Eating. Let’s face it; we all love to do it. Not just because we have to for survival, but simply because food is good! The real question is: when we eat, are we really paying attention to how the food that we love will affect our heart? I know that when I was younger I never gave it one thought, but the older I get I am realizing how my diet truly affects my health – especially my heart.
Approximately 600,000 people die each year from heart disease. That is 1 in 4 deaths. I don’t know about you but those numbers are pretty scary and definitely something that we can manage. The top three risk factors for heart disease are high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking, and 49% of Americans fall under at least one of the three categories.
How Can We Beat the Odds?
One of the quickest and easiest ways to act in the fight against heart disease is to change your diet. You can do this by simply incorporating more fruits and vegetables because they are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You also want to stay away from foods that are high in salt, calories, fat and cholesterol. Some of the best foods for your heart include:
1. Yogurt – helps protect against gum disease, which left unchecked, could increase the risk of heart disease
2. Whole grains – studies link high-fiber diets with a lower risk of heart disease
3. Nuts – choose nuts such as walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts which are higher in heart-healthy nutrients
4. Salmon/fish – omega-3 fatty acids pack a mean punch against heart disease. Studies recommend one or more servings of fish per week.
5. Dark chocolate – eating moderate amounts may boost the immune system by reducing inflammation.
6. Beans – full of soluble fiber and flavonoids, the Journal of Nutrition suggests eating beans regularly provides heart-healthy benefits
7. Tomatoes – Research suggests the combination of vitamins and minerals in tomatoes such as lycopene, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Cardiologist Dr. Linus Wodi encourages the community to practice good habits by providing heart-healthy recipes through his regular “Cooking With the Cardiologist” segments. To find out about the next segment or to schedule an appointment to discuss your heart health, call (407) 303 -DOCS.