Your doctor may tell you that the health of your heart has much to do with your genetics, but there are actually a number of other factors involved, too. That's right - the saying that goes “genetics load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger” is 100% true!
Factors including your diet, fitness levels and even environmental exposure can contribute to heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
And, while most doctors treat heart issues with medication, sometimes reversing or preventing heart disease can sometimes be as simple as making a few small lifestyle changes.
Allow me to focus on diet and explain seven super-simple dietary modifications that you should make right away to protect one of your body's most vital organs - your heart.
Seven diet tips for a healthy heart
#1: Indulge in plant-based foods
By upping your intake of healthy, wholesome plant-based products, you’ll be giving your body a fantastic dose of nutrients and phytonutrients, which have disease-fighting properties. Aim for around eight servings of colourful fruits and veggies each day.
#2: Opt for healthy fats and carbs
A body of growing research shows that balancing your blood sugar
levels is essential to staving off heart disease
. You can stabilise your blood sugar
by eating healthy fats (like fish, nuts, seeds and cold
-pressed vegetable oils) and carbohydrates (like fruits, legumes, potatoes and whole grains) at every meal. Also, be sure to never eat carbs alone, and to avoid the processed kinds.
#3: Up your fibre intake
Try and work your way up to 50 g of fibre per day if possible. Opt for high-fibre foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, beans and low-sugar fruits (like berries). I you find it a challenge to eat as many high-fibre foods as you should to pack 50 g a day, you can consider taking a fibre supplement.
#4: Eliminate junk foods
I’m looking at you dead in the eye, soft drinks and fried foods! Such drinks and eats have an adverse effect on your blood sugar levels and lipid metabolism. What’s more is that studies show that liquid-sugar calories, like fizzy drinks and fruit juices, are among the biggest contributors to condition like diabetes
(yikes!). Try and cut out anything that’s been processed.
#5: Get your omega-3 fatty acid fix
Munching on omega-3-rich foods such as salmon, seaweed and flaxseeds is fantastic for your ticker. This is because healthy fats as such improve your overall cholesterol profile, which promotes heart health. Once again, if you feel you’re not consuming enough omega-3s through foods, consider a supplement. In this case, a fish oil supplement is a top choice.
#6: Cut out all hydrogenated fat
Foods products such as processed oils, margarine and many baked goods pack hydrogenated fat
, which can contribute to artery clogging and, in turn, heart disease
. Opt for healthy fats instead, such as the ones discussed in tip #2. As far as cooking oils go, there are healthy versions of those, too – try olive, sesame or coconut oil.
#7: Go easy on the booze
Alcohol creates blood sugar imbalances, contributes to a fatty liver and can even raise triglycerides; all of which is bad for your heart. One glass of wine with dinner a few times a week is fine, but too much booze will raise inflammation in your body. Inflammation is closely related to a number of chronic diseases, with heart disease being one of them.
PS: I'm sure you know that coconut oil was one deemed the "devil" of the fat world, but did you know that that's all changed? Doctors around the world are now swearing by this fantastic plant-based fat for every aspect of your heart health! It's great for both cooking and baking a variety of heart-healthy dishes. Go here to find out where you can get your hands on a jar right away.