Nutrition Tip: Eating for a Healthy Heart

heart attactThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that diseases of the heart remain the No. 1 cause of mortality in the United States, causing 600,000 deaths a year. Heart protective eating habits can help to lower your risk of heart disease.

Tea: People who drink three to six cups of tea a day have a 45 percent decreased risk of dying from heart disease than those who drink less than one cup daily. Tea contains potent antioxidants and flavonoids. Green or black, both appear to be equally effective.

Fiber: Those who have the highest fiber intake have a 60 percent decreased risk of dying from heart disease. Fiber improves cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure. The fiber recommendation for women is 25 grams a day; it’s 30 grams a day for men. Beans, whole grains, nuts/seeds, fruits and vegetables are all good sources of fiber.

Vegetarian diet: People who eat a diet low in animal products have 36 percent decreased risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and increased body fat, which increases the risk for heart disease. Even just going meatless one day a week can improve your health.

Fruits and Veggies: People who ate at least eight portions of fruits and vegetables a day had a 22 percent decreased risk for heart disease compared to those that ate less than three servings a day.

Whole grains: Whole grains add fiber to our diet, but they also replace the more refined grains. People who eat mostly refined grains have more adipose tissue, or belly fat, which is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

BPA: Bisphenol A is a chemical mostly found in the linings of metal food and beverage containers. People who had a higher urinary concentration of BPA also had a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. Eliminating canned foods can help lower your sodium intake as well, which will help lower blood pressure.

Vitamin D: People who have higher blood levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The best sources for vitamin D come from sunlight and vitamin D supplement.

Nuts: A daily handful of nuts can help improve lipid levels. Just remember, they also have a lot of calories so don’t overdo it.

Chocolate: Dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Stick with the 60 percent or darker chocolate, and limit yourself to 1 ounce a day.


  1. I eat meat daily and am extremely healthy.


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