According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease—including heart attacks and strokes—was the leading cause of death for Americans in 2016. Heart problems can sometimes be prevented through regular exercise and an active lifestyle, but there are also a few superfoods that can be beneficial to heart health.
Fruits and Veggies
Most healthy eating lists start with fresh fruits and veggies, although even frozen, dried, and low-sodium canned versions offer nutrients that are good for the heart. Berries are packed with antioxidants that may help decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels, according to Health.com. Additional fruits and veggies to consider include leafy greens, apples, tomatoes, carrots, and more. Note that citrus juices contain added sugar, and grapefruit may interact with certain heart and cholesterol drugs, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Protein is a triple threat when it comes to a healthy body, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. In addition to helping to prevent heart disease, it also helps build muscle and improve mental agility. High-protein foods like fish, lean beef and poultry, beans, eggs, and nuts are crucial to heart health.
Fats and Oils
Not all fats are bad. Trans and saturated fat should be avoided or limited, respectively, but unsaturated fats can lower cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, seeds, and seafood are great options, while coconut oil, palm oils, and butter with trans or saturated fat should be avoided.
In addition to the superfoods mentioned above, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion provides a few additional recommendations for a heart-healthy diet. This includes replacing high-fat dairy products like cream and butter with low-fat or fat-free options and avoiding things like pizza and sweets. It also includes increasing fiber intake and cutting back on sodium, often found in canned soup, snacks, and pre-packaged meals.
Remember, no diet plan should be started without first consulting your heart doctor. Maintaining a healthy heart is crucial for a long, active life, and Marion Physician Associates P.A. can help you get back on track. Call us today at (352) 732-3005 to schedule an appointment, then visit the Marion Heart Center to receive the quality care you need.