Right until the last decade, we would hear stories of people 50 and above suffering from heart related conditions; though not anymore. In today’s edge-of-the-seat world, not only has the age bar for heart diseases come down drastically, but the numbers of people suffering from lifestyle disorders like coronary artery disease and diabetes, have increased alarmingly. The culprits behind these drastic changes are lifestyle, food habits, and to some extent heredity too. The genes are a part of you and one cannot do anything about it, but eating habits and lifestyle are completely modifiable and can bring about discernible changes in your heart health and overall fitness levels.
Whether its pre or post heart surgery, a low-fat, low-carb and high protein diet with plenty of water is a must. Here is a round up on the best foods you must eat once you have undergone heart surgery like angioplasty or a bypass to prevent another heart attack in the foreseeable future:
Walnuts are a great source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and have remarkable amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, which is the plant source of omega-3 fatty acid. Research has shown that daily intake of a handful of these nuts helps in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad fraction) and increasing the level of HDL (the good fraction) cholesterol.
Berries are low in calorie and are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, fiber, moisture and other micronutrients. Clinical studies have shown that ingesting berries like chokeberries, cranberries, raspberry, blueberries, and strawberries in any form brings about significant improvement in the lipid levels, reduces inflammation and helps in glucose metabolism too. A cup of berries daily is recommended for healthy heart.
Oily fishes like salmon, tuna, sardines and tuna are rich sources of omega-3-fatty acids which have anti-clotting properties thereby keeping the blood flow smooth. They also play a vital role in regulating the triglyceride levels in the body. It is advisable to have at least two servings of oily fish in a week. Although the name suggests oily fish, these fishes do not have a high calorie count; a single serving of 3.5 ounce gives only around 100-150 calories.
Oatmeal is a great source of fiber that keeps you full and away from temptations of munching on unhealthy snacks. Half a cup of oatmeal contains around 130 calories and gives 5 grams of fiber which not only helps in lowering the blood cholesterol, but also helps in regulating your body weight. Apart from oatmeal, other whole grains like barley, rye, millet, quinoa etc. are also heart healthy.
5. Soy protein
Soy protein is a great way of adding proteins to your diet rather than opting for unhealthy meat choices which are high on fats. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Studies have shown that in people having high cholesterol, soy protein clubbed with a low-fat diet, lowers cholesterol and may even help in reducing blood pressure. FDA and the American Heart Association jointly recommend eating at least 28 grams of soy protein daily to reap maximum benefits. Soybeans, soy nuts, soy milk, soy flour, tofu etc. are a great source of soy proteins.
Avocados are one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fats which helps in reducing the LDL cholesterol in body and are packed with potassium which helps in lowering the blood pressure. They are low in sugar and high on fibre and other micronutrients. 100gms of avocado contains 160 calories. Recommended serving size is of 28 grams that contains 50 calories.
There are many other heart-healthy foods apart from these, but making it a point that you include at least some of them in your meals each day along with regular exercise will bring about of the needed difference in your overall health status.