How food impacts heart health

When there’s extra sodium in your bloodstream, it increases the blood pressure in your vessels. Likewise, when you consume an extra glass of wine for the night, it can give your irregular heartbeats! 

Diet is a significant risk factor for heart health. And because we’re driven by choices, we have an option to either eat healthily or just take tasty takeaways at all times.  

Here’s what you need to know how impacts your heart health. Take a look. 

How does food influence heart health? 

Just like how blood pressure, diabetes and weight influence heart health, diet is as important – because it influences everything else. All the significant risk factors for heart health, you name it, obesity, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, or saturated fats, are all food-related risk factors.

So, the gateway to improved heart health starts by eating healthy and switching to healthier choices. 

Why? Because, even as little as consuming an extra tablespoon of salt than the recommended level, can overstretch your blood vessels and speed up the build-up of plague, causing nothing but increased risk to heart attacks.

The gateway to improved heart health starts by eating healthy and switching to healthier choices.

In fact, a study concluded that more than two-thirds of heart disease worldwide is linked to making unhealthy food choices. 

Choosing to eat right will help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. It will maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for diabetes and all other major contributors to heart disease and strokes. 

Here’s what you need to take a look at: 

1) Alcohol 

A man saying no to alcohol to reduce the risk of alcohol in heart health

According to a New York Times reporting, consuming even as little as one can of beer or a glass of wine increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmia. And with continuing consumption, the odds of developing heart disease will only increase.  

At the time of drinking, alcohol causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which is temporary. However, in the long run, when consumption is way above the recommended intake, it will cause weakened heart muscle and irregular heartbeat, both leading to heart disease. 

According to the Heart Foundation, if you’re healthy, keep your alcohol consumption to not more than 10 standard drinks per week. And if you’re at some risk, further limit it down. 

2) Added sugar 

a spoonful of sugar behind a back screen showing consuming added sugar is unhealthy for heart health

Snacks, beverages, sweet treats, chocolates, drinks, you name it – added sugar is everywhere. While it is impossible to completely get rid of it, too much added sugar is one of the biggest threats to cardiovascular health. 

Sugar naturally occurs in all food, including all fruits, vegetables and dairy. Consuming whole food with naturally occurring sugar is fine. But when you consume too much added sugar through process food and others, it causes heightened blood pressure and increased inflammation; both of which are leading causes of heart disease. 

3) Starchy Snacks 

Eating starchy snacks like chips can increase the risk fo heart disease

You might be surprised but, reaching for starchy snacks every time you feel hungry can increase the risk for heart disease by 50%. At the same time, snacking with fruits or healthier choices will help you owe your BMI and reduce your risk from heart disease, of not cancer too. 

4) Bad fats 

French fries had bad fats that can increase your risk for heart disease

Not all fat is bad for your heart health. Just like carbs and proteins, fat is also a nutrient required to absorb vitamins and protect your heart and brain health. 

However, it is essential to distinguish between bad and good fats. For instance, trans and saturated fats are blamed for almost all heart health risk factors – clogged arteries, weight gain, and increased risk of other diseases. 

However, when you know what fats are good for your health, you’ll be able to improve your heart health by choosing to consume the good ones. 

Use any plant-based oil for cooking, especially olive oil. Consume nuts such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, avocados are amazing, tofu and soy milk. 

Avoid fried takeaways, stick margarine, fresh fries, chicken nuggets, snacks, baked pastries and cookies bought from markets and stores. 

Bottomline 

  • The gateway to a healthy heart starts by eating a balanced diet, loaded with the goodness of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. 
  • Enjoy a wide variety of food, that is low in salt and fats, added sugar and rich in whole grains and unprocessed food. 
  • While almost all Australians fails to get adequately, the road to a healthy heart starts with more visits to your local fruits and vegetable markets. 

For any heart health concerns, come and see our doctors.