Heart foods: Best food for a healthy heart

Heart foods: Best food for a healthy heart

05 Mar 2022

Around 6.2% of Australian adults, or 1.2 million, have experienced one or more conditions related to the heart (1). This underpins the importance of giving our hearts that extra TLC to help us live healthy and fulfilling daily lives.

A poor diet is actually one of the leading risk factors for heart disease in Australia. The food that we eat and drink could cause heart complications such as diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol (2). With that in mind, incorporating a better and healthier diet into our lives doesn’t only ensure better heart health, but it also has many other benefits to our overall health and lifestyle.

Now, here are some of the best food for the heart to keep it healthy:

Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains

Yes, you guessed it! Every well-balanced and healthy diet needs to have vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods for your heart, and you can get your daily vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants from them as well (2).  

Including whole grain foods like brown rice, grainy bread, pasta, oats, and wholemeal pasta into your diet can do wonders as well, as they are rich in fibre and can help lower cholesterol (2, 3).

Proteins

Many of us are already acquainted with the general health idea that having a protein-rich diet is a great way to keep your muscles strong and healthy. Well, the same goes for keeping the heart strong and healthy!

It’s best to incorporate protein sources like eggs, poultry, fish and seafood, as well as plant-based proteins like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, and seeds. These foods have shown to help reduce the risk of developing heart diseases (2).

If you like to eat red meat, it may be best to reduce your intake to just 1-3 servings per week as there is evidence that red meat could increase the chance of developing heart disease (4). To be on the safer side, going for red meat or pork meat that’s at least 93% lean is a better option to have when taking your heart health into consideration (4).

Fats

This may come off as a surprise to some of you, but yes, certain fats are indeed some of the best foods that you could get to keep your heart healthy.

When including these healthy fats into your diet, make sure that you are consuming monosaturated fats; this comes from olive oil, and nut oil. Other food sources like fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, contain polysaturated fats which is also a great choice to keep your heart healthy. Monosaturated and polysaturated fats could help lower your blood cholesterol, but be careful not to over consume it as these fats are high in calories (3).

Foods to avoid

The options are plentiful when it comes to the best foods for our heart, but there are just as many that can be damaging. Given that we’ve mentioned some of the best foods for a healthy heart, here are some foods that you might want to avoid.

Refined grain products

Think of refined grain products as the opposite of whole-grain products. These foods lack the fibre and other nutrient profile required to help regulate blood pressure and heart health. Some examples of refined grain products include:

  • White bread
  • White flour
  • Biscuits
  • Muffins
  • Waffles (3)

Unhealthy fats

The fats that many healthy individuals are concerned about are actually trans fat and saturated fat. Trans fat needs to be completely avoided, while saturated fat should be less than 6% of your daily calorie intake (3, 4). Some ways you could lessen your saturated fat intake is by trimming the fat off your meat and pork, using less butter, margarine, and using low-fat substitutions when cooking (3, 4).

Salty food

Consuming too much salt isn’t good for your heart as it can lead to health complications like high blood pressure (3). Of course, a good way to lessen your salt consumption is by simply using less salt when cooking or by not adding more salt to your cooked food. Apart from this, you should also be careful with the canned and processed foods you consume. Baked goods, soups, and frozen dinners usually have high sodium levels to keep them from spoiling, so it’s best to check the nutrition label before consuming these kinds of food (3).

Supplement your heart to keep it full and healthy

With there being so many things to take into consideration when choosing the best food for our heart, it tends to be overwhelming. So if you’re looking for an easier and more convenient way to ensure that your heart is getting what it needs to function optimally, then you should consider supplementation.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a potent natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that acts to reduce free radicals formed in the body, as well as helps to maintain endurance and performance when exercising (5).

Magnesium

Evidence supports an adequate intake of magnesium has a protective effect against the development of cardiovascular disease, and in the heart, magnesium induces vascular smooth-muscle cell relaxation (6).

Acetyl L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine may protect against ischemic heart injury by scavenging free radicals or preventing their formation in cardiac muscle, and the concentration of L-carnitine in the heart is more than 3 times of muscles (7).

Fish oil

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil cannot be produced in the human body, and is one of the most consumed dietary supplements. Fish oils have been extensively studied, revealing their key action in exerting anti-inflammatory effects, maintaining and supporting heart and brain health (8).

If you are looking to compliment your healthy lifestyle with a monthly vitamin subscription, Vitable Australia may just be the right thing for you. Now you can have your very own personalised daily vitamin packs delivered straight to your doorstep. These multivitamin packs can provide the right boost you need to make the most out of your everyday life.

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

1. Heart, stroke and vascular disease - Australian facts. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Published on https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/hsvd-facts/contents/about Accessed February 10, 2022.

2. Heart Foundation. “Healthy eating to protect your heart”. Heart Foundation. Published (n.d.) on https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/healthy-eating. Accessed December 19, 2021.

2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease”. Mayo Clinic. Published (n.d.) on https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702. Accessed December 19, 2021.

3. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Heart Healthy Foods: Shopping List”. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Published (n.d.) on https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/health-conditions/heart-health/heart-healthy-foods-shopping-list. Accessed December 19, 2021.

4. Vitable.”Astaxanthin”.Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/astaxanthin. Accessed December 19, 2021.

5. Vitable.”Magnesium”.Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/magnesium. Accessed December 19, 2021.

6. Vitable.”Acetyl L-Carnitine”.Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/acetyl-l-carnitine. Accessed December 19, 2021.

7. Vitable.”Fish oil”.Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/fish-oil. Accessed December 19, 2021.