One of the best ways to improve your heart health is to change what you are eating. In my book, Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living, I recommend an anti-inflammatory diet because so many of the symptoms of heart disease are due to inflammation in the body. While inflammation is a normal part of the healing process, low levels of constant inflammation in the blood vessels can cause damage that can lead to high blood pressure or clogging of the arteries with plaque causing atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Inflammation occurs when there is damage to a cell or organ in the body. The immune system responds by releasing chemical signals in the damaged area to begin and complete the healing process. When there is long term inflammation, instead of creating healing, the chemical messengers and the immune system actually cause tissue damage and destruction.
One of the best ways to shift the body into these healing pathways is through the foods that you eat. Drinking water is also a crucial part of the anti-inflammatory process.
Fiber is one of the best things to support a healthy heart. Fiber is found in ALL plant-based foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and whole grains. Changing your diet to include plant-based foods being up to 80% of your diet can make all the difference. President Bill Clinton became a vegan after his heart problems. I’m not asking you to become a vegan just to eat more fiber based foods.
Foods that promote a healthy heart are foods that are the colors of the rainbow. Where do you find these foods? In fruits and vegetables of course! You also want to focus on whole grains (millet, basmati rice, rye, barley, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, buckwheat, oats, brown rice,wild rice, teff) instead of highly processed foods. Cold water fish a few times a week are a great source of healthy proteins and good fats. Healthy oils are also important such as avocados, olives and olive oil, sunflower and safflower oils. Other choices for lean proteins are good choices as well.
There are also some foods that need to be avoided to decrease inflammation. These include alcohol, caffeinated beverages, corn products, eggs, fried foods, milk and dairy products, night shade family fruits and vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes – all except for sweet potatoes), peanuts and peanut butter, pork, red meats (that haven’t been farm raised), refined foods, sugar and products with high amounts of sugar, wheat products and processed foods.
If you need more specifics you can download my book for more details and plenty of recipe suggestions.
Dr. Daemon Jones