Medical advances make heart attack, heart failure and stroke less dangerous than they were 100, 50 or 30 years ago. Yet the best ways to maintain cardiovascular health stay the same and don’t require a doctor: a healthy lifestyle that emphasizes plant-based food choices, regular exercise, stress management and no tobacco.
A good-for-you diet lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar and insulin levels. No single nutrient will make you healthy, so focus on overall habits rather than getting or avoiding specific food elements like fat, dietary cholesterol or individual vitamins.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and good fats are all part of a heart-healthy diet. Some foods, like oats and barley, contain soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol in the digestive tract and prevents it from entering the bloodstream. Others provide polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
See my next post for inexpensive food that can give your heart health a boost. If you have tips that help you make healthy living a habit, share them in the comments section.
This post was written by Robert Graham, MD, associate program director and director of resident research for the department of medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital.
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