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Heart Healthy Foods

Author: Dr. Krystel Quadros - Heart & Circulatory Health  

Here are some of the reasons listed for the causes of various heart diseases.

Consumption of Foods High in Bad Cholesterol

Bad cholesterol is one which is rich in saturated fats and contains trans fat. Sources of trans fat include butter, ghee, margarine, lard, milk solids, etc. Trans fat is found in industrially partially hydrolyzed oils, burgers, pizzas, deep fried foods, etc. They raise the very low-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein levels in the body which may cause excess cholesterol deposition in tissues and various organs leading to obesity and accumulation of excess cholesterol in the coronary arteries forming a plaque. These fats accumulate in the blood vessels of the arteries causing a plaque build-up in the arteries, further leading to thrombosis and embolism of the plaque to other parts of the body and then finally leading to ischemic heart disease causing a lack of oxygen supply to the heart muscles leading to a heart attack. There are pre-symptoms of a heart attack, known as angina which is nothing but a squeezing pain in the chest which may be either stable or unstable angina. Unstable angina is considered a medical emergency.

Smoking

Smoking causes carbon monoxide to destroy the lining of your arteries which may cause plaque and fatty deposits to build-up in your arteries. Hence, do restrict smoking completely to protect the health of your heart. Also, smoking enhances the release of adrenaline which makes your heart pump even faster which increases the blood pressure of your heart. Do maintain a normal blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg. Higher blood pressure increases the chances of various cardiovascular diseases and risk of heart attack.

Alcohol

According to various research studies, avid alcohol drinkers consume high-calorie snacks which lead to an increase in blood pressure leading to various cardiovascular diseases. Do consume foods which are anti-inflammatory and good for your heart. Berries contain polyphenols which help reduce heart disease risk. Consume foods rich in omega three fatty acids and omega six fatty acids which will reduce the free radical stress in your body for example fish, chicken, nuts and oilseeds like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, canola oil, etc. Oats, pear, and apple contain soluble fiber which helps to eliminate the levels of high cholesterol in your heart and use it through bile for the process of digestion.

Uncontrolled Anger

Yes, indeed uncontrolled anger can lead to an increase in blood pressure which may, in turn, cause various cardiovascular diseases. Hence, be calm and relaxed. Practice yoga and meditation and various deep breathing techniques like pranayama if you have a type A personality or if you are highly stressed. Exercise is known to release endorphins or the feel-good hormones which can help you overcome your anger. Try a variety of activities like jogging, swimming, cycling. Cycling or swimming along with a friend also involves many social benefits. Talk to a friend whom you trust and let your feelings completely out to that person. It definitely does help.

Obesity and Type Two Diabetes

Obesity and type two diabetes are major risk factors for heart diseases. Consume foods which contain good fats mentioned above which will raise the high-density lipoprotein levels in the body which help remove the built-up plaque from the coronary arteries. Also, do check your sodium intake and avoid foods which contain high salt. Limit your sodium intake to around 2400 mg per day. Sodium is found in various processed foods like canned foods, ready to eat foods and pickles. Always remember to check the food label of any ready-to-eat food to check for its sodium content, total fat content, saturated fat content, and trans fat. Also, if the total fat is not mentioned on the nutritive label, it may be concealed and written as hydrogenated oils, animal or plant oil, etc. Check for the total number of servings on the package. Sometimes people are misguided as the calories seem less, but they have mentioned it as per one serving, but the package might contain around eight servings. So, if you tend to eat the whole packet, you are over consuming ample amounts of calories.

Hope this article on heart-friendly foods gave you an idea about where you are going wrong and what you need to do to improve your health.

Last reviewed at: 13.Nov.2018

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