September 29th is World Heart Day. The day is celebrated to bring awareness to the importance of heart health. Every year, millions of people are affected by symptoms of heart disease. It’s important to keep your heart as healthy as it can be and to be the healthiest YOU, you can be!
What you eat is directly correlated to heart-related, or cardiovascular, problems. That’s why eating your best can make a difference and help you have a fully functioning, happy heart. A diet full of superfoods and organic products can help lower your risk of heart disease.
Many factors influence your risk of heart disease, including your age and medical history. You can be one step closer to your healthier heart goals by following a heart healthy diet.
Here are 8 tips to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle:
1. Increase your water intake
Water and proper hydration are essential to the way your brain and body function! That includes your heart as well. Proper hydration is fundamental for those who have existing heart conditions or a higher risk of heart disease. The reason being, when properly hydrated the heart pumps blood more efficiently and reduces strain on essential muscles.
The recommended daily water intake is at least eight, 8 ounce, glasses of water a day, equal to about 2 liters or half a gallon. An easy individual number is to divide your weight by two and drink that in ounces every day.
2. Add fiber when possible
Having a high fiber diet has many benefits to your body, especially your heart. Not only can you feel fuller when eating more fiber, but it also is proven to lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, and maintain bowel regularity. All of these benefits lead to a healthier heart! Sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, and whole grains.
3. Don’t skip out on breakfast
Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day for a good reason! Having a heart-healthy breakfast will fuel and balance your day with the proper nutrients your body (and heart) needs. Research shows that skipping breakfast can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and eating breakfast promotes heart health.
4. Switch to dark chocolate
Research shows that dark chocolate (85% or darker) is a heart-healthy treat when it isn’t loaded with sugar and saturated fats. It is a great way to satisfy a sweet craving. Dark chocolate is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Studies show it can help reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Chocolate itself also contains beneficial flavonoids.
5. The less sodium the better
Having too much sodium in your diet can cause fluid retention, which can increase blood pressure adding additional stress to your heart. It’s essential to keep a healthy balance of sodium intake to fluid intake because it also plays a beneficial function in the body to keep your body’s fluid levels in proper balance. Read the nutrition label on the back of your food to see how much sodium is in the products you’re buying. Look for labels like “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on certain products.
6. Saturated fat vs. sugar
The latest research shows saturated fat is not the problem. It’s actually sugar! An increase in sugar in the diet causes an increase in triglycerides. Triglycerides are carried on VLDL and are the true cause and indicator of heart disease. LDL gets a bad rap because it is the main component of atherosclerosis and plaque, but it can’t actually form without a high triglyceride and VLDL content in the blood. Cut the sugar, keep the fat!
7. Add Foods with Omega-3
These fatty acids can benefit the heart by lowering blood pressure, reducing blood clots, and decreasing strokes and heart failure risk. The American diet is loaded with omega-6 fatty acids. As a result, people have less omega-3 in their diet. Increase your omega-3 foods by eating cold-water fish, like salmon and tuna, and certain nuts, like flaxseeds and walnuts.
By adding foods with Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, you can reduce inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and strokes.
8. Eat more Whole Foods
Eating more whole foods can have a significant impact on your heart health. Processed meats are often high in sodiums and saturated fats. Snacks like cereals and candy are high in sugar and won’t satisfy your hunger for long. Those items in boxed and canned forms often have added and unnecessary sodium.
Ditch the processed foods and fill up with whole, organic foods. Looking for snacks and meals on the outskirts of the grocery store is a good rule of thumb when trying to include more whole foods in your diet.
Did you know Cheshire Wellness Center can actually test how healthy your heart and nervous system are working together? Our “Neuro pulse“ technology allows us to see the interface between cardiovascular and neurological health. This is a huge indicator for all the reasons we just mentioned!
Loving these great tips and want to learn more about supporting your body and your nervous system?
Learn how Cheshire Wellness Center can help you achieve optimal heart health through transformational, evidence-based NetworkSpinal chiropractic care. Not only your spine, but your entire body can function better, heal, and stay as healthy as possible. Call today at (603) 357-5700 to see how Cheshire Wellness can help you with your health and wellness goals.