There is a lot of debate surrounding the correlation between food and common heart diseases.
Some people believe that what we eat can directly impact our risk of developing heart disease, while others believe that genetics and other lifestyle factors are more important determinants.
However, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
While we can’t change our genes, we can control what we put into our bodies, and the food we eat impacts our health. ‘
It’s essential to be informed about the potential connection between diet and heart disease to make the best health choices.
Here are six facts about the correlation between food and common heart diseases.
1 – Control Your Portion Size
Overeating can lead to weight gain, a significant risk factor for heart disease. Be sure to control your portion size at meals and snack on healthy foods throughout the day instead of overeating in one sitting.
It’s also important to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats found in many processed foods. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your saturated fat intake to no more than 13 grams daily.
It’s also important to limit your intake of cholesterol. The AHA recommends limiting your cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day.
This means avoiding foods high in cholesterol, such as eggs and red meat, which can cause congestive heart failure and other heart diseases.
This does not mean you have to give up these foods altogether, but be sure to eat them in moderation so that they don’t contribute to your risk of heart disease.
2 – Eat More Vegetables And Fruits
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower your risk of heart disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who ate the most vegetables and fruits had a significantly lower risk of heart failure than those who ate the least.
The study also found that the risk of heart failure was lower in people who ate more dark-green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards.
It’s unclear exactly how vegetables and fruits protect the heart, but the antioxidants likely play a role. If you’re not used to eating many fruits and vegetables, start by adding a serving or two to your diet daily.
More so, choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over processed ones.
3 – Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains
Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains, which may help reduce heart disease risk. Fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and it can also help reduce the risk of congestive heart failure.
The fiber in whole grains can also help you feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat. It’s important to choose whole grains that are truly whole —meaning they haven’t been processed or refined.
Some common whole grains include oats, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. This is one area where the quality of your food choices matters. Though, more studies are needed to understand the specific role whole grains play in heart health.
However, it’s generally recommended to replace refined grains with whole grains as part of a healthy diet.
4 – Choose Lean Protein Sources
Protein provides essential nutrients for the body, but some types of protein can increase the risk of heart disease. Choose lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, and beans. Avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage, which are high in saturated fat and sodium.
It’s also important to limit the amount of red meat you eat. Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are exceptionally high in omega-3s.
When cooking fish, bake, grill, or broil it to avoid adding unhealthy fats. This also goes for chicken. Look for lean, white meat and remove the skin before cooking. Trimming visible fat off meat before eating it can also help reduce saturated fat intake.
More so, beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They’re also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels by binding to it in the digestive tract and removing it from the body.
Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables.
5 – Cut Back On Sugar And Salt
Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day, and men consume no more than nine teaspoons (38 grams) per day.
Too much salt can lead to heart disease by causing high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
Limiting processed foods is also essential, as they are often high in sugar and salt. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and juice can be particularly harmful, as they contain large amounts of added sugar.
6 – Plan Ahead: Create Daily Menus
What you eat has a direct impact on your heart health. Consider planning your meals ahead of time by creating daily menus. This will help you make heart-healthy food choices and avoid last-minute unhealthy decisions.
It will also help you stick to a budget and prevent overspending on food. The extra time spent planning your meals will be worth it in the long run. However, you can also find a heart-healthy diet plan online or from your doctor.
The diet plan must fit your lifestyle and food preferences. Due to the number of processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats in the average diet, following a heart-healthy diet can be difficult. However, with a bit of planning and effort, it is possible to create a healthy diet that is delicious and nutritious.
In conclusion, the correlation between food and common heart diseases is evident. A diet high in saturated and trans fats, as well as cholesterol and sodium, can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
Conversely, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help protect your heart. By making smart food choices, you can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.