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What's Best Diet for a Healthy Heart?

A heart healthy diet is an eating plan which is low in unhealthy fats, and sodium which helps you sustain low levels of blood cholesterol and reduce your risk for coronary artery disease. A heart healthy diet helps to decrease the risk of heart disease by improving the health of the heart. Certain food when included in the diet improves your heart health and reduces risk of heart disease:

  • Healthy Fats: Differentiating between healthy fats and unhealthy fats and avoiding the unhealthy ones from is an integral part of a heart healthy diet. Healthy fats include fatty acids from olive oil, avocado, nuts and vegetable oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids helps in reducing the risk of heart disease. Unhealthy fats include saturated fat from meat and dairy and Trans fat from margarines, shortening, breads, cakes and French fries.
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains contain the entire kernel and consuming whole grains improves heart health and lowers heart disease risk. Eating whole grains lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) whereas eating refined grains increases cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Fiber: These are found in foods, such as fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes which help in reducing cholesterol levels and heart disease. Soluble fibers also reduce blood pressure and inflammation within blood vessels.
  • Low sodium: Eating a low sodium diet helps reducing blood pressure and increasing the blood flow in the arteries. When sodium accumulates in the blood, it attracts water thus increasing the blood volume. In this situation the heart has to work harder to keep blood circulation through the system, resulting in high blood pressure.