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June 20, 2016 | Administration • Cardiology
Did you know that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States? The Heart Foundation reports, “cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined, and while 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.”
In addition to engaging in moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week, adopting a diet like the Mediterranean Diet and maintaining a normal body weight are the keys to lowering your risk for heart disease. Here are ten of the best foods to nourish your heart-healthy lifestyle.
Nuts are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats that help you cut your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. Walnuts are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and loaded with compounds called polyphenols that lower blood cholesterol levels and cool the inflammation linked to cardiovascular disease. Pecans increase the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body and contain more than 19 essential vitamins and minerals.
Harvard University’s 30-year study discovered that regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer, heart disease, or any other health-related cause when compared with people who never ate nuts. Garnish soups and salads with raw or roasted nuts, and toss a container into your purse or briefcase for snacks on the go.
Broccoli florets are bursting with vitamins C and E, calcium, potassium, folate, and fiber. Dip raw broccoli in heart-healthy hummus for a perfect snack, or steam lightly and drizzle with olive oil. Save leftovers for your cold salads.
Red, orange, and yellow veggies such as red peppers, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash are packed with carotenoids, vitamins, and fiber that nourish your heart. How about a beet salad with goat cheese and walnuts for lunch?
Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach pack a powerful punch with potassium, lutein, folate, and fiber. The Physicians’ Health Study found that men who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25 percent, and each additional serving reduced risk by another 17 percent.
Berries are loaded with heart-healthy phytonutrients and polyphenols, the antioxidants that absorb damage-causing free radicals. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries are high in fiber and vitamin C, which is both linked to a lower risk of stroke. Try naturally sweetened balsamic berries for dessert or breakfast.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat that helps lower LDL while raising HDL cholesterol. They have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that combats hardening of the arteries, and they help your body absorb the beta-carotene and lycopene essential for heart health. This shrimp, grapefruit, and avocado salad includes additional heart-friendly ingredients, extra-virgin olive oil, and citrus fruit.
Oatmeal contains a type of fiber called beta-glucan that lowers your LDL cholesterol and keeps your arteries clear, along with omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Choose coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties. Try a bowl of comforting rolled oats simmered in sweet, spice-infused milk one lazy weekend morning.
Beans and legumes are high in soluble fiber, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and other minerals. Kidney, black, and navy beans along with chickpeas and lentils are great choices served hot and cold. Whip up a triple bean salad or a chunky vegetarian chili.
Flaxseeds are loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, and phytoestrogens that boost heart health. Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over your oatmeal, or blend two tablespoons into your morning green smoothie.
Wild salmon and other cold-water fish are rich in antioxidants and omega-3s, and they have an anti-clotting effect that keeps your blood flowing. They also help lower your triglycerides, the fat in your blood that leads to heart disease and reduces blood pressure. The American Heart Association suggests two 3.5 ounce servings a week of salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, or herring to reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third. Here are 28 Salmon Recipes for All Your Roasting, Grilling, and Pan-Searing Needs.
Yes, you can enjoy heart-healthy dark chocolate, as long as it’s at least 70 percent cocoa. The cacao plant is high in antioxidants and flavanols, which can help prevent blood clots and lower your blood pressure. Enjoy a batch of Homemade Melt-In-Your-Mouth Dark Chocolate.
Want more tips on heart health? Revere Health has over 30 providers with decades of experience in general cardiology and interventional cardiology. We are passionate about preventative, patient-centered care. It is our mission to provide comprehensive, quality, and cost-effective cardiovascular treatment.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.