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5 Foods to Eat for a Healthy Heart

Mar 23, 2016


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that changing your lifestyle can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Ask your Long Island medical center cardiologist about the lifestyle modifications you need to stay healthy. Begin by incorporating these heart-healthy foods into your diet.

1. Whole grains.

One of the biggest culprits in cardiovascular disease is high cholesterol. In particular, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol increases your risk of sticky plaques forming in the arteries and leading to a cardiovascular event. Whole grain foods are high in dietary fiber, which decreases the amount of LDL cholesterol in your body. Start your day with a bowl of steel-cut oats, eat whole grain bread or switch to whole wheat pasta to get your daily whole grains.

2. Berries.

Mounting scientific evidence shows that a class of molecules called antioxidants are extraordinarily good for your heart. Antioxidants fight oxidative damage in the body, which can lead to better overall health and decreased cardiovascular risk. Dark red- or purple-colored berries are a particularly good source of antioxidants. Enjoy a handful or two of blueberries, acai berries, raspberries or blackberries each day to protect your heart.

3. Fatty fishes.

It may seem counterintuitive in our fat-conscious society, but eating more fatty fish is an excellent way to reduce your cardiovascular risk. Fatty fishes, such as salmon, trout, haddock or sardines, are potent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This group of fats actually decreases levels of harmful LDL cholesterol while boosting levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. For the best effects, try to eat fatty fishes at least two days per week.

4. Non-animal protein sources.

Animal products are one of the largest sources of unhealthy saturated fats in our diets. Whenever possible, swap animal sources of protein for alternatives. For example, tofu, chickpeas or legumes can add heft to meals without boosting saturated fats. Start by adopting a “Meatless Monday” to challenge yourself to have one vegetarian day per week.

5. Nuts and seeds.

Nuts and seeds are good sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Actually, they have a different type of these beneficial fatty acids than fish, meaning that you should incorporate both into your diet. Seeds and nuts also provide a good source of protein.

If you are worried about your cardiovascular risk, we can help. Our nutritional services experts at PBMC can help you craft a diet plan that slashes your risk of heart disease. Make an appointment today to learn more.