World Heart Day is being celebrated around the globe today, i.e. September 29. The day is observed to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke, as well as how to prevent them. According to the official website of the World Heart Federation, the theme for World Heart Day 2018 is “My Heart, Your Heart”. The theme is aimed at encouraging people to look after their own hearts and the hearts of their loved ones. This year round, World Heart Federation is asking people to say to themselves, the people they care about and individuals around the world, “what can I do right now to look after MY HEART… and YOUR HEART?” The theme resonates with professional cardiology and healthcare audiences to look after ‘all our hearts’. Diet has a big role to play in the well-being and health of the heart. What you eat lays the foundation for a healthy or unhealthy heart, which may ultimately end up determining your overall well-being and longevity.
There are certain foods that you should include in our diets, to ensure a smooth and healthy functioning of our hearts. At the same time, there are foods that harm us and lead to a number of health complications and illnesses and our hearts are better off without these. This World Health Day, let us all take a pledge to purge our diets of foods that are unhealthy for our heart and eat more foods that make it healthier.
Here’s a list of heart healthy foods which all of us should start adding to our diets, starting today, i.e., World Heart Day 2018:
1. Amla or Indian Gooseberry: The Indian gooseberry is rich in vitamin C, which is one of the best nutrients to consume for a healthy heart. Other vitamin C rich foods include oranges and lemons.
World Heart Day 2018: Amla contains vitamin C
2. Soy: Foods made from soy, including tofu and soy milk etc., are also great for the heart, as these are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, as well as proteins and polyunsaturated fats. The last nutrient in particular helps in lowering the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood, reducing risks of heart diseases.
3. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, acai berries etc., are extremely rich in antioxidants, which help in reducing inflammation and reduce risks of heart diseases. Blueberries contain anthocanins, which are antioxidants important for lowering cholesterol levels.
4. Fatty Fish: Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for a healthy heart. Fatty fish like salmon is rich in this essential nutrient and including it in your diet is great for your heart. Some common vegetarian sources of omega 3 include chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, etc.
5. Oatmeal: This basic breakfast might just help in preventing a potentially fatal condition by protecting your heart. Oats are very rich in soluble fibre, which is key to maintaining a healthy heart. Oats also contain beta glucan, which fights build-up of fats or lipids in the body.
6. Nuts: Almonds, walnuts etc., are rich in vitamin E, which fights increase in bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases.
7. Olive Oil: Your cooking oil makes a world of difference to your heart health and using olive oil for cooking is great for your heart due to the presence of high amounts of MUFA or mono unsaturated fatty acids in it.
8. Spinach: Green vegetables are generally healthy for you, as they help in management in your weight, but spinach is particularly great for your heart. It is rich in carotenoids which fight oxidative stress in the body, as well as folic acid, which prevents the hardening of arteries.
9. Pumpkin Seeds: Magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds can protect your heart by keeping the heart rhythm steady and lowering blood pressure, besides maintaining other heart functions.
10. Apples: An apple a day may keep your heart functioning well, because this humble fruit contains the flavonoid quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and fights plaque build-up.