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Why Plant-Based Foods Are Good For Your Heart

13 August, 2019

, Heart

Well, they say the way to your heart is through your stomach, and perhaps it is time to rephrase it; the way to a healthy heart is through plant-based foods. A recent article published in ScienceDaily, quoting sources from the American Heart Association, mentions that people who eat more of plant-based foods, and lesser animal foods have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Heart diseases, especially the blocks, strokes, and attacks are on the rise, and even many young people are susceptible to it, mainly due to their diet and lifestyle. However, in the older generation, the chances of heart disease are more as it is also linked to other diseases like diabetes and blood pressure, which is common in that age range. You may recollect that India lost two ex-Delhi CMs (Sheila Dixit and Sushma Swaraj) recently to cardiac arrests. So, it is always better to take care of the heart to the extent possible and try to eliminate the possibilities of cardiovascular diseases.

Heart Health Studies

The article quotes the study as having reviewed the food intake database of over 10,000 middle-aged adults from the US. These were monitored for the period 1987 to 2016, and none of them had cardiovascular diseases when the study began. The participants were categorized based on their food habits of being plant-based and animal-based. The findings were that those participants who were more on plant-based food diet were having:

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failures, etc. by 16%.
  • 32% lesser risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases
  • Lower risk of 25%  of death from any cause as compared to the people who consumed a minimum of plant-based foods

Hence, lead researchers who were part of the study conclude that one does not have to give up on animal foods totally; but that changing one’s diet around to include a more substantial portion of plant-based foods can certainly be more beneficial. They further suggest that one should focus more on nutrition and include foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains or cereals. However, this is to be taken into account with a word of caution. One should choose foods rich in nutrition and low in added sugars, sodium (salt), cholesterol and saturated and trans fats.

Diet Tips

Considering the above, here are a few diet tips that you can follow to ensure that you have a healthy heart and a healthy life. Please include more of fiber in the daily diet like whole grains or cereals, pulses, and fruits like pears, oranges, melons. In vegetables, tomatoes, greens, onions, carrots, and broccoli, etc. are a good option, especially as salads. People who have diabetes can eat oranges, berries, papaya, limes, pear, avocados, and apple. Salads made of sprouts with one or two vegetables thrown in are an excellent healthy option. Legumes, especially beans, are also a good option.

Nuts are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, which usually people get from seafood. Hence, when you shift to plant-based foods, you get almonds and walnuts, which are good, even for people with diabetes. A few other nuts like cashews and peanuts can also be taken in moderation. Even seeds like flax seeds and Chia seeds are good for your heart, as they also contain omega 3 fatty acids. Also, garlic should be included in the daily cooking, and in India, garlic is mostly used in many dishes.

So, start taking good care of your heart, and stick to a plant-based diet to the extent possible, while keeping the animal-based foods to the minimum. This should ensure that you stay healthy as your heart stays healthy. Along with this, follow your regular exercise schedule, and you are all set for a healthy, long inning.

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