Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity all over the world. Unhealthy living habits, stress, and eating unhealthy food has been implicated to be the main factor in various heart problems, especially coronary artery disease. A comprehensive review of altering and addressing the triggering factors may help immensely in preventing the catastrophic cardiac event.
Coronary heart disease has become a common cardiac ailment. In this condition the cardiac arteries which supply blood to heart muscles gets blocked or become narrow. The reason behind is atherosclerosis. It is a condition where the blood vessels of heart become narrow or plaque forms in the walls of artery.A plaque is made up of fat, calcium and platelets. It increases the possibility of formation of blood clot in the coronary artery. When a blood clot blocks a cardiac vessel, patient suffers from heart attack.
An intricate web of factors can influence the health of heart. Some of which can be controlled by us, for example the food we eat, the habits we adopt and exercise we do. There are other factors that we cannot such as high level of blood cholesterol due to genetic inheritance, stress at work place and to an extent environmental pollution.Obesity, high blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure, diabetes are major factors known to increase the risk of heart disease.
Foods That Are Good For A Healthy Heart
Foods that are low in saturated fats, rich in fiber, antioxidants, omega- 3 fatty acids, vitamin B complex etc are beneficial for heart health. Below are given important foods that help the heart to remain healthy.
- Green leafy vegetables and fruits and grains are high in dietary fibers. They contain various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the heart cells and also neutralize free radicals damaging heart arteries. Thus they protect against hardening of the arteries.
- Spinach, Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprout, parsley, oats, beans, lentils, rice bran, wheat germ, garlic, onion, bok choy etc are good source of fibers, vitamins and minerals. Research suggests that garlic helps to reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol when 2 to 3 cloves are eaten daily.
- Among fruits, all types of berries contain plenty of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances which are known to fight free radicals that harm the blood vessels of heart. Blueberry contains the maximum. Vitamin C found in fruits is also beneficial for heart health. Oranges, grapes, lemon, Kiwi, grapefruit, etc are few among large number of fruits that have rich source of fibers, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are found to prevent the risk of thrombosis and thickening of cardiac arteries. Therefore eat more food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acid. Flex seeds, walnuts, almonds, oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardine, eggs, and fish oils are rich source of omega-3 acids.
Foods That May Cause Heart Disease
Foods that are high in trans fatty acids and saturated fats should be avoided as they increase the cholesterol level, particularly the low density cholesterol in the blood. LDL is considered to be bad cholesterol and damages the arteries of heart. Butter, cheese, beef, lamb, milk, dairy cream, pastries, contain high amount of saturated fats which is known to raise the cholesterol level. Avoid eating fried and oily food. Also processed and fast food contain large amount of saturated fats considered risky for heart health.
Before labeling such foods to be bad for heart, it is necessary to understand that these foods become bad for heart health when taken for a long period of time and too frequently. Eating a dairy cream product once in a month in moderate amount may not be considered to be damaging. But regular use oils containing saturated fats in large quantity in cooking food may prove to be a risk for development of cardiovascular problems.