We have just had the month of love, so this article I thought I would focus on the heart, and specifically what you can do with your food choices to have a healthier heart.
Food has the potential to make us healthier and the potential to make us sicker. With so much information out there it is often difficult to decipher what is good and what is bad, bombarded by so much conflicting advice we often give up and just carry on as we have always done.
In this article I will show you which foods are good for the health of your heart and which foods we should avoid or reduce. With all conditions, the approach should be not to eat strictly or act differently for a specific problem, but to eat right and act right for a healthy and happy human being.
As humans we are designed to eat a certain diet, eating foods that are not natural to us puts great strain on our bodies and can lead to disease, not least stress upon the heart and ultimately heart disease.
Here are my top 3 foods to avoid in order to maintain a healthy heart:
- Sugar – high sugar in the blood can scar the artery walls making it easier for fatty deposits to take hold and clog the artery.
- Caffeine – high doses of caffeine can increase the heart rate unnecessarily and put exaggerated stress upon the heart.
- Fried food – while fats are good for us, when fried, fats undergo a ‘flipping’ process that changes their chemical structure, becoming Trans-fatty acids. These are dangerous to the body and the heart.
And here are my top 5 foods to enjoy to maintain a healthy heart and thrive:
- Green Tea – Catechins found in green tea have been shown to reduce the formation of plaques within arteries and therefore are great for preventing heart disease.
- Leafy Greens (spinach, kale) – these have a high nitrate content that helps with the formation of Nitric Oxide, this is a vasodilator that opens the blood vessels and aids blood flow.
- Garlic – contains powerful antioxidants that reduce the free radicals in your body. Free radicals will accelerate aging and put increase stress upon your heart.
- Dark berries – contain polyphenols which help protect the blood vessel walls and reduce free radicals therefore helping to reduce heart disease.
- Omega 3 fats – found in fish and game meat reduce inflammation in the body and help to build the cell walls therefore protecting against heart disease.
Bonus no.6. For pregnant women – vitamin B9 found in leafy green plant food has been shown to protect against congenital heart defects.
Making simple changes to your diet can have a profound long-term effect on your health. But remember these changes will not happen overnight and the dietary changes need to be sustained over the long term to see benefits!