The heart is the most important muscle in the body. Your heart is responsible for pumping the blood that carries the nutrients and oxygen your organs need to function throughout your body. However, many people neglect to take proper care of their cardiovascular system.
In the United States alone, heart diseases kill over 600,000 people per year. More people are developing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels because of their unhealthy lifestyles. In effect, many health professionals, especially cardiologists, benefit from having life support certification because strokes and heart attacks are becoming more prevalent.
Causes of Heart Disease
The causes of heart diseases can vary depending on the individual. Some are born with it, but most people develop it through time because of their unhealthy lifestyle. Here are common causes of heart ailments:
- High Blood Cholesterol – This is the primary cause of heart disease today. Eating too many fatty foods can cause the hardening of arteries and lead to a heart attack and other complications.
- High Blood Pressure – Also known as hypertension. There are many causes of high blood pressure, including an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity that burns the extra fat in your body. People who have a family history of high blood pressure are also more at risk of developing the illness.
- Diabetes – Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin or becomes resistant to insulin, resulting in an excessive level of blood sugar. There have been links between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including similar risk factors like hypertension. There are a few different causes of diabetes as well as different types of the disease. Some are genetically predisposed, others develop it as a result of pregnancy, and others through factors like diet, lack of exercise, or age.
- Oxidative stress – Studies show that oxidative stress is also a trigger for developing cardiovascular diseases. Oxidative stress is an imbalance of the antioxidants and free radicals in the body, which causes cell and tissue damage.
Heart Friendly Foods, You Should Eat
Poor diet is one of the leading factors for developing cardiovascular diseases. When you eat foods with high-fat content, the fat will gradually build up inside the arterial walls and narrow the space in which the blood flows in and out of the heart.
This is the reason why you need to follow a heart-healthy eating pattern that includes a wide variety of fresh foods that helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Here are some heart-friendly foods you should incorporate into your diet:
- Red Apples
Remember the popular saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? This is because apples contain many different compounds that help improve various factors relating to heart health. Apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and helps prevent blood clots. Apples are also rich in fiber, which helps lower the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.
- Whole Grains
Whole grains are favored over refined because they have lower sugar contents. Whole grains are rich in fiber and contain vitamins and minerals to keep your health healthy and cholesterol in check. Eating a bowl of oatmeal in the morning will not only give you sustainable energy throughout the day but also reduce your bad cholesterol with the help of the fiber called beta-glucan.
- Olive oil
Although you are trying to reduce fat consumption, your body still needs fat to survive. It’s best to eat foods with good fats to give your body enough energy to function. Olive oil is considered a healthy fat and is a good option for cooking or salad dressing.
Avocado is another good source of healthy fats. It is also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help protect your heart. Avocado also contains oleic acid, which helps reduce inflammation in any part of the body, including the heart.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which are essential for reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. Eating as little as four grams of omega-3 rich foods can bring significant improvement in your arterial function.
- Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body. Vegetables are also low in calories while making you feel fuller longer.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, and provide other health benefits like sun protection and lowering the risk of developing certain cancers.
Walnuts are another good source of good fats that helps keep your cholesterol levels low. It also contains vitamin E, which is vital to a healthy immune system as it helps cells fight off infection.
Taking care of your heart is critical in keeping the other organs in your body healthy. When your cardiovascular health is compromised, the heart can fail, and your organs will not get enough nutrients and oxygen to function properly. Eating the right foods will help keep your heart health in check. Remember to eat fresh produce and make sure you are getting well-balanced meals every day.