Eating Red: 10 Red Wholefoods To Eat For A Healthy Heart
Follow your Heart
Heart disease is no subject to take lightly. Health data compiled from more than 190 countries show heart disease remains the No. 1 global cause of death with 17.3 million deaths each year, according to “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2015 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association.”
While I’m no medical expert, the facts presented in this post are the outcome of various clinical studies and research, links of which you can find at the bottom.
veggiesavvy.com tries to keep it casual most of the time. I personally don’t want to burden you with a ton of information that you don’t know what to do with, so we will just stick to the basics and definitely end on a positive note! A healthy heart is the goal!
It’s truly important to love your body and take good care of it. It’s the vehicle that is going to carry you through life and you need to keep it in good condition! The best way to keep your body healthy is through proper nutrition. Many people, including myself, have fallen into the trap of only caring when something is wrong. But that is not the way to do it. Why fill your body with chemicals when all you have to do in the first place is exercise and eat right?
Your heart is the size of your fist and the strongest muscle in your body. A healthy heart should be your number one priority. According to experts, a plant-based diet is the only diet that has been proven to halt or in some cases reverse chronic conditions such as heart disease. There is a large number of wholefoods you can eat to promote a healthy heart.
- Cardiovascular operations and procedures increased about 28 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to federal data, totaling about 7.6 million in 2010.
- The number of people who go to the hospital for heart disease every year is about 3.7 million. On average, these people stay in the hospital for 4.6 days. And a whopping 12.4 million people make heart disease-related visits to their physicians every year.
Behaviors that put your heart at risk
- Lack of Exercise: People who don’t exercise are 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease than people who exercise regularly.
- Smoking: people who smoke are two to four times as likely to develop heart disease as non-smokers.
- Drinking alcohol excessively: People who binge drink or drink heavily are two times more likely to have a fatal heart attack as people who don’t.
- Poor dietary habits: People with a diet high in saturated fat are 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease than people who eat a healthy, low-fat diet.
Eating Red: 10 Red Wholefoods To Eat For A Healthy Heart
We promote a healthy heart through our dietary habits. A wholefood plant-based diet is the best way to regulate your intake of saturated fats.
Saturated fat in meat has long been linked to heart disease. Bacteria in the intestines convert carnitine, a protein building block that’s especially plentiful in beef, lamb, and venison, into compounds that speed up hardening and thickening of artery walls.
Plant-based diets can do more than just prevent heart disease. Studies by Dean Ornish, M.D., and Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., show that low-fat plant-based diets can actually reopen blocked arteries and reverse even severe cases of heart disease.
Why not switch from red meat to red fruit and vegetables? It will help you maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels, adequate and stable weight as well as a healthy heart! Let’s take a look!
Tart Cherries contain many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and its juice aids in cancer prevention and heart health and as an anti-inflammatory, which can help alleviate a variety of ailments like asthma symptoms and pain.
One cup of tart cherries can provide you with 39% of the daily suggested intake of vitamin A.
Tomatoes are also high in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant!
Lentils are packed with cholesterol-lowering fiber. One study found that heart attack survivors who added fiber to their diet lowered their risk of a recurrence by 35 percent.
Added bonus: One cup of red lentils has 18 g of protein!
Berries contain anthocyanins, which are colorful pigments that protect our cells, including those that support cardiovascular health. Daily fruit consumption may decrease the risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent. Add berries to your oatmeal or even on top of your vegetables!
Red chard, like other greens, is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can protect the cardiovascular system.
Some hypertension is due to pro-inflammatory enzymes within the body, which the organic compounds in chard are able to neutralize. Therefore, chard protects those who eat it from a variety of conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Whole grains, like quinoa, may have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. One major meta-analysis found that those who consume the most whole grains have the lowest risk for heart disease.
When you eat quinoa and other foods that lower your LDL cholesterol, you slow down the rate of atherosclerosis and reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and heart attacks.
Quinoa is a heart-healthy alternative to meat and other protein sources that are high in saturated fats.
Beets are rich in betaine, a compound demonstrated to protect blood vessels from artery-clogging plague.
One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.
The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
You’d be happy to know that one cup of whole strawberries provides 141% of your vitamin C daily suggested intake!
Antioxidants in strawberries can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol as part of a diet low in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, as demonstrated by David Jenkins, MD, PhD, in a recent study published in the scientific journal, Metabolism.
Strawberries are also rich in groups of plant chemicals called flavonoids. These include substances such as anthocyanins which compounds responsible for the rich red color of strawberries. And polyphenols such as ellagic acid. These plant chemicals (also called phytochemicals) may help reduce the damage by free radicals that contributes to heart disease.
One cup of kidney beans contains 44% of the fiber you need daily!
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as kidney beans, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.
Red potatoes are a great source of both Vitamin B-6 and potassium! Consuming red potatoes can be a great way to promote a healthy heart!
A large red potato boosts your potassium intake by 1,679 milligrams of potassium, or 36 percent of the recommended daily intake. It also contains 6.3 grams of dietary fiber — 17 and 24 percent of the daily recommended intakes for men and women, respectively. Fiber lowers your blood cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of coronary artery disease.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Heart
Achieve a healthy heart by following a plant-based diet. Nature produces everything you require to remain healthy and prevent chronic conditions. Stay clear of processed foods. They are high in saturated fats which are the source of many health problems. Place your faith in the hands of nature and you will definitely come out a winner.
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