The heart is a powerfully built appendage originated in all vertebrates that is accountable for propelling blood all the way through the blood vessels by constant and metrical contractions. The expression cardiac means “connected to the heart” and is derived from the Greek utterance “kardia” meaning heart.
The average human heart beats at 72 beats a minute and will continue to do so in the region of 2.5 billion times in the course of a typical 66 year life time. A female heart weighs about 250 to 300 grams whereas male hearts weigh about 300 to 350 grams.
In the United States and several other countries, the leading cause of death is heart disease. Each year, the figures rise alarmingly.
To educate people on the importance of taking better care of their hearts, many health experts have written books on the redeeming values located in certain foods. Eating a balanced diet is vital. Foods filled with saturated fats must be avoided and be replaced with healthier options like fruits, vegetables, fish and fiber. You can have a healthier heart with these additions:
- Fish – Fish is a first rate source of omega 3 fatty acids and proffers protection for your heart by minimizing both swelling and the danger of blood clots. These good fats also functions to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines are perfect choices. Eat at least twice per week for a good overall balance. Fish is best when it’s grilled or bake, never deep fried. The oil that seeps into deep fried fish will destroy any potent fatty acids.
- Olive oil – Regular consumption of olive oil will diminish the risk of heart ailments and lowering your cholesterol levels. Replace other oils with olive oil for cooking, making sure to select ones which are darker in color.
- Oats – Oats have a high soluble fiber content called beta glucan that assists in the reduction of cholesterol. Soluble fiber is excellent and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Oatmeal can either be cooked or eaten as it is. Add on honey for a natural sweetener and sprinkle with fruit. Cold cereals which are oat based should be eaten with skimmed or low fat milk. Soy milk is also a good option for those who are lactose intolerant.
- Apples – An apple a day keeps the doctor away as they say. There is a lot of truth in this, as apples contain vast amounts of vitamins and fibers and are easily digestible. Apples contain querotin, a type of phytochemical which serves as an anti inflammatory. This prevents blood clots from forming in the body and greatly reduces the possibility of heart disease. Apples can be eaten on their own or added as a salad embellishment for a wholesome meals.
- Nuts – Nuts such as almonds contain high amounts of healthy oils, Vitamin E and other components that will help maintain a good cholesterol level. Nuts in general have active proteins and fibers. They are delicious snacks or a great substitute for cheese on your salads. Get into the habit of munching about a handful per day and your heart will be as strong as a horse’s.
- Red wine – The antioxidant resveratrol is evident in red wine, which is healthy for the heart. A glass with your meal, about 4 to 8 ounces has great benefits for the heart. Red wine must be taken in moderation. Too much and the effects can lead to health problems.
- Whole grains – Whole grains foods have natural sources of fibers and proteins that the heart needs to pump strongly. Whole grains cereals and bread are a fantastic substitute for white bread, which has empty calories. Switch to whole grain pastas and prepare it with a tomato-based sauce. Try to avoid cream.
- Vegetables – Green vegetables of the leafy variety contain vast quantities of foliate and Vitamin E. Studies have also pointed out that daily consumption of green leafy vegetables promote good memory and retention as we become older. Spinach is a great substitute for lettuce. Do not overcook them as all vitamins will be destroyed. Stir-frying or lightly steaming them is more beneficial as all minerals remain intact.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes contain vitamins and lycopene, a compound known to lessen the risk of heart disease. Did you know that store bought cooked tomato sauce have more lycopene than raw tomatoes? Now you do. Tomatoes can be eaten on their own, or sliced and wedged in sandwiches or as a great salad ingredient.
- Soy – The rich properties in soy are well known. Many medical journals have stated that soy can prevent the occurrence of heart disease. It is a great protein replacement for red meat, and at the same time greatly minimizes your saturated fat consumption. Soy milk can be drunk on its own or used for eating with cereals. The taste is a little different than regular milk but delicious nonetheless.
How we take care of our hearts pretty much determines our health conditions as we age. We can prolong our lives by living a lifestyle that is healthy. Never take our hearts for granted. Eat all the right foods and get plenty of exercise. Swimming is a great way to keep healthy and your weight in check. Visit your doctor yearly for annual medical check ups. Get 8 hours of sleep and drink plenty of water. Start taking care of your heart now and do not wait until it’s too late. Heart disease is a debilitating condition of which the best cure is prevention.
Stay away from fatty foods, immense amounts of alcohol and tobacco.
Eating right with all the temptations out there may not be easy, so do it one step at a time. Cut out bad foods slowly, starting with that extra bag of chips or that tub of ice cream. Start reading about low fat recipes available from the Internet, magazines and recipe books. You’ll discover that most of these dishes are easy to prepare and inexpensive.
A healthy heart is important. If you love your family, start taking care of it now.
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