Heart Healthy Diet: 3 Foods to Eat and 2 Foods to Avoid

Heart Healthy Diet: 3 Foods to Eat and 2 Foods to Avoid




Did you know that ischaemic heart diseases (heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries) are one of the leading causes of death globally? Beyond avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking, and embracing healthy ones such as exercising and improving sleep health, one of the best ways to prevent ischaemic heart diseases is to eat healthy.

In this article, we’ll share 3 foods to eat and 2 foods to avoid to ensure a healthy heart.


Include in Your Diet: Green Leafy Vegetables



A study conducted by cancer researchers over a 23-year period, discovered that people who ate the most nitrate-rich vegetables, especially leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce, had a 12% to 26% lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

When nitrate-rich foods are consumed, the body converts them into nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes and widens heart vessels.

Besides their benefits to heart health, green leafy vegetables are great sources for nutrition. Greens such as kale and spinach are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, and others such as broccoli and bok choy are rich in many of the B-vitamins.

In addition, they also contain a great amount of carotenoids-antioxidants that protect cells and play roles in blocking the early stages of cancer.


Avoid or Limit: Refined Carbohydrates



Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose which, after being converted to energy, supports many of the body’s functions.

Unfortunately carbohydrates are found in a variety of healthy and unhealthy foods.

Healthy sources of carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fibre, and a host of important phytonutrients.

Unhealthy sources of carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries and other highly processed goods have all the essential nutrients stripped out and are easily digestible. As a result, they increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and may even interfere with weight loss.


Include in Your Diet: Fish



Meat contains essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals. However, some meats, especially red or processed meats, have a significant amount of saturated fat, which, if consumed in large quantities, can raise blood cholesterol levels.

Fish is an excellent alternative to meat and can be prepared in various ways, making it a versatile ingredient. Not only is it low in saturated fat and calories, some fish varieties, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for mental and physical health. .

Aside from omega-3 fatty acids and protein, fish also contains many healthy minerals such as iron, iodine, selenium and zinc.


Avoid or Limit: Sweets



Diabetes is the second leading cause of ill health in Singapore, and is associated with serious complications such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and more.

High sugar diets have been known to increase the risk of diabetes. In fact, in a 2018 local review which included studies on Asian populations, it was found that every additional 250ml serving of sugar-sugar sweetened beverages daily increases individuals’ risk of diabetes by as much as 26 per cent.

We mention this as a clarion call on the dangers of consuming too much sugar, refined carbs, and highly processed foods.


Add to Meal: Whole Grain



Unlike refined grains that lose valuable nutrients during the refining process, whole grains provide a comprehensive range of health benefits as a complete package. Instead of white grain products such as white bread, baked goods with refined flour, and regular pasta, consider whole grain options such as whole meal bread, whole wheat flour and brown rice.

This is because they retain essential nutrients and minerals not limited to fibre, magnesium and selenium, all of which have positive effects on our bodies.

For example, fibre helps lower cholesterol and may prevent the formation of blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. Essential minerals like magnesium and copper may protect against some cancers.


Final Thoughts

Aside from reducing the risk of heart diseases, following a heart-healthy diet offers numerous benefits including improving weight management and lowering the risk of some cancers. It all begins with selecting the appropriate foods that can aid in the process.

If you are struggling with cultivating healthy eating habits, consider signing up for our ReCulture 60 programme. It entails a comprehensive health scan with suggestions for exercise and recommendations for supplements tailored for your optimal health.

In addition, you’ll be provided 48 days of meals and be assigned a wellness coach to help you stay on track. Reach out to us If you wish to learn more about the ReCulture 60 programme.

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