The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the link between nutrition, your immune system, and your health. Those who seem to struggle most with this illness have existing conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. The connection between nutrition and heart health just became even clearer. A recent study by the University of Washington found that almost half of deaths from cardiovascular disease can be prevented by changing what you put on your plate.
Just changing your diet and your lifestyle could change the possibility of getting heart disease. And that’s very good news when you consider that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the US and worldwide.
Find out which dietary changes will have the biggest impact on helping you lead a longer and more active life. Read through these nutrition and heart health factors and check with your doctor to see if these nutrition changes would be beneficial for you.
You can also get tested by a Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner to find out exactly what nutrients your body needs for a healthy heart..
Top Factors for Nutrition and a Healthy Heart
Go nuts. Eat more nuts and seeds. They reduce 11.6% of the risk of CVD death.
Eat more vegetables. Vegetables are a close second for good nutrition for a healthy heart. Aim for at least 7 servings a day of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. Support your local farmers’ market so you get fresh produce. And it’s usually less expensive.
Limit salt. Excess sodium can increase blood pressure, and the symptoms are often invisible. Substitute lemon, garlic, and other flavorful herbs and spices.
Eliminate trans-fatty acids. Trans-fats raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy HDL cholesterol. You can avoid them by eating fewer processed foods, especially those that list partially hydrogenated oils in their ingredients.
More Lifestyle Habits for a Healthy Heart
1. Try a Mediterranean diet. Following a Mediterranean diet guarantees heart-healthy choices. This diet consists of mostly plant-based foods, along with fish and moderate amounts of red wine.
2. Increase omega-3s. However you eat, consider adding at least 2 servings of fish a week to your diet, especially fatty types like salmon and tuna. If you’re a vegetarian, rely on flax seeds, walnuts, and beans for your omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Quit smoking. Talk with your doctor if you’re having trouble giving up tobacco on your own. Your physician can help you understand your options, including nicotine-replacement devices and support programs.
4. Use alcohol in moderation. Small quantities of alcohol may actually be good for your heart. That means up to 2 cocktails a day for men and one for women.
5. Turn off the TV. Couch potatoes are at higher risk of heart disease, strokes, and cancer. Limit your daily viewing to 2 hours or less.
6. Exercise regularly. Physical activity makes your muscles stronger, and that includes your heart. Enjoy aerobic exercise, stretching, and resistance training. Design workouts that you love and will want to stick with. If you are not able to do vigorous exercise, try Tai Chi.
7. Lose weight. Being overweight puts an extra strain on your heart, especially if those excess pounds are mostly around your waist. Slim down by eating less and exercising more. Losing just 10% of your body weight can greatly enhance your cardiovascular wellbeing.
8. Manage stress. How you deal with stress can also take a toll on your heart if you reach for junk foods, beer, and cigarettes. Learn safer ways to destress and relax. Find a stimulating hobby or listen to your favorite music.
Cutting your risk of cardiovascular conditions in half is one more worthy reason for you to get a personalized nutrition plan that is clinically designed for your body’s needs. Nutrition Response Testing is an excellent way to discover what nutrients your heart needs.