Top Heart Friendly Foods

Did you know that heart disease is the major killer in the U.S.? The scary thing is that it affects not just older people, but even younger individuals are at increasingly higher risk of developing heart disease during their life.

The reasons are many, but the bottom line is heart problems can be avoided by sticking to healthy diet (meaning whole plant foods: vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, legumes and whole grains), as well as active lifestyle.

Two most important ways in which you can control your heart disease include regular exercise and the food that you consume. Foods that are good for heart should be included in your diet and you should stay away from unhealthy stuff. This infographic lists the foods that are beneficial for heart.

(The infograhpic lists also portion control as a way to control your heart disease, but the great thing about eating diet loaded with mostly raw greens, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, nuts, and seeds; as well as legumes and whole grains- is that you don’t have to worry too much about controlling your portions.)

Fiber and antioxidants protect the heart by fighting with various harmful substances. You should stay away from animal foods that are rich in cholesterol, sugars, sodium and saturated fats. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and leafy green veggies (green smoothie anyone?). Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and other; almonds, walnuts, avocados, legumes, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, dark chocolate, oatmeal, papaya, oranges, grapes and tomatoes are all foods that are naturally cholesterol free and healthy for heart.

Incidentally, these foods are also great for lowering blood sugar levels, maintaining an ideal weight, and other health concerns (check out these low-fruit smoothies great for weight loss and blood sugar issues).



PS. I wrote this post a few years back, after I found out that my father had a heart attack. He had to have bypass surgery. Unfortunately he passed away a couple of months after that. Most of his adult life he had diabetes and was overweight.

I was devastated. Especially when I know how preventable these diseases are — with a healthy whole plant-based diet and active stress-free lifestyle.

Of course, as is often the case, no one in my family listens to me. They think MY diet is weird and/or dangerous: too many greens and fruits (which aren’t really considered “real” food by many), not enough protein and dairy (what about calcium!).

Prior to my dad’s heart attack, I bought my parents a few books for Christmas – “Eat to Live,” “Forks over Knives” and “The China Study.” I’m Polish and my parents live in Warsaw, and I was super excited when I found these books translated into Polish available in an online bookstore. My mom started reading them, but said that the recipes seem very complicated, inconvenient and impractical.

The way I think about is this: it’s certainly inconvenient and hard at first to break the habit of eating lots of processed foods and animal foods (meats, eggs, and dairy). For my dad it was the excess of the latter, as he didn’t eat many processed foods (most people still prepare home-cooked meals in Poland, so processed foods are not the biggest problem — even though it’s growing too.  Most people do love their cold cuts and pork chops). Especially since we are constantly bombarded with marketing information about the importance of eating this stuff (yogurt for strong bones, lean meats for protein, etc., etc.)

However, when you think about the alternative – i.e. having your chest cut open during a bypass surgery, enduring the pain and consequences of this lifestyle, it certainly puts it into perspective.

Please educate yourself and take your health into your own hands. Noone will take care of you the way you will!