Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA. Therefore, it’s most important to take steps to prevent heart disease for good health and longevity. One of the most effective ways to prevent heart disease is following a heart-healthy diet that incorporates a variety of nutrients.
Certain nutrients are extra essential for your heart health. Find out which nutrients are crucial for keeping heart disease at bay and which foods have them.
Essential Nutrients That Help Prevent Heart Disease
Fitness Buffhq has compiled a list of the top six nutrients you need for optimal heart health.
Include these heart-healthy nutrients in your diet to lower heart disease risks. The general advice doctors give is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, limit saturated fat, and avoid trans-fat to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels within a healthy range.
Focus on the following 6 heart-healthy nutrients to improve your heart health and keep cardiovascular diseases at bay:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3s are essential healthy fats that your body can’t make. Therefore, you must get them from food sources. Omega 3s help in making hormones that control inflammation, blood clotting, constriction, and relaxation of the smooth muscles in artery walls. So, they contribute to lowering the risk of blood clots, reducing blood pressure, triglycerides, & inflammation, and preventing heart disease.
- Fish – salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, and lake trout are the best sources of omega 3s.
- Non-fish sources include nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, certain vegetable oils, and green leafy vegetables.
A fiber-rich diet has been shown to be correlated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease because it helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Fiber also keeps you full and satisfied for a longer time so helps reduce body weight.
- Fiber is mostly contained in plant foods. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Oats are also rich in both soluble & insoluble fiber.
Not all fats are bad for the body. Monosaturated fats are good for the heart. They can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol), maintain cell health, and are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant.
Typically, monounsaturated fats are liquid oils at room temperature (olive oil) and saturated fats are solid (butter).
While introducing monosaturated fat into your diet, make sure you reduce equivalent saturated fat – otherwise, your fat intake will increase.
Monosaturated fats are contained in avocados, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and plant-based oils such as olive oil and canola oil.
Studies on folate have found that people who have more folate in their diet had fewer heart attacks. Folate helps in the breakdown of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease, and peripheral artery and vascular disease.
Instead of supplements, include folate-rich foods in your diet such as beans, dark leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit, and grains.
Potassium helps reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure, so it plays an important role in managing high blood pressure. This mineral has the ability to relax the blood vessels, which helps in lowering blood pressure.
Include bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, and prunes in your diet to up your potassium intake.
Consumption of magnesium has been shown to be linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Some magnesium-rich foods that you can include in your diet are nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, dark chocolate, etc.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”