About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, and death rates due to heart disease were highest in the South and lowest in the West.
Commonly, heart disease occurs later in life, and in many instances, powerful prescription medicines are the only way to stay alive and manage the disease. Considering that food choices have powerful effects on the body, it’s no wonder that eating better can also impact the development of heart disease.
Here’s a few suggestions that you might want to phase in right away to lower your risk for heart disease:
Heart Helping Snack, Nuts
Eat a handful of nuts instead of a candy bar as your mid-afternoon snack. Candy bars have zero nutrition, contain sugar that encourages inflammation and can cause sugar cravings later in the day. 12 almonds (80 calories), 6 Brazil nuts (137 calories) or 8 walnuts halves (90 calories) have been shown in studies to reduce myocardial infarction by 50%. The unsaturated fats they contain help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, but because they are high in good fats, your brain gets the message of feeling full. When enjoying nuts, keep portions small (8-12 nuts per day) since nuts are caloric.
Get Your Greens On
Adding more greens, like kale, spinach, and collards, to your diet can mean sweet things for your heart. They are all rich in folate and vitamin B6 — prevalent in leafy greens like Kale — are two highly protective nutrients because of their link in lowering blood homocysteine levels, a major cause of plaque formation by damaging arterial walls. In the study, women that get high doses of both cut their heart disease risk almost in half.
Don’t Worry Be Happy (to Protect Your Heart)
A study suggests that positive emotions can be beneficial for health because they buffer stress. And a University of Pittsburgh study from 2004 suggested that less optimistic people had a swifter progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). So find some way, every day, to smile and do something that you love!