Strokes and heart diseases are the major causes of death among Americans. However, to avoid such problems related to the heart, health diets will take you a long way. It is essential to leave bad fat and calorie-laden food behind, if you want to control your blood pressure, blood sugar level, cholesterol level, and body fat. Additionally, your healthy food should be accompanied by some good exercise to strengthen your heart.
What to eat for a healthy heart?
Several super food items should be a part of your heart-healthy diets. Some of these have been listed below.
- Vegetables – Broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and other collard greens
- Fruits – Prunes, grapes, apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries, pomegranates, pears, etc.
- Whole grains – Oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice etc.
- Dairy products – Low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese; good alternatives are soymilk and tofu.
- Oils – Olive, canola, soybean, sunflower, corn, or sesame
- Nuts – Almonds, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds etc.
- Meats – Fish like salmon and trout, skinless chicken, skinless turkey, pork tenderloin, etc.
- Other food products – Dark chocolate, coffee, legumes like beans, peas and lentils, red wine, green tea etc.
Consuming such food will give you essential vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, fiber, and other nutrients. While nutrition supports the health of your heart, it is also essential to avoid some foods.
What not to eat for a healthy heart?
While the above-mentioned foods help in developing heart-healthy diets, you must avoid the following items to protect your heart from diseases and stroke.
- Excessive salt – It can raise your blood pressure because of its high sodium content.
- Excessive sugar and alcohol – Too much of sugar is harmful for your heart. It is also critical to control the quantity of alcohol intake to avoid risks of heart ailments.
- Packaged or processed foods – These foods not only have high salt or sugar content, but also have saturated or bad fats that come from hydrogenated oils used in them.
- Saturated fat-laden foods – Avoid stuff made of refined or white flour and items made of ingredients that are laden with saturated fat.
- While many types of oils may contain saturated fats, these are also present in cookies and baked goods, high-fat dairy products, packaged snacks, margarine, refrigerated dough items, etc.
How to exercise for a healthy heart?
Your heart-healthy food should be supplemented by the right kind of exercise. With regular and adequate exercise, several cardiovascular problems can be avoided. You should go for the following types of exercises to regulate blood pressure and improve blood circulation.
- Aerobics: Go for running or jogging. You may also choose amongst aerobics, dancing, swimming, and hiking.
- Strength training: Use weights or bands to perform strength training while doing it on alternate days to avoid muscle strain.
- Yoga: It increases your lung capacity and decreases inflammation. Yoga is one of the best exercises to strengthen the heart.
- Light workout: If you cannot perform heavy exercises due to some other medical issues, then opt for cycling or stretching. Doing it per your capacity will help you pump up your heart and improve your cardiovascular fitness.