Cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the world. They are caused by a number of factors such as genetic inheritance, age, injuries, sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, adverse environmental conditions, stress and depression, and a number of other reasons.
Owing to the overall significance of the heart to the human body, it is imperative that the organ be kept in the very best working condition at all times. That’s because a heart that is sick interferes with the health and overall robustness of the body, leads to diminished physical activity, and certainly leads to premature death in the long run.
A number of intervention mechanisms may be adopted to help keep the heart healthy and disease-free. These include dieting, curative measures, and lifestyle adjustments.
The discussion below focuses on dieting by identifying and explaining the top 5 healthy diets that can help to protect your heart.
Green tea is a beverage that is made from Camellia sinensis leaves which have not become withered or undergone oxidisation. It is has a pale appearance and is slightly bitter in flavour compared to ordinary tea. It is produced and consumed mainly in China and Japan.
Studies have shown that green tea has the ability to effectively counter some of the main risk factors that cause heart disease. It can lower the total body cholesterol as well as the low density lipoprotein (LDL) both of which tend to block the cardiovascular vessels and inhibit the smooth flow of blood. It also reduces Triglycerides levels which may predispose persons to the risks of coronary artery diseases, especially in women, It facilitates the flow of blood by reason of containing flavonoids that relax the blood vessels and improves the health of the body cells that line the blood vessels. It can also increase the antioxidant capability of the blood, thus protecting the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing, and prevents a range of heart-related issues such as high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Avocados are pear-shaped tropical fruits with rough leathery skins, smooth oily edible flesh, and large seed. They are nutrient-dense fruits that are high in monounsaturated fatty acids.
They protect the heart against diseases and disorders in the following ways: Since they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, they can reduce cholesterol levels, improve the blood lipid profile, and lowers the risks of stroke and other heart diseases. They lower the blood triglycerides levels by up to 20% and in so doing, reduce the risks of coronary artery disease. They also decrease the low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) levels by up to 22%. In general, they are also easy to digest and absorb into the bloodstream besides providing plenty of Vitamin E which boosts the health of the heart and the body as a whole. They do not lead to obesity when consumed in greater quantities on a regular basis.
Nuts are fruits consisting of hard or tough shells around an edible kernel. They are generally culinary versatile, rich in flavour, and aromatic. Common examples of nuts include: almonds, medium cashews, hazelnuts or filberts, medium Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecan halves and English walnut halves.
They do offer certain heart-protective benefits. They are naturally cholesterol-free which means they greatly reduce the risks of coronary heart diseases; are a good source of dietary fibre and proteins which enhance the digestion and absorption of food and in so doing, prevent obesity and high blood pressure; contain a variety of heart disease-fighting vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E (a potent antioxidant), Copper, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Niacin, Potassium, Vitamin B6 and Zinc; contain abundant quantities of the non-essential amino acid arginine which is touted for protecting the inner linings of the arterial walls thereby making them more pliable and less vulnerable to atherogenesis; and are generally a good source of healthy phytochemicals which are biologically active plant chemicals that have high antioxidant properties which are linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease.
These are meals made from ground oats and used in breakfast cereals or other foods. They ordinarily contain the following nutrients: high levels of dietary fiber, Magnesium, Manganese, and Selenium.
Oatmeal when taken regularly help keep the heart healthy by conferring the following benefits: lowering blood LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by reason of containing Beta-glucan; stabilizing blood glucose levels which benefits people living with diabetes; reducing the risks of obesity and heart disease due to the existence of low amounts of saturated fat; lowering high-blood pressure. Type II diabetes, and excess weight; enhancing digestion owing to their high fiber contents; and improving satiety by preventing overeating which may induce high blood pressure levels.
Leafy Vegetables and Fruits
Leafy vegetables and fruits such as turnips, greens broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, salad greens, mustard greens, kales, collard greens, cauliflower, cabbage. Brussels sprouts, and Bok Choy are very healthy for the heart.
They boost the flexibility of the heart rate which makes the heart pump blood much more effectively; combat oxidative stress by ensuring a steady neutralization of the free radicals; contain Magnesium, which may aid with blood pressure controls; are rich in foliate that keep the heart healthy; contain plenty of B vitamins that reduce the risks of heart diseases and stroke; contain plenty of Vitamin K which helps the blood to clot faster in the event of an injury; and have plenty of Calcium which considerably lowers blood pressure.
The sum total of all the possible kinds of foods that may be eaten to guarantee a healthy heart are quite numerous, so much so that, owing to the limitations of space, they could not all be listed and explained. The list of the top 5 healthy diets that help to protect your heart as explained above is therefore by no means exhaustive.
Moreover, dieting alone in and of itself is not sufficient to ensure a healthy heart. Other intervention mechanisms such as weight loss, drinking plenty of water, exercising, quitting smoking and drinking, reduced intake of processed foods, avoidance of stressful situations and reduced intakes of junk foods also ought to be considered and explored alongside dieting.
Sathya Kumar is the Founder & CEO at Techindia Infoway Pvt Ltd., Chennai. Techindia is Asia’s largest provider of healthcare management solutions for exceptional remote healthcare diagnostics.