Cardiovascular disease is a group of disorders that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that affect the heart and can lead to heart attack or stroke.
World Heart Day was observed a few days ago to create awareness about these diseases, risks, and prevention. World heart day is celebrated on the 29th of September every year and this year has been themed ‘use heart to connect’.
This simply means every individual needs to be compassionate enough to share their knowledge of heart health and ensure that their loved ones, friends, and everyone in the community have a chance of healthy living and a healthy heart.
Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death around the world, and hypertension/stroke are the few known outcomes of cardiovascular disease.
There are so many risk factors and causes of heart disease.
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle
- High cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Family history.
What we do to have a healthy heart is as important as what we eat and how we eat it.
We marked this year’s world heart day with a detailed article, Check out this article about world heart day.
This article, will, however, focus on what we eat and how it puts us at risk of developing heart disease.
Did you know that you can be a fitness enthusiast, young and lively but still develop heart issues if you don’t control what goes into your system? Just like fitness trainers say, you can’t out-train a bad diet because your health and fitness are 70% dependent on what you eat and 30% on exercise and other things.
Foods that promote heart health
It’s been proven that certain foods can help unclog the arteries and reduce cholesterol levels.As long as the arteries remain unclogged from plaques, the risk of a heart attack is slim.
- Garlic: this sounds like a cliche now, everyone talks about the magical powers of garlic, no kidding, garlic has great medicinal value and has been linked to treating and preventing over 100 health conditions. Researchers say consuming garlic can reduce up to 50% chance of having a stroke. The smell of garlic may be pungent especially when eaten raw, but the benefits outweigh the smell. There are several ways to include garlic in your diet. You can use it as a spice for your meat, blend it and use it to cook, it can be chewed fresh or mixed with honey and lemon tea.
- Sesame seed: so many benefits are found in those tiny seeds. This food has also been found to promote heart health because it is rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, manganese, copper, calcium, fibre, zinc etc. it also has antioxidant properties and also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. The buildup of plaques is called Atherosclerosis, It can lead to serious problems if not managed. It is said that ingesting sesame oil for 45 days can naturally lower blood pressure. You can consume sesame in your smoothies, eat as a snack, use it as toppings on your burger or pepper chicken or use the oil extracted.
- Turmeric: This is another wonder-working spice. Turmeric is known for its healing ability and its use in the beauty world. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a very powerful polyphenol. It is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that helps fight swellings and infection. Curcumin is available in tablets and can be taken without prescription it can also prevent arteries from damage caused by the buildup of plaques. Various ways to ingest turmeric is adding the powder to your tea, cooking with it, blending it with fruits etc.
- Leafy green vegetables: greens like spinach and kale contain lots of magnesium and potassium, you need to consume more vegetables to get the required amount for the body. You need an average of 4700mg of potassium daily for the electrical connectivity of the nervous system and the muscle. If this is insufficient the heart can begin to have rhythm problems, off beats etc and this can lead to heart issues. Eat foods rich in potassium as it helps to reduce your blood pressure. Any person who has good blood pressure readings will never need to worry about a heart attack.
- Foods rich in vitamin B and E: one cause of heart attack is cramping, the heart is about the strongest muscle in the body, beating for about 2.5 billion times in a 70year lifespan. Just think of when you have a leg cramp, how that feels. When the heart muscle cramps like that, it’s called angina and it can cause a heart attack and death. Vitamin E keeps the heart from cramping by ensuring there’s enough oxygen in the muscles. Consume vitamin complex or eat vitamin E rich food like nuts, vegetable almonds, avocado etc.
- Salmon: this is one protein that is fully packed with vitamins, it’s a fatty fish but it’s one of the most recommended types for a healthy heart as well as fishes like mackerel, haddock, herring etc. they are full of vitamin B2 and D which helps the bones absorb calcium .fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acid and it is essential for maintaining heart health, studies show that omega 3 helps the heart stay in rhythm. Other foods that contain omega3 are walnut, canola oil, flaxseed etc.
- Beetroot: This is one fruit that often does not appear appealing on the outside but is packed with lots of nutrients. Beetroot may not be as sweet as pineapple but it remains one of my best both for cooking and smoothies. It is one of the richest sources of nitrates as it also helps with blood flow and heart health. It has proven to also help patients who already have heart problems manage their heart issues.
It appears that these heart-healthy foods are also what you need to maintain a healthy weight. Whenever you eat, think of it as directly feeding your heart, if your heart will not be glad about the unfriendly food you are eating, then you should either avoid it or cut it down to the barest minimum. Heart attacks happen when blood doesn’t get to the heart as fast as it should either because the artery is clogged by plaques or something else. Eat foods that promote blood flow and also ensure to exercise and avoid having a sedentary lifestyle.
Remember this year’s theme is to Use Heart to Connect, show compassion today by sharing this article with your community.