Published on June 29, 2022 by AliveCor India

Eat Right For Your Heart: Nutrition and Heart Health

In India, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. Although there is no single cause of heart disease, an unhealthy diet can be one of the risk factors. One of the most important preventative measures you can take is to pay attention to what you eat and consume a variety of healthy foods from the five food groups.

There are numerous factors that can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Although some of these cannot be changed, the good news is that you have control over many risk factors. For example, being physically active, having good social support, and not smoking reduces your risk of heart disease.

What to Eat: Essential Foods for Better Heart Health

Although there is no single “magic” food that can reduce our risk of developing heart disease, there is some evidence that certain foods are beneficial to heart health. These are some examples:

Oily Fish – It contains omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon. This type of fat has been shown to lower triglyceride levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels, improve blood vessel elasticity, and thin the blood, making it less likely to clot and block blood flow.

Fruits and vegetables – Fibre, potassium, and other micronutrients (such as antioxidants) found in fruits and vegetables help to prevent heart disease. They are also high in folate, which helps lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Wholegrains – A diet high in fibre from wholegrain cereals has been linked to lower LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. Foods high in soluble fibre (such as oats, legumes, and barley) are excellent for lowering total cholesterol levels.

Legumes, Nuts, Seeds - Plant proteins, fibre, healthy fats, and micronutrients found in legumes, nuts, and seeds can help lower your cardiovascular risk.

Tea – According to some research, antioxidants found in tea can help prevent the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. They may also act as an anticoagulant and improve blood vessel dilation, allowing for increased blood flow.

Vitamin E-rich foods – Some research suggests that vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect against LDL cholesterol. Avocados, dark green vegetables, vegetable oils, and whole grain products are all good sources of vitamin E. Consume vitamin E-rich foods rather than supplements, which have not been shown to have the same protective effects.

Garlic – Allicin, a compound found in fresh garlic, has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, lowering the risk of heart disease.

What to Avoid Eating for Better Heart Health

To reduce your risk of developing heart disease, try the following steps:

• Limit your intake of fried fast food and processed foods.

• Eat more vegetables, fruits, and wholegrain cereals to increase the amount and variety of plant foods in your diet.

• Limit raw red meat (beef, veal, mutton, lamb, pork, kangaroo, rabbit, and other game meats) to 350 g (cooked weight) per week and avoid processed meat (such as sausages, ham, salami and prosciutto).

• Remove all visible fat from the meat and the skin from the poultry.

• Consume legumes on a regular basis, such as baked beans (with less salt), soybeans, lentils, and tofu.

• Reduce your salt intake by avoiding packaged and processed foods and limiting your intake of fast foods and salty foods. For flavour, herbs and spices can be used in place of salt at the table and in cooking.

• On most days of the week, snack on a handful of raw, unsalted nuts (especially walnuts and almonds).

• Consume oily fish at least once a week.

• If you have high cholesterol, limit yourself to 7 eggs per week and switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products.

• If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than two standard drinks per day. High alcohol consumption raises blood pressure and can raise triglycerides.

• Examine the sodium content of foods and select the lowest sodium options.

• Reduce your salt intake by avoiding packaged and processed foods and limiting your intake of fast foods and salty foods. For flavour, herbs and spices can be used in place of salt at the table and in cooking.

• These are the basic steps you can follow and make your heart healthy but if you have some serious concerns and your family has a history you need to be more aware of your heart health. You can easily monitor your cardiac health.

ECG Monitor at home

Apart from maintaining a good diet and exercising everyday, you need to track your heart health regularly. Portable ECG device, KardiaMobile 6L is the world's first and only US FDA cleared 6 lead personal ECG to detect arrhythmias in just 30 seconds. The ECG device uses AI technology to detect arrhythmias like Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, and Tachycardia anywhere, anytime.

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