Most discussions on fitness and wellbeing are centered on heart health. This could be attributed to the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Hence it’s important to look after your heart, whether you suffer from a heart condition or are at risk of it. Here are 6 easy ways to nourish your heart.1
1. Have Plenty Of Fiber
Dietary fiber is often discussed in relation to healthy bowel movements and gut health. But, research indicates that people whose diets are high in dietary fiber are at a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.2
High fiber intake is also believed to lower blood pressure. Studies further indicate that soluble fiber such as pectin, psyllium, beta-glucan, pectin, and guar gum lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. So, make salads a regular part of your diet and fill your cart with oats, berries, grapefruit, apple, nuts, and lentils.3
Research indicates that meditation decreases the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing stress. And, stress is a common culprit in the worsening of most disorders. And, the same holds true for heart disease.4
Research indicates that stress increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. This could be due to the fact that stress releases the hormone cortisol in the body which, in turn, increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
Additionally, stress could also lead to changes that promote the buildup of plaque deposits in the arteries. Even mild stress can trigger poor blood flow to the heart muscle. Meditating regularly can help aid heart health by reducing stress and reducing hypertension.5
3. Load Up On Nuts
Stock your kitchen shelves with a range of nuts if you’re at risk of heart disease. Research indicates that the sterols and stanols in nuts lower cholesterol and, in turn, the risk of stroke, coronary occlusion, and ischemic heart disease.6 7
Additionally, nuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce triglycerides (a type of fat in cells), slow down the buildup of plaque in arteries, lower your blood pressure, and manage your heartbeat. However, be sure to talk to a professional to understand just how much your nut consumption should be.8
If you are allergic to nuts you could always switch to other sources such as Brussel sprouts, orange juice, yogurt, salmon, and mackerel. If you’d like to try supplements instead, do consult a professional first.
4. Join A Dance Class
The road to heart health doesn’t have to be boring and by the book. Research indicates that regular dancing might lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, this good cardiovascular exercise is a fun way to get (the recommended) 30 minutes of activity 5 times a week.9
Exercise lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and manages stress. And, studies show that dance is slightly better than walking when it comes to these benefits. It also manages your weight, improves the condition of your heart, and boosts your sense of well-being.10 So, make some time for dance in your weekly schedule.11
5. Sip On Green Tea
While the effects of green tea on weight are still up for debate, studies indicate that green tea might promote heart health. This is because it contains catechins, a type of antioxidants, which prevent hypertension, inflammation, and high cholesterol levels.12
Additionally, catechins reduce oxidative stress and lower blood pressure. Hence, it might be a good idea to switch your regular cup of tea with some unsweetened green tea.13
6. Add Tomatoes To Your Diet
Tomatoes aren’t often discussed as health foods. But, studies indicate that lycopene, a phytochemical in tomatoes, reduces cholesterol and the blockage of arteries. However, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest exactly how this happens.14
Besides these few tips, do ensure that you visit your doctor regularly and track your fitness and diet. By leading a more health-conscious lifestyle, you’re sure to beat heart disease.
|↑1||Heart Disease Statistics. American College of Cardiology.|
|↑2||Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.|
|↑3||Bazzano, Lydia A. “Effects of soluble dietary fiber on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and coronary heart disease risk.” Current atherosclerosis reports 10, no. 6 (2008): 473-477.|
|↑4||Ray, Indranill Basu, Arthur R. Menezes, Pavan Malur, Aimee E. Hiltbold, John P. Reilly, and Carl J. Lavie. “Meditation and coronary heart disease: a review of the current clinical evidence.” The Ochsner Journal 14, no. 4 (2014): 696-703.|
|↑5||Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease.
|↑6||Patch, Craig S., Linda C. Tapsell, Peter G. Williams, and Michelle Gordon. “Plant sterols as dietary adjuvants in the reduction of cardiovascular risk: theory and evidence.” Vascular health and risk management 2, no. 2 (2006): 157.|
|↑7||Genser, Bernd, Günther Silbernagel, Guy De Backer, Eric Bruckert, Rafael Carmena, M. John Chapman, John Deanfield et al. “Plant sterols and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” European heart journal 33, no. 4 (2012): 444-451.|
|↑8||Omega-3 fats: Good for your heart.
|↑9||Dance your way to better heart health? Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑10||Dance – health benefits. Victoria State Government.|
|↑11||Give your heart a workout.
|↑12||Deka, Apranta, and Joseph A. Vita. “Tea and cardiovascular disease.” Pharmacological research 64, no. 2 (2011): 136-145.|
|↑13||Babu, Anandh, V. Pon, and Dongmin Liu. “Green tea catechins and cardiovascular health: an update.” Current medicinal chemistry 15, no. 18 (2008): 1840-1850.|
|↑14||Böhm, Volker. “Lycopene and heart health.” Molecular nutrition & food research 56, no. 2 (2012): 296-303.|
|↑15||Das, Samarjit, Hajime Otani, Nilanjana Maulik, and Dipak K. Das. “Lycopene, tomatoes, and coronary heart disease.” Free radical research 39, no. 4 (2005): 449-455.|
|↑16||Rao, A. V. “Lycopene, tomatoes, and the prevention of coronary heart disease.” Experimental Biology and Medicine 227, no. 10 (2002): 908-913.|