What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy? – Although it’s okay to enjoy your favorite treats in moderation, it’s important to make sure you’re eating plenty of heart-healthy foods to keep your circulatory system and heart working at their best. Quickly, before we jump into this blog article – thanks for taking time out of your busy to read this.
And here is a quick list of foods you should really try to avoid eating too much of:
- Fast-food burgers.
- Processed and cured meats.
- Red meat.
- Deep-fried foods.
- Soft drinks (i.e. soda) and sugar-sweetened juices.
- Sugary cereals.
- Cookies and pastries.
- Full-fat milk and other dairy products.
- Organ meats, such as liver.
- Fatty and marbled meats.
- Hot dogs and sausages.
- Fried or breaded meats.
Okay, now take a moment to go cry in the corner. Don’t worry – we’ll wait.
Now let us take a look at heart-healthy foods. Eating fruits and veggies as part of a balanced diet is a smart idea. These foods are full of healthy nutrients that can help protect you against heart attacks, coronary heart disease, and strokes.
Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy By Dr. Joseph Rosado
By eating more of the following 6 foods, you’ll help keep your heart healthy and free of disease.
1 – Whole grains – What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy?
Try out some different grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and farro. If you do opt for pasta or rice, eat more brown rice and whole-grain pasta.
All three parts of whole grains provide the fiber that keeps arteries healthy. Scientists are finding it is not just the bran and fiber, but all the nutrients in whole grain that provide the most benefit.
Including more whole grains in your diet is a great way to get more creative with your meals and experiment with different recipes and ingredients while keeping your heart healthy. But be careful most refined grains contain little or no fiber. Dietary fiber can help you improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and even type 2 diabetes.
Here is a shortlist of intact whole grains to eat most of:
- Whole oats.
- Brown rice.
- Bulgar (cracked wheat)
Here is a shortlist of refined grains – you may want to eat less of:
- White bread, rolls, wraps, and flat breads.
- Crackers or crispbread.
- White rice, pasta, couscous.
- Puffed rice cereals and other low-fibre cereals.
- White flour
- Bagels, pikelets, cakes, biscuits, donuts.
Refined grains are whole grains that are processed and are much less like they are found in nature, such as white bread, pasta, and crackers. They contain fewer nutrients, less fiber, and often contain added sugar, saturated fat, plus sodium too.
So what is a refined grain missing that a whole grain has?
A refined grain only has “endosperm”. The endosperm is the starchy carbohydrate in the middle layer of the grain. It only has some protein versus the whole grain. So let’s talk about the whole grain to better understand the difference.
A grain has the endosperm but it also has the “bran” and “germ” as well. Bran is the fiber-filled out layer with B vitamins and minerals in it. The germ is a nutrient-packed core with B vitamins, vitamin E, phytochemicals, and healthy fats too.
2 – Eat healthier fats – What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy?
Reducing your saturated fat intake and eliminating trans fats from your diet is key to lowering your levels of blood cholesterol as well as reducing your risk of coronary artery disease. High cholesterol levels are dangerous for your heart health since plaque build-up in your arteries can increase the risk of heart attacks and having a stroke.
Okay so here is the big question – what saturated fats should you avoid?
- fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb.
- dark chicken meat and poultry skin.
- high fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
- tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
By limiting how many saturated and trans fats you eat daily is easy if you know which healthy fats to eat instead. Try swapping butter and shortening for olive oil. While it might seem strange at first, it imparts a very pleasant flavor to your food, and it’s easy to cook many recipes with it.
Olives have unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperature, are different from saturated fats because they contain one or more double bonds and fewer hydrogen atoms on their carbon chains. Unsaturated fats come from plants and occur in the following kinds of foods such as olives.
Avocados are a great source of natural fats and are again a great alternative to butter and oils such as coconut and palm. As explained earlier that whole grain is better for you, try eating more nuts and seeds. While they contain a lot of calories, nuts and seeds are full of good fats and omega 3, making them a great snack to eat in moderation without compromising your heart health.
3 – Fruits and vegetables – What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy?
Fruits and vegetables are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories and have a high concentration of fiber, too. Some of these vitamins and minerals are key in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet is also a great way to cut back on calorific snacks like chips and chocolate.
If you live in the United States – surveys show that these are the top ten fresh fruits and vegetables enjoyed by most Americans – maybe you will find a few you like too:
Buy plenty of different varieties to make sure your meals are interesting and different each time. Make sure that you are eating fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t contain hidden added sugars. Avoid canned fruits that are covered in syrup, as well as canned vegetables that generally contain too much salt.
4 – Wine – What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy?
If you do enjoy an occasional glass of wine, your choice of wine can be a smart choice for your heart health. Drinking red wine in moderation is a good option too.
A glass of red wine is thought to be the most heart-healthy alcoholic beverage. It contains two antioxidants, resveratrol, and catechins, that can help to protect artery walls. Red wine also boosts good cholesterol.
While red wine is the most heart-healthy option, remember to always enjoy it in moderation. Drinking too much wine can harm your heart—in order to receive the heart health benefits of red wine, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men. For reference, one drink is equal to five ounces.
5 – Low-fat protein – What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy?
Protein is an essential component of any balanced diet. While it’s easy to think that all protein is healthy and necessary, it’s important to be aware of what types of protein you should avoid and which are heart-healthy.
The best kinds of low-fat protein sources are fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy, and eggs. Fish, in particular, is a great source of protein due to the richness of omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower blood fats. Chicken and turkey breasts are other good sources of lean protein.
When choosing dairy products, always go for the lower-fat options such as reduced-fat milk or low-fat yogurt.
Lower your intake of red meat since it contains a lot of cholesterol and saturated fats. To increase your intake of cholesterol-free protein, opt for more legumes like lentils.
A black bean burger is an excellent choice instead of traditional meat burgers. They are cholesterol-free and packed full of antioxidants and magnesium which can help lower blood pressure. As a great source of fiber, this can help manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
6 – Herbs and spices – What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy?
When making your diet more heart-healthy, it’s important to avoid too much salt. Consuming too much sodium can increase your blood pressure which also raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. While salt might seem necessary to make food more interesting and flavorful, there are other healthier alternatives.
Here is a shortlist of the herbs and spices which are really good for your heart:
Try cooking with more herbs and spices and try out new flavors. Take care to ensure that there isn’t any additional salt added into the spice blend. Condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise are also full of salt and should be limited.
Always try to buy reduced-salt condiments or eliminate them from your diet entirely. Cooking from scratch is always the best way to ensure that food doesn’t have too much-added salt.
Thanks for reading this article titled: What are some foods that can keep your heart healthy? by Doctor Joseph Rosado.
If you have any questions about your heart or heart disease, please contact his offices. I hope this article helped you learn a little more about Dr. Joseph Rosado and shared the answers with you. If you want to learn more about this schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosado or purchase his book on Amazon.