You can boost your heart health just by maintaining a healthy diet. This is great news since heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men. The CDC states that about half of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease; they have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or they are smokers. If you are at risk for heart disease or just want to improve your heart health, we suggest making these changes to your diet:
Add More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends eating fish 2-3 times a week for a healthy heart? That is because fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats– meaning our bodies are incapable of producing these fats intrinsically, and therefore, we are completely dependent upon dietary sources for these essential nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends diets rich in Omega-3s because research has shown that they “decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lower blood pressure.” Along with increasing your fish consumption (choose fish such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna), we recommend taking 2-3,000 mg/ day of an Omega supplement to boost heart health.
Reduce Sodium Intake
It is well known that reducing your sodium intake can help reduce blood pressure. Recent studies conclude that it can prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) as well. Research shows “men and women of all ages, ethnicities, and normotensives also experience reduced CVD risk in relation to lowered sodium intake.” If you are trying to reduce your sodium intake, take these simple steps:
-Cut back on processed foods that are laden with sodium and other harmful ingredients
-Season your food with natural spices such as garlic, turmeric, chili powder, spice mixes, etc. These spices give your food flavor without adding salt
-If you want to season your food, use a salt substitute instead of reaching for the salt
Eliminate Artificial Trans Fats From Your Diet
Have you heard about trans fats? Artificial trans fats are hydrogenated vegetable oils that have been processes to add hydrogen to them. Before the mid-1990‘s trans fats seemed to be in everything: potato chips, Crisco, and even in your fast food. They were even marketed as “healthy”. But then we learned how harmful they are. The American Heart Association states “Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.” However, trans fats can still be hiding in your foods. Check your food labels for trans fats disguised as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
Here at Complete Care Health Centers, we want to be sure you have a healthy heart. You can boost your heart health by maintaining a healthy diet. If you want to learn about more dietary tips for your heart, call our clinic and ask about our VSP program.