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What is a good diet for heart health and cholesterol?

Category: General Wellness

Controlling heart health is one of the most important parts about staying healthy. This involves keeping cholesterol levels low while making sure to eat plenty of vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 fatty acids and whole grains. At the same time, staying away from certain fats can make hearts stronger and healthier.

Why control cholesterol levels for a healthy heart?
Cholesterol is a substance that can clog veins and arteries, making the heart work harder than it needs to. This strain can cause heart attacks, heart disease and stroke, so if a cholesterol test reveals higher-than-average levels, it is important to bring these levels down. Doctors often prescribe certain medicines to control cholesterol levels, but a healthy diet can also be very beneficial to those seeking to lower cholesterol. A lab test online can reveal cholesterol status.

Fats to look for
While it may seem that avoiding fats altogether is the best way to manage cholesterol levels, there are certain fats that are actually beneficial to the heart and cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in many types of fish and certain seed oils, can help reduce clots and blood pressure, which can be life-saving in some cases. Eating certain types of fish, like salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna and others, can help provide these essential fats. Those seeking a heart-healthy diet should grill or bake fish instead of frying.

For those who do not like fish, fish oil capsules and flaxseed or canola oils contain these fatty acids as well. Another group of beneficial acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, are present in nuts like walnuts and almonds. These can benefit heart health as well, noted the Mayo Clinic.

Foods to avoid
Many foods can lead to heart problems if consumed too much. Harvard University noted that foods like processed meat, such as bacon, hot dogs and most deli meats, contain too much salt for a healthy diet. The same goes for processed sugars and carbohydrates - these foods have often been so processed that much of the health benefits have been removed.

Foods like white bread, sweets and low-fiber cereals cause blood sugar spikes, which can harm the heart. Instead, those with heart health concerns should eat foods like stone-ground bread or steel-cut oats that have high fiber and plenty of nutrition.

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