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Food that's good
for a healthy heart
conundrum: While experts agree that high cholesterol and blood
pressure are crucial heart disease risk factors, many people who
suffer chest pain or even heart attacks have levels that are
perfectly normal. This puzzle has prompted researchers to scour
the body for other cardiovascular villains. Several have emerged
in recent years, but the one that stands out the most is
The latest studies suggest that chronic inflammation of the lining of
arteries is an important factor in the development of
atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. What causes this
inflammation is not clear, but the good news is that (1) the
advice that is given for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure
and triglycerides also works fine for fighting inflammation; and
(2) you can tackle all 4 culprits with the help of dietary
weapons. In fact, you can plan your war against heart disease in
your kitchen. Here is how:
1. Think like an artist when you choose fruits and vegetables: Eat those
with the brightest colors. They have the most heart protective
antioxidant pigments. A diet high in fruits and veggies also
provides another important heart benefit, salicylic acid, which
is the same anti-inflammatory compound created when aspirin is
broken down in the body.
2. Increase food sources of omega-3 fatty acids which target high
triglycerides in the blood. Good sources of omega-3s include
fish such as sardines, mackerel; nuts and seeds; green leafy
vegetables; grains like wheat, bajra; legumes like rajma,
cowpea, and black gram.
3. Reduce the amount of meats you eat, especially red meats, and always
select lean cuts. Use meat as a seasoning for vegetable dishes
rather than the focal point of a meal.
4. Cut down on salt and instead use herbs and spices like ginger, garlic,
turmeric and fenugreek liberally in your cooking; the first
three are naturally anti-inflammatory and the last has soluble
fibre which helps sweep away cholesterol from the arteries.
5. Shift to groundnut, mustard, rice bran and olive oils which contain
monosaturated fatty acids that help lower (bad) LDL and maintain
levels of (good) HDL cholesterol. Drastically limit margarine,
vegetable shortening, butter and all products made with
partially hydrogenated oils.
6. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains (wheat, brown rice, oats), beans and
pulses, are also great sources of soluble and insoluble fibre,
which trap LDLs and usher them out of the body.
For more information on healthy heart diet, visit this:
About the author:
Alicia Caldelas for
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