23 Feb Eat These Foods for Better Heart Health
“You are what you eat.”
It’s true what your mom said to you way back when she was trying to get you to eat your vegetables. Your overall health is partially dependent upon what you put into your body…so she was right: you are indeed what you eat.
Nine in ten Canadians over the age of twenty have at least one risk factor for heart disease, while four in ten have three or more. Some of these risk factors are inherited and uncontrollable while others can be changed such as diet and exercise.
Your heart is responsible for just about everything that gives your body life—from the transport of oxygen to every single cell in your body to the ultimate success of your immune system. However, the foods you eat and the amount of activity you choose to take part in can dramatically affect the overall health of your heart and the many other tissues that make up your cardiovascular system. So, in other words, heart health is vitally important to the overall health of you—and your body.
Since your diet is so important to the health of your heart and your heart is so important to your health in general, what are you waiting for? Make sure you’re getting enough of the following in your diet and your heart will thank you (and the rest of your body will too!).
NOT GETTING ENOUGH: Salmon
NEED IT TO: Pump up Your Heart Health with Omega-3s
You can eat salmon everyday if you want to—it’s amazingly good for you. Packed with Omega-3s and oh so tasty, we think it’s one of the best superfoods out there. But sometimes salmon isn’t what you’re craving and you really want a burger or a chicken burrito. Eat the rainbow as they say and vary the foods you eat, but rest easy by incorporating omega-3s into your vitamin schedule.
Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids can help to decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce incidence of blood clots, decrease heart failure risk and reduce irregular heartbeats.
Omega-3 fatty acids from krill are more easily digested and used by the body than from other dietary sources. Also, krill is a source of astaxanthin, an antioxidant that provides good cell protection. The World Health Organization recommends consuming between 1.1 and 1.6 g of omega-3 daily, for both men and women. For cardiovascular health, take 3 to 4 soft gels daily, with a meal.
NOT GETTING ENOUGH: Oatmeal
NEED IT TO: Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol is vital to our health because it is an important part of the structure of our cell membranes, and it helps in the making of vitamin D (from sunlight). But, two types of cholesterol exist: good and bad. ‘Good’ cholesterol (HDL), helps prevent the narrowing of arteries by removing and transporting excess cholesterol to the liver. ‘Bad’ cholesterol (LDL), carries the cholesterol from the liver through the entire body and leaves behind bits on the walls of the arteries—which can lead to heart disease. The often-touted benefits of eating oatmeal have long shown it’s a bowl full of amazing for reducing your cholesterol. BUT. We don’t want to eat it everyday, so we’re adding phytosterols to our supplement regimen.
Phytosterols are compounds that resemble cholesterol but are derived from plant sources. Because the intestines cannot differentiate between cholesterol and phytosterols, the phytosterols get absorbed instead of cholesterol, meaning less cholesterol reaches the bloodstream. Phytosterols are clinically proven to lower cholesterol levels (total and LDL)
NOT GETTING ENOUGH: Garlic
NEED IT TO: Maintain Your Heart Health
Traditionally used to treat the symptoms of upper respiratory infections, studies have shown that garlic’s powerful antioxidants are great for protecting against heart disease. It’s known to powerfully reduce high blood pressure as well.
If you have a tendency or a genetic predisposition towards high blood pressure, clot formation, high ‘bad’ cholesterol or low ‘good’ cholesterol, you might want to try adding garlic capsules to your routine because evidence from multiple clinical trials points toward garlic having a role to play in either preventing or delaying cardiovascular disease.
NOT GETTING ENOUGH: Citrus Fruits
NEED IT TO: Get Your Flavonoids and Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are jam-packed vitamin C, which we know helps to reduce the duration and symptoms of colds, and aids with wound healing.
It also prevents coronary artery disease by enhancing the body’s level of natural glutathione, a potent free-radical scavenger that protects the arteries. It strengthens the blood vessel walls by enabling the synthesis of collagen in the connective tissue of the arterial walls. And it improves vasodilation, which is the ability of the heart’s arteries to widen when more blood is needed—a key factor in preventing heart disease.
With all this good, we sometimes overload on the oranges and regret all the sugar (natural though it may be, it’s still sugar!). Get your C without the sugar with vitamin C tablets.