7 Foods That Can Help Prevent Heart Disease

Eating well doesn’t just benefit our waist lines. In order to live a long and propserous life, our food choices matter. Rescu talks to specialist adult cardiologist and physician, Dr Jason Kaplan about the 7 foods that have been proven to help prevent heart disease. Add these foods into your diet for a happy, healthy heart!

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There is no ‘magic’ pill that can cure heart disease but there are many ways to help prevent it.

Cardiovascular disease is one of Australia’s largest health problems affecting one in six Australians or 4.2 million[i] but it is largely preventable through diet and lifestyle.

We all know we need to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise but some foods, in particular, can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.

Seven foods that best protect against heart disease include:

Oats

In addition to containing necessary dietary fiber, studies[ii] show that oats have unique anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce coronary heart disease. B-Glucan in oats reduces bad cholesterol. Keep your heart healthy by starting your day with a bowl of porridge.

Blueberries

High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to arterial stiffness thereby increasing cardiovascular disease risk. A recent study[iii] showed that daily consumption of blueberries may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, thus showing positive benefits for people with heart disease. Sprinkle blueberries over your breakfast oats or add them to a mid-morning smoothie.

Garlic

Garlic may be your secret ingredient to great tasting meals but it also holds many more secret for your heart health. It’s the aged extract of garlic that is really showing promise for people wanting to ward off heart disease.

A new study1 has found that Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract significantly reduces blood pressure in adults with uncontrolled hypertension, offering hope to those who don’t respond well to prescription medications or would prefer a natural therapy. Remember to speak to your doctor about taking Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract specifically for hypertension so you can be monitored appropriately.

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Oily Fish

Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat has been shown to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL-cholesterol levels, improves blood vessel elasticity and thins the blood, making it less likely to clot and block blood flow. It is advisable to aim for 2 – 3 serves of oily fish per week.

Fruit & Vegetables

Antioxidants in fruit and vegetables offer protection against heart disease. Fruit and vegetables are also important sources of folate, which helps lower the blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which appears to be linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Fill your plate up with a mix of colourful fresh vegetables and aim for two pieces of fruit per day.

Nuts

Studies show that nuts have great heart benefits. One study showed that simply adding 30 grams of nuts per day to a Mediterranean-style diet lowers risk of heart disease by 30 percent.[iv] Nuts are a handy and filling snack to carry with you. The best nuts to prevent heart disease are almonds, pecans and walnuts.

Watch your salt intake

Sometimes less is more! High-salt diets increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke. Most of us consume more than ten times the amount of salt we need to meet our sodium requirements (salt contains sodium and chloride). Avoiding processed food will dramatically help to reduce your daily salt intake. Remember fresh is always best!

Talk to your health practitioner about how to take care of your heart with foods and supplements for your individual circumstance. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.

[i] https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26253816

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25578927

[iv] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24075767

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