“A healthy heart is a guest chamber for the soul, a sick body is a prison - Francis Bacon”
It is well said that a person can outrun any sort of negative change in the environment as long as he is healthy. When we talk about a healthy body, we basically refer to a healthy mind and a healthy heart. People in the modern world value a healthy living, but when it comes to practice, we rarely find people working on it. So, here are some very simple foods that need to be included in the diet which are easy to make and delicious to taste that not only care about your heart but also makes you follow the healthy lifestyle that you yearn for.
Rich in beta-gluten, a type of fiber that lowers cholesterol, can be included in the daily diet in the form of adding in your poha, paratha, idlis, dosa , smoothies, omlettes and chappathis, and can be enjoyed on its own at breakfast. Oats contain omega 3 fatty acids, folate and potassium. There is no reason to avoid oats as they can be built into any form of food without alternating the basic taste of the dish.
Casein (paneer) and calcium found in milk and milk products are believed to have a hypocholesterolemic effect i.e. they lower the synthesis of cholesterol in the body thereby reducing the rate of cardiovascular disease in the individuals. Low fat milk is best suitable for people with high blood cholesterol.
Soy being a good source of protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids is generally preferred to avoid cardiovascular disease. The added benefits are it is cholesterol free and low in saturated fats. Soya protein sources like soy milk, soy sauce and tofu can be included in the diet at any time of the day. It is a great option for women and vegetarians as a source of protein as well.
Tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds contain high amounts of oleic acid (a form of MUFA). Almonds are rich in alpha- tochopherol form of vitamin E which acts as antioxidants in the body. Walnuts contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acids which has cardio protective effects. Nuts should be taken in moderation, a handful a day and few nuts are better than the others.
Low in calories and high in vitamins and fibers, this cauliflower look alike provides many health benefits if consumed daily. It is a good source of vitamin C and K, fibers, potassium and folate. Broccoli can be added in pulao, paratha or can be steamed and eaten as a salad or plain stir fried or added as a part of your salad and side dish.
Egg whites being mainly protein make delicious as well as low cholesterol omelette that can be incorporated in breakfast. Eggs are very versatile and hence can be used in a multitude of options.
Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, it has an anti-clotting effect effect there by maintaining blood flow. They also help lower triglycerides, a type of fat that causes heart disease. 2 servings of oily fishes like tuna, trout, sardines and mackerel can be opted for daily meals. Refrain from having deep fried fish and over cooking the same.
Avocados are rich in antioxidants and potassium that help in removal of free radicals from the body. They can be eaten raw or can be garnished with lime juice, paprika or balsamic vinegar, used as a sauce or a healthy spread with a tsp of honey to enhance taste.
When it comes to heart health, eating 1 cup of mixed berries daily is recommended. They are associated with increased levels of good HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure. Mixture of berries like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries etc., contain polyphenols that may increase nitric oxide levels in the body which are associated with a number of heart health benefits. Remember to wash them well before use. Add berries in salad, smoothies, cakes, oats, cornflakes. Plain berries itself make for great taste.
Being a whole grain, popcorn lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. It delivers polyphenols which are linked to improving heart health. Also it is calorie light food. Next time you are looking for a fast snack choose popcorn.