Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. It claims the lives of nearly 850,000 people each year, yet it’s preventable with healthy lifestyle choices. That’s why the American Heart Association put together Life’s Simple 7®, an easy-to-use guide that prescribes seven steps to better heart health. It’s no surprise that a healthy diet tops the list.
At Ross Bridge Medical Center in Hoover, Alabama, we partner with you to help you correct and prevent heart disease, starting with an evaluation of your diet. Here, our medical director, Madhav Devani, MD, offers his ideas about some of the best heart-healthy foods you can choose.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots. Other fish that promote heart health include herring, trout, sardines, mackerel, and albacore tuna.
Almost every diet includes green leafy vegetables for their many health benefits. Foods like kale, collards, and spinach are laden with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the ways they protect heart health include reducing blood pressure and improving the way your arteries function.
Broccoli is a much-touted super food. In addition to improving your heart health, it plays a role in cancer prevention, weight loss, eye health, and detoxification and reduces symptoms of diabetes and autism. Its main benefits for your heart include strengthening blood vessels and reducing inflammation.
Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats and protein. They have a protective benefit for your heart by lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. Research shows that people who eat nuts on a regular basis have fewer heart attacks than people who don’t regularly eat nuts.
Berries are high in antioxidants, which are good for your heart. They help decrease oxidative stress and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Among the best berries for heart health are blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
The fiber and potassium in beans make them protective of heart health. In relation to coronary heart disease, beans improve serum lipid profiles, helping lower bad cholesterol. They can easily push less healthy foods off your plate.
Shallots, leeks, chives, onions, and garlic are members of the allium vegetable family. They’re acclaimed for their organosulfur compounds, which help boost circulation and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Allium vegetables are also linked to a reduction in inflammation. A recent six-year study showed that adults who ate allium vegetables regularly had a 64% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Closely watching what you eat is a key lifestyle choice that helps protect your heart. For help customizing your diet and enhancing your heart health, call Ross Bridge Medical Center or book an appointment online.