Cardiologists List Of Foods To Eat To Stay Heart Healthy
Maintaining a healthy heart requires more than just exercising a few times a week. It also means incorporating foods that are good for your heart into your daily diet. So, how do you know what foods are heart-healthy?
Well, you don’t need to be a nutritionist to know that cheeseburgers, donuts, and French fries are not good for your heart, says Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, a board-certified cardiologist and founder of the Preventative Cardiology Clinic near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Dr. Klodas says she avoids eating certain foods in excess, such as:
Bread and baked goods Both foods have high amounts of sodium.
Margarine It’s high in saturated fats that can raise your cholesterol.
Skim milk While skim milk does not have the saturated fats that whole milk does, Dr. Klodas says almond, cashew, and macadamia nut milks have more unsaturated fats, as does soy, hemp, and flax milks.
Diet soda Recent studies have found that a high intake of beverages with artificial sweeteners, like diet sodas, can increase the risk of developing diabetes and impact the production of important proteins in our gut.
Granola bars Granola bars are known to be a healthy snack because of oats, nuts, fruits, and other ingredients that sound “healthy.” However, many granola bars have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and other counterproductive ingredients.
In an interview with Who What Wear, Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, said eating a” predominantly plant-based, low-fat, whole-food, unprocessed diet” is what he prefers.
“In short, I recommend that people eat a variety of all of nature’s bounty, so to speak—eating the rainbow, as I sometimes say to patients,” said Dr. Freeman, who is also co-chair of the American College of Cardiology’s Nutrition & Lifestyle Work Group. “So that includes everything from whole grains to berries to all the different brightly colored vegetables.”
If you were looking at a cardiologist’s list of heart-healthy foods, the following foods would be at the top:
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are full of vitamins and antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammation and play a role in protecting the heart.
The bright green fruits are rich in monounsaturated fats, a dietary fat that has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
3. Fatty fish and fish oil
Fatty fish and fish oil both have omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to the body, yet the body can produce them by itself. Studies have found that omega 3 may help in reducing cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. Walnuts and almonds
Walnuts and almonds are used for much more than a topping for baked goods. Research shows that these nuts can help lower cholesterol levels, are good sources of fiber, and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds are full of nutrients, such as fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, flaxseed may positively affect blood pressure and improve inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease.
These soybeans may be immature, but they pack loads of soy protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
7. Green tea
Green tea or its supplements are loaded with polyphenol and polyphenol compounds that have strong antioxidant properties. Regular consumption of green tea has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood.
Beans contain resistant starch, a carbohydrate that does not digest and is fermented by good bacteria in the gut. Beans are known to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
9. Whole grains
Brown rice, rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and other whole grains are effective in preventing and managing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
10. Dark chocolate
The best type of dark chocolate has at least 70 percent cocoa. Besides being a non-guilty pleasure, dark chocolate contains antioxidants and has been shown to lower the risk of developing calcified plaque in the arteries and coronary heart disease.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a nutrient that gives tomatoes their bright red color and has antioxidant properties. Lycopene may help to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and increase the HDL, “good” cholesterol.
Garlic’s healthy properties are just as powerful as its pungent odor. Garlic has a number of health benefits, many of them the result of allicin, a component that has been shown to help reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol, fight free radicals, and help prevent the formation of blood clots.
13. Leafy green vegetables:
Spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, and other leafy green superfoods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Foods to Put On Your Shopping List
There are so many heart-healthy foods available that it may be difficult to remember them all. So, before you shop for groceries, health and nutrition experts recommend making a list and buying foods in the following categories:
• Vegetables and Fruits: Buy fresh, low-sodium canned or frozen vegetables without added butter or sauce. Buy fresh fruit or canned, frozen, or dried fruit without added sugars.
• Dairy: Look for fat-free or low-fat options with milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese. Look for soy milk with added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.
• Whole Grains: Look for products that say 100 percent whole grain. Check the label to make sure “whole wheat” or “whole grain” is listed first in the ingredients list.
• Proteins: A variety of foods are rich in proteins. When it comes to meats, look for chicken, turkey, and beef products that are at least 93 percent lean. Beans, peas, lentils, eggs and unsalted nuts, and nut butters are also good sources of protein.
• Healthy Fats and Oils: Some cardiologists recommend using:
• Canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, or sunflower oil instead of butter.
• Low-fat or light mayonnaise instead of full-fat mayonnaise
• Oil-based salad dressings, such as a balsamic vinaigrette or Italian, instead of creamy dressings, like Ranch or Thousand Island
While making changes to your diet, Dr. Jennifer Haythe, co-director of the Columbia Women’s Heart Center, recommends making some general lifestyle changes, too. In an interview with Who What Wear, Dr. Haythe said:
“In general, I tell my patients to see their doctor every year to be screened for cardiac risk factors, exercise four to five times per week, quit smoking, eat a Mediterranean diet, limit alcohol consumption to twice a week, and do what they love to reduce stress—unless that means eating a cheeseburger and fries!”