Heart disease no longer concerns the elderly. Today, people of almost all age groups are struggling with heart problems. The emergence and phenomenal growth of heart disease and the increased death rate associated with it is evidence of a disrupted modern lifestyle and diet.
Several risk factors can cause heart disease, but the upside is that some risks can be changed and heart problems can be prevented.
Risk factors that cannot be changed are associated with age, gender, ethnicity, and family history and there are several other risk factors that can be changed.
High cholesterol: High cholesterol narrows or blocks arteries, which can prevent blood from reaching the heart, brain, or other organs. This can cause cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
Diabetes: The problem of diabetes is increasing at a high rate, as are the levels of heart disease. High blood sugar from diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart and can lead to a heart attack.
Stress: Stress increases cholesterol, physical inactivity which leads to heart disease. Some may also choose to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol to manage chronic stress that raises blood pressure.
Foods to Prevent Heart Disease
1. Tomatoes: Lycopene, an antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Tomatoes contain potassium which helps lower blood pressure by removing some of the sodium from the body and softening the walls of blood vessels.
2. Nuts: Walnuts reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Walnuts reduce the risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes. Walnuts are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which improve cognitive function and prevent obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease .
3. Spinach: Vitamin C, beta-carotene and other nutrients in spinach work together to prevent the formation of oxidized cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels. Spinach also contains folate, vitamin B6 and betaine which lower serum amino acid homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is associated with heart disease, stroke, and age-related cognitive decline.
4. Oats: oats contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients that prevent the buildup of atherosclerosis and maintain arterial function. Oats also lower blood cholesterol levels so less cholesterol hits the arteries, which helps blood flow and reduces the risk of heart disease.
5. Strawberry: Strawberries lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, also called “bad” cholesterol. They are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanin which prevents oxidative stress and inflammation which contributes to the development of heart disease.
6. Citrus: Citrus fruits like oranges, lime, tangerine, and grapefruit are excellent for reducing the ischemic load on the heart, thereby preventing blockages and plaque buildup.
7. Lenses: Pulses, legumes, and beans are high in protein, and a high-protein diet has been linked to at least a twenty percent reduction in the occurrence of heart disease, if eaten regularly.
8. Lawyers: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are a type of healthy “good fat.” Adding an avocado to your daily diet can effectively lower cholesterol according to numerous scientific studies.
9. Almonds: Almonds are one of the most nutrient dense nuts. They’re packed with the goodness of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber. Regular consumption of almonds is said to have a powerful effect in lowering blood cholesterol.
10. Pomegranate: Regular consumption of pomegranate is well known to prevent damage to arterial walls. It improves blood flow to the heart and helps lower blood pressure. Pomegranate can effectively prevent or reverse atherosclerosis.
Heart disease is also the result of smoking and obesity. Avoiding smoking and having a good diet along with regular physical activity can effectively reduce the risk of heart attack. A healthy lifestyle is essential to avoid cardiovascular problems and significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.
(Nmami Agarwal is a famous nutritionist)
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