Foods to Strengthen Heart Muscle

Foods to Strengthen Heart Muscle

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The heart is actually a muscle and just like all muscles, it requires particular care to keep it strong and healthy. It is considered a muscular organ because an organ is a group of muscles that work together to perform a certain function. For the heart, it is pumping blood throughout the body. 

What Food Is Good For The Heart?

What we eat has a direct impact on how healthy we are and there are certain foods that are good for the heart. These foods help to keep arteries clear and protect the heart against damage. 

One of the best diets for heart health is the Mediterranean Diet. This diet is full of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and healthy fats like olive oil (1). It’s easy to follow because it’s balanced, flavorful and doesn’t completely cut out foods like red meats and sweets, though these are saved for special occasions. Stricter Mediterranean Diets however do cut out red meats and sweets.

The focus with the Mediterranean Diet is more about filling the plate with whole, flavorful foods, that are cooked with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt. Here are five foods to get you started on the path to heart health.

Olive Oil

This is the primary cooking fat in the Mediterranean Diet and can be used in salad dressings to roasting vegetables. It can help make blood less likely to clot.

Seafood

On the Mediterranean Diet, at least 2 servings are consumed a week. It can lower heart disease and even depression.

Legumes

Including lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas, legumes are high in protein and dietary fiber. They can be used in place of meat and are just as filling, but also are a healthier option.

Nuts And Seeds

These are eaten daily as snacks or incorporated as part of daily meals. They can lower heart disease risk and even cancer.

Leafy Greens

Vegetables are a big part of the Mediterranean Diet, but leafy greens are good for the whole body. These include kale, spinach, collard, arugula as well as the whole lettuce family and even herbs like parsley and cilantro.

What Foods Are Bad For Your Heart?

There is a list of foods that are just bad for the heart and they all boil down to three things: sugar, salt and fat. All three are known to raise the risk of heart disease. So if you are looking for a heart-healthy diet, avoid these foods:

Processed Meats

Including bacon and sausage. They are loaded with saturated fats that can raise bad cholesterol levels and are full of salt too. 

Red Meat

If you are going to eat red meat, eat lean portions like sirloin, round and extra-lean ground beef. But be careful. Red meat is high in saturated fats and can raise cholesterol.

Sugary Drinks

Soda, even diet soda, should be avoided because they are high in sugar or artificial sweeteners  which can lead to obesity, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure which contributes to heart disease.

Baked Goods

Again, this is due to high sugar. But they are often cooked with partially hydrogenated fats that contribute to heart disease.

Fried Foods

These tend to be cooked in oils that should be avoided as well as with a lot of salt.

Canned And Processed Foods

These tend to be high in sodium which can lead to heart disease.

What Foods Make Your Heart Stronger?

There are foods that can strengthen the heart, but first things first: portion control. Make sure you don’t overeat during a meal. Eating a lot of food at once shifts blood from the heart to the digestive system and can even lead to irregular heart rhythms which can lead to heart attack or even heart failure. 

The best thing to do is choose heart-healthy whole foods. What you eat has a direct impact on your health including your heart. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients you need to keep your arteries clear and your heart healthy while making it stronger.

How To Prevent a Heart Attack With Food

One of the scariest things is thinking you are having a heart attack. It’s never too late to start making healthier choices today, especially if you are at greater risk. So take a look at your family tree and see if you had a parent or sibling with heart disease and start eating better today.

To start, look at what you are eating. Check labels for the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Better yet, make eating fresh fruits and vegetables a key part to your daily meals. Try eating less meat by either lowering the amount of meat at each meal or skipping meat all together and adding more beans for a healthier protein option.

What Foods To Avoid With Heart Disease?

Heart disease happens when the heart’s major blood vessels become damaged or diseased. The blood vessels or arteries narrow or become hardened due to plaque buildup. These blocked vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Heart disease can also be caused by other conditions that affect the heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm. 

Fortunately there are foods to avoid if you have heart disease. First, make sure to avoid high-fat foods like:

  • Butter
  • Gravy
  • Fried foods
  • Junk food (think potato chips)
  • Processed food
  • Processed meats

Secondly, it’s also important to avoid foods high in sodium or to add too much salt to foods you prepare. Some items that are high in sodium that you should avoid include:

  • Packaged meals
  • Certain condiments like ketchup or mayonnaise
  • Restaurant menu items 

What Foods Help Heal Your Heart?

We listed some foods earlier that are good for the heart, but are there others that can help heal it? Fortunately, making smart choices today by eating healthier, whole foods can actually make a difference. You may notice you start feeling better by filling your body with real food, not processed junk. Besides adding more leafy greens and fruits and vegetables, here are some other items to consume more of (2):

Green Tea

This tea is full of polyphenols and catechins that protect the heart through its antioxidant abilities that protect cell damage. Studies have shown that green tea can lower LDL cholesterol as well as total cholesterol levels.

Edamame

Found in a lot of Asian cuisines, this soybean is rich in isoflavones which can lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

Garlic

Adding some garlic to your foods can help the heart. Research has shown that taking garlic extract in certain doses for a period of time can actually reduce blood pressure

Tomatoes

Loaded with lycopene, tomatoes have powerful antioxidant properties. Eating raw tomatoes can raise the good HDL levels of cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol can help remove plaque from the arteries.

Supplements That Can Help

spermidineLIFE® is a supplement which supplements spermidine in your diet. Spermidine assists the body’s natural cell renewal process through autophagy. Old, damaged cells are more likely to result in many of the symptoms we associate with aging and diseases. Spermidine is a polyamine and polyamines assist our body with cell renewal. But as we age, we often don’t consume enough through food alone to help our body keep up with what it needs. 

So while spermidine cannot cure your heart problems, it may assist the body to keep it functioning at optimal levels with a resurgence of new and healthy cells. 

 

Resources: 

  1. 5 Foods to Eat to Help Your Heart
  2. 15 Incredibly Heart Healthy Foods