhythm disorders and inflammation. Two servings a week are recommended.
- Walnuts – rich in monounsaturated fats. Like salmon, walnuts are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. They may also help protect your heart’s arteries from inflammation.
- Beans – loaded with soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and keeps it from being absorbed. Also a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, folate, magnesium, calcium, and B-complex vitamins. Only half a cup a day can help improve your heart health.
- Cherries – rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are thought to help protect your blood vessels. Try sprinkling dried cherries into cereal, salads, or muffin batter, and you can also eat sweet or sour cherries or drink cherry juice.
- Oatmeal – filled with fiber, which helps lower your LDL (“bad” cholesterol). Steel-cut or slow-cooked varieties are best, and they can also be used as a substitute for one-third of the flour if you’re making baked goods.
To find out more ways to protect yourself from heart disease, make an appointment today with Boulevard Medical Care in the Bronx, NY. We have many different types of specialists under one roof – including cardiologists. Call 718-325-9532 or use the form on this page to make an appointment. Our cardiologists are available 6 days a week for your convenience.