Doctor recommends six food groups to cut risk of heart disease by 25%
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While eating your way to a lower risk of heart disease might sound too good to be true, a doctor shared that certain foods are definitely up for this job. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, “minimally processed” foods could see your risk of heart disease fall by 25 percent. Here are the food groups that could help get this job done.
There’s no single food that can guarantee a long and healthy life without heart disease.
However, pairing certain foods together could see your risk of the major killer fall.
Dr Shireen Kassam, who is also a founder of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, said: “There are a number of foods that help to reduce the risk of heart disease, however, it’s always best to focus on the quality of the overall diet pattern aiming to eat a variety of healthy foods.
“All of the foods that are good for heart health are minimally processed plant foods.”
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The doctor recommended the following six food groups for reducing your risk:
- Whole grains
These six plant-based food types are all rich in fibre, anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins and minerals, making them the perfect candidates for good heart health.
Dr Kassam said: “They are also low in saturated fat which is the main nutrient responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels – the most important driver of heart disease.
“The nutrients in plant foods help to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels low and keep our gut bacteria healthy.
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“These are all important aspects of reducing the risk of heart disease.”
Despite power being in numbers, the expert pointed out some specific foods that are “worth emphasising”.
She said: “I would suggest swapping refined grains (white bread, white rice, white pasta) for whole grains.
“[Also], add a tablespoon of flaxseeds a day to the diet, which can lower blood pressure, a key driver of heart disease.”
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Both whole grains and seeds are rich in fibre which can not only keep your gut healthy but also lower your risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, Dr Kassam also highlighted soya foods and nuts, which could reduce your risk of the major killer by keeping cholesterol levels at bay.
Heart UK lists these options as “cholesterol-busting” and recommends eating a variety.
From tofu to tempeh and soya yoghurt to edamame, there are various soya foods to choose from.
What’s more, research, published in the journal Antioxidants, even found that consuming soy flour rich in the protein B-conglycinin reduced high cholesterol and other lipid levels by as much as a whopping 70 percent, which was comparable to simvastatin – a medication designed to target the fatty substance.
While these foods show some promising benefits on their own, the expert recommended ensuring a variety in your diet.
Dr Kassam said: “It is important to centre the diet around healthy plant foods, while greatly limiting the consumption of animal foods and processed foods in general.
“The closer you get to a fully plant-based diet, while making sure you include a variety of different colourful foods, the better for your heart.
“In general, a healthy plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by at least 25 percent.”
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