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What to Eat for a Healthy Heart?
What we eat actually goes a long way in determining our cardio-vascular health in the long run. While we are well aware of what we shouldn’t be eating, it surely helps to be aware about foods that protect the health of our heart and make us more resistant to heart diseases.
So how do you single out heart-friendly foods from the infinite options? Here’s a quick and easy guide for general reference. Heart-friendly foods include:
Low in saturated fats: Red meat, butter, margarine, animal fats, mayonnaise and palm oil are the most commonly consumed sources of saturated fats. These fats raise the “bad cholesterol" in the blood stream and predispose you to heart attacks and strokes. Olive oil and other refined oils like soya bean oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil and canola oil are better choices.
Low in sodium: High amounts of sodium (salt) in the diet can cause fluctuation in the blood pressure which is not good for the cardio-vascular system.
Low in calories: Over-weight and obese people are at a higher risk for developing cardio-vascular disease. Too much body weight stresses out the heart as it has to put in extra effort to get the blood circulating. Individuals with a higher percentage of adipose tissue around the torso (surrounding the vital organs) have more reason to worry.
High in fiber: Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that protect the heart from untimely damage. The fiber content helps in keeping cholesterol levels in check and improves digestive function. Oats and whole-grain cereals are also a good source of fiber and micronutrients.
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Seafood: Oceanic fish like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that protect the body against cardio-vascular diseases. If seafood does not go down well for you or if you're a vegetarian, get your omega-3s from almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and flaxseed.
Protein: Protein derived from seafood is known to have a protective action on cardio-vascular health. For vegetarians, soya, tofu and kidney beans are healthy sources of protein.
Berries: Blueberries, cranberries and strawberries are very rich in anthocyanins, lutein and other flavonoids that exhibit potent antioxidant action.
Red Wine: Red wine (in moderate quantities) can give you a healthier heart. The catechins and reservatrol present in wine prevent oxidative damage and premature degeneration of cardio-vascular tissue.
Dark, bitter chocolate: This is one health food that no one would complain about. Dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa) contains a high amount of flavonoids.
Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B-complex, A, C and E prevent the formation of clots and protect against arthrosclerosis. Include all kinds of fruits, veggies, greens, brown rice and nuts in your daily diet. Dietary supplements are also a good option.
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