To most anyone with some common sense, it is obvious that the best way to treat heart problems is to prevent them.
When it comes to prevention, nothing is more important than proper nutrition.
The best foods to eat are those which would have been available to our distant ancestors.
This diet is often referred to as Paleo or Hunter-Gatherer.
I find that when my patients follow a Paleo lifestyle, they get tremendous results. As I always like to say ‘it ain’t rocket science’ – just keep it simple.
Remember, always eat organic. If pesticides kill bugs, they will kill us.
So without further adieu, here are 10 foods (today’s is #1-5) that you should be eating for optimal heart health:
1. GRASS-FED BEEF
Saturated fat does not increase the risk of heart disease, according to an analysis of over 350,000 people in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In fact, muscle meat is a complete source of protein. Organ cuts, such as liver and kidney, are packed with beneficial nutrients like vitamins A and D.
Cows are meant to eat grass, not corn, soy, and wheat. Cows are meant to free-range, not be cooped up, stressed out, and under artificial lights. Many cultures from around the world consume animal foods and enjoy incredible longevity.
Get free-range, grass-fed meat into your meal plan. For the best health benefits, eat your meat medium-rare.
Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable packed with medicinal value. For starters, kale is a great source of fiber, thus improving the lipid profile.
Kale contains vitamin K, an essential nutrient that keeps calcium in bones and out of arteries. Kale is a good source of vitamin C which promotes healthy arteries and is an anti-oxidant. Kale contains sulforaphane which appears to lower cancer risk.
Eat is raw, steamed, or in a stir fry. We put it into our salads. Boiling leaches nutrients out of any food. Our 10 year old son eats spinach (another terrific dark green leafy vegetable) with his lunch!
Start ’em young.
Beets are a wonderful food that reduce the risk of heart disease. They normalize blood pressure because they contain nitrates.
Just like the pharmaceutical nitroglycerin, beets open up blood vessels and improve flow.
Beets reduce homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease and dementia risk. Beets are loaded with anti-oxidants and naturally thin your blood by inhibiting overactive platelets. Beets even improve exercise performance. Eat them raw or cooked. Make sure they are organic, as beets are a common genetically modified food.
This blue-green algae is one of nature’s superfoods. Chlorella cuts the risk of heart disease by reducing oxidative damage of tissues. It improves blood pressure control and stroke risk. Additionally, chlorella lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.
It binds heavy metals so use it daily and especially after seafood. Chlorella contains chlorophyll, the energy harnessed from the sun. Good stuff.
5. WILD SALMON.
When it comes to fat, there’s one type you don’t want to cut back on: omega-3 fatty acids.
Cut back on vegetable oil but not the quality fats only found in fish. Wild salmon is a favorite, but anchovies also provide plenty of omega-3’s. The two crucial omega-3’s are EPA and DHA, which lower the risk of heart disease, improve heart rhythm, and also help with depression, dementia, and arthritis.
If you don’t like fish, make sure you take omega-3 DHA oil.
So eat up when it comes to these heart healthy foods and steer clear of your cardiologist’s office!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series with foods 6-10.