Eat Your Way To A Healthy Heart: Can Diet Slash Your Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease?

  • Cardiology
  • cardiovascular - Heart Health
  • April 12, 2024

A heart-healthy diet can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Choosing healthy food and avoiding sugar, sodium, and alcohol can make a big difference.

Food As A Power Tool

D iet can be a powerful weapon in the fight for a healthy heart. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death globally, but making smart food choices can significantly reduce risk. In the US, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Every 33 seconds an individual dies from cardiovascular disease. With such stark statistics in mind, prevention is of the utmost importance. Focusing on a heart-healthy diet can have a significant impact on cardiovascular disease. Making healthy choices today can lead to a long and happy life.


Fueling your heart

Ditch the boring and embrace the power of longevity superstars. For a heart that thrives, focus on a vibrant plate packed with antioxidant champions like blueberries, goji berries and pomegranates. Don’t forget dark leafy greens like kale and collard greens, bursting with vitamins and minerals. Whole grains like quinoa and barley provide sustained energy, while fatty fish like wild salmon and mackerel offer a potent dose of omega-3s, crucial for heart health. Sprinkle in some unexpected heroes like walnuts, rich in alpha-linolenic acid, or flaxseeds, loaded with fiber and lignans for some added texture and benefits. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats. Avocados, with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, are a delicious addition.

Low sodium choices

Sodium may seem harmless but can wreak havoc on heart health. Too much sodium acts like a sponge in the bloodstream, drawing in extra fluid. This extra fluid volume increases blood pressure, forcing the heart to work harder with every beat. Over time, this strain can weaken the heart muscle and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. Adopting a low-sodium diet allows the body to shed excess fluid, lowering blood pressure and reduces heart workload. Consider using other herbs and spices to flavor dishes at home instead of relying on salt.

Skip the sugar

While the occasional sugary treat might be tempting, for those at risk of heart disease, sugar becomes a hidden villain. The culprit? Added sugars lurking in processed foods, sugary drinks and even seemingly healthy snacks. These refined sugars cause blood sugar spikes, which over time can lead to insulin resistance, a major player in heart disease. So, ditch the soda for water, become a label-reading detective to identify sneaky added sugars, and maybe skip that third serving of fruit since fructose is a natural sugar. These swaps will outsmart sugar and protect the heart.

Control portion size

Even with healthy foods on the plate, people must be sure to fill up appropriately. Overeating can lead to consuming more calories than recommended and result in weight gain. To control portion size, select a small bowl or plate at meals. Choose low-calorie and nutrient-rich foods that keep the belly full for longer. If snacking is a must, a sodium and sugar-free option is preferred.

Hydrate frequently

Don’t underestimate the power of water. Staying hydrated is a simple yet crucial step for a healthy heart. Water keeps blood flowing smoothly, reducing strain on the heart from pumping blood throughout the body. Dehydration can thicken your blood, making circulation more difficult and can lead to faster heart rate and increased blood pressure. Drink water throughout the day, especially before meals.

Prevent heart disease with diet

Cardiovascular disease is incredibly common, but with specific dietary changes, health risks can be avoided. Keep portions small and select healthy foods and snacks. Steer clear of sugar and sodium, and avoid alcoholic beverages when possible. Small changes on the plate can add up to a long, heart-healthy life.

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