If you are eating poorly, your body will bear the brunt of it for decades to come, and most importantly, your heart will suffer because of it. The health of the heart and the arteries supplying the heart depends on the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) present in the blood that forms plaques and impedes the flow of blood.
These plaques can also break off from the arterial wall, and occlude vessels elsewhere—for example, heart thus causing heart attack, or even the brain, thereby causing a stroke.
Naturally, the bad cholesterol (LDL) is present in the blood because of poor diet and consumption of oily food with high cholesterol. Moreover, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and smoking accentuate the high LDL level and increase the probability of heart disease. So what can you incorporate in your diet that will combat this high LDL level? Read on to find out:
- Berries: studies have determined that consumption of berries can help lower the bad cholesterol, control blood pressure and normalize the body mass index. 1 or 2 portions daily of strawberries, blueberries or raspberries can decrease the overall risk of heart diseases.
- Green vegetables: leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, collards, are not only rich in vitamin D and K, but they also decrease the calcium deposits in the vessels and improve vascular health overall. This was supported by a meta-analysis, which showed a decrease in 16 per cent in heart-related deaths in people who had a diet rich in greens.
- Nuts and seeds: one way to combat LDL and bad cholesterol is to increase the consumption of good cholesterol—HDL. The good cholesterol helps to improve cardiovascular health and decrease the LDL levels. Moreover, it reduces the level of inflammation in the body, decreases insulin resistance and helps in weight reduction. Good choices for consumption include walnuts that have a high omega-3 fatty acid content and seeds like flax seeds and chia seeds which have innumerable advantages even other than the heart-related benefits. One serving a day of these can decrease the risk of death by cardiovascular cause by 39 per cent.
- Tomatoes: Coloured vegetables are especially good for the body and tomatoes are no exception. Tomatoes are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene that fights the inflammatory changes in the body. Furthermore, lycopene reverses the damage caused by oxidative stressors and free radicles that damage cellular walls and vascular structure. Another way tomatoes are helpful is that they increase HDL i.e. the good cholesterol in overweight women—however, they must be eaten raw for this benefit.
Yet cooking does not decrease the overall nutritional value of tomatoes—rather it just increases it by doubling the amount of lycopene that was available in the raw state. Incorporate tomato based salads in the diet, add it in sandwiches or cook yourself a tomato stew, but do take advantage of this gem from nature.
If you are worried about your heart health, then seek professional help to put your mind at ease. Book an appointment with a top cardiologist in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.