Healthy Heart Food - What Is The Best Diet For Your Heart And Which Foods Heal?

by Roger Wild - Date: 2007-04-18 - Word Count: 536 Share This!

What is the best diet for a healthy heart? Which foods can you eat which will improve your chances of cardiovascular wellbeing and a longer life? Certain whole foods are known for their ability to support heart health. Read on to find out which heart healthy foods you need to keep in your refrigerator and eat more regularly.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans, New Zealanders - and in many other Western nations. When combined with other complications of hardened arteries, such as strokes, heart disease accounts for over 40% of all deaths. Too much of the good life has gone straight to our heart it seems.

Heart disease is the term used to describe hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and blood clots - which can result in blockage of the blood supply to the heart. The main symptom is angina, a pressure or pain in the chest, usually brought on by stress or exertion. The worst outcome is a heart attack.

Can we do anything to avoid suffering these problems?

Thankfully yes! And you have the power to make the necessary positive changes. Diet is clearly a major contributing factor to heart disease. What should you eat for a healthier heart? A diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds can gradually replace fatty animal products, fried foods and refined carbohydrates. This will improve blood cholesterol and blood-fat balance. It will also lower blood pressure and provide nutrition to the heart muscle.

Whole Foods with specific Benefits for the Heart and Circulation

Vegetables - Broccoli, garlic, ginger, kale, Chinese greens, parsley, red peppers, alfalfa sprouts.

Fruits - Lemons, oranges, apricots, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, mango.

Legumes, Grains, Nuts and Seeds - Lentils, tempeh, chickpeas, tahini, almonds, oats, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.

Fish - Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna (2 - 3 times per week) or high-quality fish oil tablets provide essential fatty acids, which support many vital functions.

A heart health study in New Zealand: In 2004 the New Zealand Ministry of Health published a study that looked at the causes of all deaths in New Zealand in 1997. Researchers found that diet is the leading cause of death with over 8500 attributable deaths in 1997 - 30% of all deaths in that year. The majority of these were cardiovascular deaths. One of the main risk factors for heart disease is a diet low in plant fibre and high in animal foods, fried foods and refined carbohydrates. By tipping this balance towards whole plant foods we not only protect and support the heart, we can actually repair arterial damage that has already occurred. Even the healthiest body needs good food for maintenance and repair. When there has been damage there is an even greater need for proper nutrition.

Other lifestyle recommendations for improved heart health:

Achieve a balanced intake of protein, complex carbohydrate and fat. Engage in regular aerobic exercise. Drink 6 - 8 glasses of water daily. Avoid fatty red meats, alcohol and coffee. Do not smoke. Eliminate fried foods and processed convenience foods. Avoid stress. Have more fun!

If you suspect you may be at risk from heart disease visit your doctor for a full assessment.

Copyright Wild Health and Roger Wild 2007

Related Tags: heart, heart disease, heart health, best diet, healthy heart food, heart food

New Zealander Roger Wild is a chef and nutritionist, who encourages people to experience full health through positive food and lifestyle choices.
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