Keep your heart beating for those you love by feeding it the best ingredients for heart health.
One in six Australians is affected by cardiovascular disease, accounting for more than 3.7 million Australians[i], according to the National Heart Foundation of Australia.
Dr Jason Kaplan, Integrative and Preventive Cardiologist says there are plenty of simple things you can do to ward of heart disease.
We all know that lack of exercise, poor diet and other unhealthy habits can take their toll but there are some ingredients that have been shown to help keep your ticker ticking.
Seven foods that have been shown to keep our heart healthy include:
Yes it really is true. An apple a day could keep the heart doctor away! Apples are full of antioxidants, which combat free radicals. Free radicals are damaging substances generated in the body. A study by the University of Florida found older women who starting a regime of eating apples daily experienced a 23 percent drop in levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and a 4% increase in good cholesterol (HDL) after just six months.[ii]
But it’s not just apples. A Chinese study shows eating a variety of fresh fruits daily may lower the risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death. [iii] This large study involved 512,891 adults aged 30-79. People who ate fresh fruits daily had lower blood pressure and glucose levels, as well as lower risks for heart attack and stroke.
Blueberries might be the best fruit of all. High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to arterial stiffness thereby increasing cardiovascular disease risk. A recent study[iv] showed that daily consumption of blueberries may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, thus showing positive benefits for people with heart disease. Sprinkle blueberries over your breakfast oats or add them to a mid-morning smoothie.
Garlic isn’t just for flavor or keeping the vampires away! It could also be the ‘silver bullet’ for people with high blood pressure too and general good health.
Specially formulated Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is made from organic cloves of garlic, aged for up to 20-months in a special process to lock in the antioxidants and other goodies. Ageing thankfully also eliminated the garlic odour too.
A new study[v] has found that Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract significantly reduces blood pressure in adults with uncontrolled hypertension, offering hope to those who don’t respond well to prescription medications or would prefer a natural therapy. Remember to speak to your doctor about taking Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract specifically for hypertension so you can be monitored appropriately.
- Oily Fish
Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat has been shown to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL-cholesterol levels, improves blood vessel elasticity and thins the blood, making it less likely to clot and block blood flow. It is advisable to aim for 2 – 3 serves of oily fish per week.
A recent study, by the EpidStat Institute in Washington, foundOmega-3 fatty acids in fish and dietary supplements are associated with lower risk of heart disease.[vi]
Eating fish fights heart disease in several ways. The omega-3 fats in fish protect the heart against the development of cardiac rhythm disturbances. They also lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve blood vessel function, and, at higher doses, lower triglycerides and may ease inflammation.
Studies show that nuts have great heart benefits. One study showed that simply adding 30 grams of nuts per day to a Mediterranean-style diet lowers risk of heart disease by 30 percent.[vii] Nuts are a handy and filling snack to carry with you. The best nuts to prevent heart disease are almonds, pecans and walnuts.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. [viii]
Researchers have looked at the specific potential of a compound found in broccoli, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), for heart health. A study found the compound it may provide cardiac protection.[ix]
Remember to watch your salt intake too. Less is more! High-salt diets increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke. Most of us consume more than ten times the amount of salt we need to meet our sodium requirements (salt contains sodium and chloride). Avoiding processed food will dramatically help to reduce your daily salt intake. Remember fresh is always best!
Talk to your health practitioner about how to take care of your heart with foods and supplements for your individual circumstance. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.
by cardiologist Dr Jason Kaplan
ABOUT DR JASON KAPLAN
BSc(Med) MBBS(Hons) FRACP FCSANZ
Dr Jason Kaplan is a specialist adult cardiologist and physician. He studied Medicine at the University of New South Wales and graduated with Honours in 1999 then completed his Internal Medicine Training at St George and Prince of Wales hospitals, and Adult his Cardiology training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Prior to training in cardiology, Dr Kaplan completed additional advanced training in medical oncology and pharmacology. His training in these areas allows Dr Kaplan to adopt a more holistic approach to patient care, particularly those with multiple medical issues.
Dr Kaplan is currently Clinical Lead of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Medicine at Macquarie University and is a clinical lecturer in Medicine and Cardiology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students
[v] The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial – Dove Press Integrated Blood Pressure Control Jan 25, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26869811