Top Ten Evidence-Based Ways to Promote Heart Health
Eat seafood! Research with nearly 1300 individuals demonstrated that consumption of fish most days of the week is associated with reductions in “bad cholesterol” and coronary artery disease risk. This means less plaque build-up in the arteries, which reduces heart attack and stroke risk.
Association of daily fish intake with serum non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and healthy lifestyle behaviours in apparently healthy males over the age of 50 years in Japanese: Implication for the anti-atherosclerotic effect of fish consumption - PubMed (nih.gov)
TIP: When making seafood choices, stick to those that are rich in Omega-3s and lower in mercury. Some great examples include salmon, shrimp, pollock, tilapia, cod and light canned tuna. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your seafood by trying tossing it into tacos, salads and rice bowls.
The incorporation of plant-based fats is associated with reductions in heart disease risk and ultimate heart-related fatality. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to obtain these benefits! Just consider incorporating some plant-based foods alongside a general diet.
TIP: A great way to incorporate plant-based fats is to swap out traditional condiments like butter and ranch dressing for olive oil and guacamole. In addition, with vegetarian taking more of a front seat in today’s lifestyles, you won’t struggle to find plant-based foods to blend into a traditional diet.
Packing your meals full of high-fiber foods is a great strategy to promote reduced total cholesterol, with direct effects on the “bad cholesterol.” These improvements lead to a significantly reduced risks for all forms of cardiovascular disease and related health complications. In addition, a high-fiber diet will contribute to a reduced risk for diabetes and promote optimal digestive health.
TIP: There are a handful of ways to boost your fiber intake! The easiest is to simply add fruits and veggies to each meal. Another idea is to strategically incorporate a blend of traditional meat sources of protein with plant-based protein options like quinoa, beans, nuts and seeds.
Individuals who have already experienced a cardiovascular event and required coronary intervention may fear that it is too late to improve heart health. Not true! A study examining the effects of introducing oats in patients demonstrated lower serum levels of inflammation markers secondary to high-fiber content, indicating reduced risk for additional heart-related health problems.
TIP: Oats do not have to be boring! There are so many ways to spice it up including delicious additions to oatmeal like dried fruit, nuts, and brown sugar. In addition, overnight oats are all the rave right now! Not a traditional oatmeal fan? No problem. Oats can be the foundation for some dessert favorites like cookies, protein balls and fruit crisps.
Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease means trying to avoid all forms of heart disease from occurring. Research has demonstrated that consistent inclusion of nuts, including walnuts, peanuts and other tree nuts, is directly correlated with reduced risk for disease of the heart.
TIPS: Nuts can be added to so many different foods including desserts, protein balls, granola, trail mixes, oatmeal, salads, and rice bowls! In addition, nut butters are a condiment packed with healthy fats that can be paired with fresh fruits, whole grains and added to smoothies.
Red wine has long been associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, reducing oxidative stress in the body. These benefits are directly and very clearly correlated with reductions in the risk for cardiovascular disease as related to elevation of “good cholesterol” and reductions in “bad cholesterol.”
TIPS: For wine lovers, this is an easy one! Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is a great way to incorporate a cocktail of benefits! Not a fan of drinking red wine? No worries. Find yourself some meals that involve cooking with red wine and you will still get the same benefits!
In a review of 39 published clinical studies, it was shown that the flavonoids found in tea lead to reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These effects on blood pressure contribute to significant reductions in cardiovascular disease risk across the board. In addition, when consumed within recommended amounts, there were no adverse effects linked to tea consumption.
TIPS: For people who just don’t like drinking plain water, tea can be a great companion! In addition to all the glory associated with the health benefits associated with tea, consumption of this popular drink also contributes to overall daily fluid intake. Hot, cold or somewhere in between—tea can be a great addition to your day!
Blueberries are often thought of as nature’s candy. In addition to the delicious sweetness we enjoy, berries also present a pretty sweet health benefit! Berries have been shown again and again in clinical research to promote a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, which in includes hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, heart attack and stroke!
TIPS: Opportunities to incorporate blueberries are endless! In addition simply eating them right out of the package, blueberries can be added to smoothies, yogurt parfaits, protein balls, salads, oatmeal, and desserts. In addition, dried blueberries are becoming more and more popular as an ingredient in trail mixes!
A Nurse’s Health Study examining over 110,000 men and women over a 4-year time frame demonstrated that replacing at least half a serving of animal-based fats such as butter, margarine, cheese egg or processed meats with avocado was associated with as much as a 22% reduction in heart disease risk. With heart disease being the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, a reduction of this magnitude has the potential to make huge impacts!
TIPS: Avocado is such a versatile food that can be incorporated in so many different waysIt is an old favorite for Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, rice bowls and nachos. But it has also become a popular companion for foods like toast, sandwiches, salads, and omelets. Plus, who can resist chips and guacamole?!
Evidence from meta-analyses suggests that there is an inverse relationship between the intake of soy-based protein and heart disease. In essence, this means that incorporating soy into your diet may reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke one day. Though media has created some fear of eating soy related to cancer risk, research shows that moderate consumption of soy-based comes with significant cardiovascular benefits and other health benefits alongside minimal adverse risk.
TIPS: Though whey protein takes the cake when it comes to athlete benefit, soy protein is a close second because it contains a similar level of the amino acid leucine, it is efficiently oxidized and it is a complete protein source containing all essential amino acids. Having said this, soy-based protein shakes or smoothies are an easy choice! In addition, with an upswing in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, it is not hard to find soy-based protein in dairy alternatives like soy milk and soy yogurt. Plus, restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon with including more soy-based protein with foods such as edamame, veggie burgers and vegetarian rice bowls.
Check out the meals offered by Clean Eatz Kitchen that are packed with these and other health-focused ingredients! We are committed to helping you achieve optimal health.