Simple tips to maintain a heart-healthy diet

Simple tips to maintain a heart-healthy diet

Despite how easily the possibility of suffering a heart attack or stroke could worry you, reassure yourself that there are various ways in which you can reduce the risk of either of these cardiac problems happening.

These include sufficiently exercising, keeping an eye on your weight, handling stress and quitting smoking. Sticking to a heart-healthy diet can also help.

Still, even if you have a good idea of which eating habits are healthy and which aren't, you could remain uncertain how to eat your way to a healthier heart in particular. Here are some pointers for helping ensure that, at least in a nutritional sense, your heart is looked after.

Don't skimp on fruits and vegetables

As many of us have often been told, there is abundant healthy stuff in fruit and vegetables. Folate and potassium are nutrients which have been found helpful for reducing blood pressure and enhancing blood circulation. You can get a good supply of folate from beans, oranges, broccoli, and spinach, while eating bananas, oranges, kiwis, and beet greens can help meet your potassium needs.

Also in fruit and vegetables are plant sterols which, according to clinical studies cited by HuffPost, can assist in lowering the likelihood of heart disease. This is because these plant sterols can, when consumed through a diet where cholesterol and saturated fat are both low, help reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by the gut.

Have a berry good time

Ironically, you shouldn't feel blue when you consume blueberries and, we should add, other berries including strawberries. A 2013 study noted by the Health website has revealed that women of ages from 25 to 42 who weekly ate over three servings of strawberries and blueberries were 32% less likely to have heart attacks than other women who did not eat as much of these foods.

The study's authors deemed that this health benefit came from compounds which are called anthocyanins and flavonoids and may lower blood pressure as well as dilate blood vessels.

Keep it dark - your chocolate, that is

You might not typically consider chocolate healthy, whether for your heart or any other part of your body. However, judging from several studies, dark chocolate may offer benefits for your cardiac health. For example, one 2012 study discovered that, if people at high risk of nonfatal heart attacks and stroke consumed chocolate daily, they could cut this risk.

It should be emphasised, however, that these findings were applicable strictly to dark chocolate; in other words, chocolate with a cocoa concentration of at least 60-70%. Dark chocolate has flavonoids known as polyphenols; these may assist with blood pressure, inflammation, and clotting. So, you should resist just reaching for that milk chocolate or white chocolate bar at your local shop.

While eating the above foods can prove effective for prevention, we would urge you to seek professional help if you suspect that there is already a problem with your heart. The London-based and privately-funded Highgate Hospital offers cardiac screening for assessing heart health.

Tags: Food, Healthy eating, Heart, Diet, Highgate Hospital