Responsible for nearly one in four deaths, heart disease is a potentially life-threatening condition from which millions of people from suffer. While medications are available to prevent it, the most effective form of prevention is smart dieting. Making just a few changes to your diet can lower your risk of heart disease.
Reduce Sodium Intake
The amount of sodium you consume will directly affect your blood pressure. High-sodium diets have been linked to high blood pressure, which stresses and strains the heart while also causing plaque to accumulate in the arteries. Therefore, you should heed the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) recommendation of limiting your sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
Stay away from soda, sports drinks, sweet tea and other sugary beverages. According to a study cited by Men’s Journal, drinking one 12-ounce sugary beverage per day increases a person’s risk of heart disease by 20 percent. Researchers found that daily drinkers had increased triglyceride levels, lower HDL cholesterol levels and higher body inflammation than their non-soda counterparts in the control group. These effects all contribute to heart disease, making soda a poor choice of beverage for health-conscious men and women.
Eat More Fish
Adding more fish to your diet may lower your risk of heart disease. Fish, especially fatty varieties like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, contain lots of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. A single half-pound salmon filet, for instance, contains roughly 8 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 7 grams of unsaturated fat. Known as the good fats, they have a positive impact on heart health by helping to regulate blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat promote lower levels of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of HDL, thus allowing blood to flow more freely through the arteries and veins.
Choose Whole Grains
When given the option of whole grains or refined grains, choose the former. According to Mayo Clinic, whole grains help to regulate blood pressure while supporting a healthy heart in the process. Furthermore, they’ve been shown to lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and stroke.
A healthy heart begins with the right diet. By reducing your sodium intake, avoiding soda, eating more fish and choosing whole grain products, you can lower your risk of heart disease.