Can Your Diet Affect Cardiovascular Health?

Diet & Cardiovascular Health

It’s a common misconception that only people who are overweight or prone to weight gain need to worry about their diet. A slim figure doesn’t automatically mean healthy, and what you eat can have as much of a negative effect on your health as how much you eat. It’s important to understand the impact that different types of foods have on the crucial functions of your body. This is especially important for the cardiovascular system, considering that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US. 

Due to advancements in medical research, diet recommendations are constantly being updated. In order to keep your heart healthy and strong, check out the latest suggestions from the federal government’s Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:

Say yes to fats

High cholesterol is still linked to coronary artery disease, but recent studies show that dietary cholesterol from fatty foods is only responsible for about 15 to 20 percent of blood cholesterol. That means you don’t necessarily need to banish all fats from your diet, especially the “good” fats. 

You probably already know about all the health benefits of omega-3 and omega-6, the essential fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, and other unsaturated fats. But saturated fats, found in butter, bacon and other animal sources, can also be enjoyed in moderation. The only fats you should still stay far away from are trans fats, also known as hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are found in fast food, commercially processed food, and other junk food.

Pass the saltshaker

Another dietary relationship that’s not as strong as previously thought, according to new research, is the link between sodium and high blood pressure. A recent study found that salt intake has less of an effect on high blood pressure than body mass index. Sodium-rich foods are usually part of an overall poor diet that leads to weight gain and high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. While you don’t need to give up salt completely, excessive consumption can result in fluid retention and increase your risk of kidney stones. So moderation, as always, is key.

Rethink red meat and eggs

Eggs were once portrayed as a cholesterol-boosting bad guy, followed later by a re-branding campaign after dietary sentiment shifted. But along with red meat, eggs aren’t quite off the hook when it comes to heart heath, despite new studies of fats. The new culprit under the microscope is the byproduct that occurs when bacteria digest substances found in red meat and egg yolks. Those metabolic products are linked to the development of plaque in the arteries and heart failure, so it might be a good idea to save that steak-and-egg breakfast for a special occasion.

Load up on fruits and veggies

Vegetables are not only chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, but they’re also low in calories and contain plant-based substances that have been known to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Fruits have all the same benefits, which balance out the higher levels of naturally occurring sugar. Too much sugar and processed sugars can lead to weight gain and associated heart risks, but filling up on a bowl of fresh berries or crunchy vegetables can also help you eat fewer unhealthy snacks.

Say cheers to wine

Excessive alcohol consumption has negative health effects on your heart and the rest of your body, but moderate consumption has been known to boost your heart health. The benefits of antioxidant-rich red wine are widely publicized, including reduced blood clot formation and lowered risk of heart attack and stroke, but beer and liquor in small amounts can have similar effects. 

We care about your health

At Bella Vista Health Center, we take a comprehensive approach to health and recovery, and that means providing our guests with nutritious and balanced meals, customized to each individual’s specific health needs. You can rest assured that we’ll take good care of you or your loved one.  

If you’re on the lookout for a skilled nursing facility, we invite you to come visit our recently remodeled, top-notch facility in Lemon Grove. Give us a call to schedule your visit today.