The Nutrients Your Heart Needs
It’s true. You are what you eat and your heart is what you eat also.
You’ve heard countless health professionals tell you that you need to eat a diet high in vegetables and whole grains. But just what is in that food that makes it good for your heart?
My former diet was high in Chicken Fried Steak and French fries. With a little gravy on the side. What a dietary nightmare. But it was what it was. I would like to believe I have ‘smartened up’ some after knowing first hand what problems a bad diet can cause. I now look at folks and sometimes whisper to my wife…..”there goes a walking heart attack.”
Fiber is the first nutrient that your heart needs. This is found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It works in your blood to decrease your cholesterol. When your cholesterol is lowered, you have less build-up of plaque.
This helps to prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Fiber can also help you to get rid of extra weight because it makes you feel full without giving your body a lot of calories.
Vegetables are high in plant stanols and sterols. These are chemicals that help to lower your risk of heart disease. You get them from dark, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, and citrus fruits.
They’re found in small amounts in just about every plant-based food. You can also buy foods such as margarine that are enriched with stanols and sterols. More and more studies are linking these chemicals to reductions in cholesterol and heart disease.
Unsaturated fats, which are found in vegetable oils, are also heart healthy. They help you to reduce your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase your good cholesterol (HDL). These are fats that are liquid at room temperature such as olive oil and flaxseed oil.
One of the most important kinds of oil you can give your body is fish oil. This is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. People who have a diet high in fish oil have fewer incidences of heart disease.
It helps to decrease your level of cholesterol triglyceride and helps to slow down the build up of plaque on your blood vessel walls. It also can lower your blood pressure in some cases.
It’s a good idea to eat fatty fish at least two times each week. This includes salmon, albacore tuna, and herring. They are the fish that are highest in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, you can take a fish oil supplement. I do and my numers now look great.
Here is a confession from a heart healthy convert: My wife fixed a salmon steak over a bed of lettuce and had some kind of vinegar dressing on it. I was completely fooled. I thought it was a piece of regular grilled beef for a while. The revelation to me was, Yes, you can change your eating habits and it can taste great. Give it a try.
However, before you begin a fish oil supplement, you need to make sure to speak with your physician to make sure you don’t get too much. Making sure to have a diet high in these nutrients combined with regular physical activity can give you what you need for a healthy heart.
Keep reading Heart Attack News and over time, you too can begin to live the heart healthy lifestyle. Look for more news and tips on living a good heart healthy lifestyle from Cardiac Care nurse Karen Gore and journalist David Werst here at Heart Attack News.