An unhealthy diet is one of the major causes of death worldwide. Globally, one in five deaths is associated with a poor diet. Many of us don’t recognize that an unhealthy diet is a leading cause of disability. On the other hand, consuming a healthy diet helps prevent malnutrition, leading to a more healthy and enjoyable life.
Our heart is a finely-tuned organ that serves the whole body. It supplies our entire body with blood, beating at around 100,000 times per day. Keeping it healthy is one key to keeping our health at its optimal state.
Below are some nutrients that are needed to keep our heart healthy:
A high fiber diet may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein. Experts found that consumption of foods rich in fiber may also reduce blood pressure and inflammation. Good sources of fiber include beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (1).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
They are a heart health powerhouse. They reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage our blood vessels and lead to heart disease and strokes. Some of the numerous heart health benefits tied in omega-3s include reduction of blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure, raising of “good” HDL cholesterol levels, reduction of triglycerides, usually in the range of 15–30%, keeping our arteries smooth and free from damage, and keeping blood
platelets from clumping together (2).
Some of its good sources are tuna, salmon, and other fatty fish, seeds, nuts, and kale.
Potassium is a mineral that plays an essential role in the functioning of our hearts. Though it will not treat or prevent heart diseases, having enough levels of potassium in the body can help our heart in many ways. It can lower down cholesterol levels, help regulate heartbeat, and help cut systolic blood pressure by more than 10 points in people with high blood pressure (3).
For these benefits, we need to consume more bananas, tomatoes, avocados, prunes, spinach, beans, and peas.
Folate is commonly known as vitamin B-9 and is abundant in leafy greens. Researchers say a daily dose of folic acid could reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke by about 20%. It works by effectively lowering levels of an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine. Strong evidence showed that elevated homocysteine levels do indeed increase the risk of heart disease (4).
Consume foods rich in folate such as citrus fruit, dark leafy green vegetables, grains, and beans.
Other tips to lower down our risk of heart diseases.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get regular exercise.
- Manage stress
- Get enough sleep
- Manage diabetes
- Limit alcohol.
- Don’t smoke