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Heart Matters – A Ticker-Friendly Diet

Written by Courteney

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 1:18 am

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 735,000 Americans have heart attacks annually. Moreover, there are a whopping 610,000 cardiac-related fatalities in the Unites States every year. Because of these alarming stats, we decided to start a Heart Matters feature. For our second edition of Heart Matters we will be looking at a more heart-friendly diet for those who have heart disease or are concerned about their risk of developing it.

Dispelling Old “Heart Diet” Myths

The heart-friendly diet of yesteryear centered around avoiding anything containing cholesterol (without taking into account LDL versus HDL) as well as indiscriminately steering clear of fats. Fortunately, we’ve since realized that the focus should be more about choosing well rounded, nutritious foods that contain heart healthy nutrients and good fats as opposed to empty calories and saturated fats. We’ve also since reintroduced the poor, long-forsaken egg back into the picture. While eggs do contain cholesterol, a fine body of research now shows that the benefits eggs offer the heart such as folate, protein, B and D vitamins and riboflavin well outweigh the minimal effect a few eggs a week may have on cholesterol levels.

Reframing Fats

Since medical science is finally starting to refurbish the reputation of ‘good fats’ like omega-3 fatty acids, these dietetic heroes have become the star attractions of today’s heart healthy diet. Anyone looking to strengthen the old ticker should be reaching for a handful of nuts or preparing a serving of fatty fish several times weekly. You can read more about the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids here.

Try These Heart Healthy Diet Tips

Whether you’ve been battling heart disease for most of your life, were recently diagnosed, or are simply concerned about your neutralizing your risk of developing it, there are lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to better your heart. Some key dietary changes include:

  • Up your produce game – routinely ensuring veggies cover half your plate and fruit is on the menu for dessert will help your heart (and your waistline) in the long run.
  • Opt for whole grains – choices like brown rice, quinoa and oats are great because of their low glycemic indexes.
  • Beans, beans, the magical fruit – beans and legumes are packed with protein and can effectively replace some of your meat intake. Red meat in particular can be quite hard on the heart when eaten in excess.
  • Go for calories that pack a punch – cut down on junk foods that provide only empty calories. Instead, focus on nutritious foods that make your body work to metabolize them instead of just storing them as excess fat.
  • Don’t forget those mega omegas – we mentioned it already, but don’t underestimate the value of foods like nuts, seeds (especially flaxseed) and fish for a healthy heart!
  • Go red instead – if you’re in the mood for a drink, reach for a glass of red wine! While the research remains a little divided, much of it suggests the antioxidants and flavonoids red wine contains may aid cardiovascular health.

Well that’s all for our heart healthy diet tips, to read more about tailoring your diet to suit your heart, you can visit the American Heart Association. Thanks for visiting DocChat, check back for more Heart Matters posts in the future!


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