If you are confused about what food to eat to support your heart, you aren’t alone. The messages surrounding the best diet for heart patients are all over the place. Should you go low-fat or keto? Will a high-salt diet lead to heart problems? Is low-carb the way to a healthy heart?
The American Heart Association (AHA) tells us we can trust the heart-healthy logo on grocery store packages. But is it really as simple as walking through the grocery store and choosing items with a heart-check mark? Sadly, the answer is no.
So what is the best diet for heart disease reversal and optimal cardiac health? The healthiest cardiologist-recommended diet is simpler than you think.
Five strategies for heart disease reversal
No matter if you’ve been given a clean bill of health from your cardiologist or if you have advanced cardiac disease, the diet strategy is the same. Follow these five simple cardiologist-recommended guidelines to reverse heart disease.
- Go organic
Everyone knows that a diet rich in vegetables and fruit is healthy for the heart. Loading up a dinner plate with roasted veggies or eating a salad sprinkled with seeds is an excellent way to fuel the heart. But what if those vegetables are doused in pesticides?
Over 70 percent of conventional produce sold in the United States contains dangerous pesticide residue. Studies show that pesticide exposure dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, many people’s efforts to eat healthily are thwarted by chemicals that seep into produce.
In addition to pesticides, many foods today are packed with artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavor enhancers. Moreover, most processed food contains ingredients that are genetically modified. These unhealthy toxins contribute to inflammation and wreak havoc on the heart.
The most effective way to reverse or prevent heart disease is to eliminate chemicals from your food. Therefore, no matter the diet you choose, ensure that the food you eat is whole and organic.
- Eat plenty of seafood
How many times do you sit down to eat fish for dinner? If you’re like most Americans, you need more. Nearly 90 percent of Americans do not meet the recommendations to consume seafood at least twice a week.
Seafood contains vital nutrients that support the heart, including vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B-12, and, most importantly, omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease cardiovascular disease significantly. Omega-3s have also been proven to:
- Decrease resting blood pressure
- Lower the risk of arrhythmias
- Lower triglycerides and increase HDL
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent blood clots
- Decrease atherosclerosis.
The best seafood to consume includes wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, and shellfish. While some people voice concerns about fish contamination, these varieties are low risk, with the benefits far outweighing the concerns. To find high-quality, wild-caught seafood, shop Lummi Island Wild here.
For a great Omega-3 supplement, try NHD Cardiomega. Click here to shop.
- Eat Meat
Many cardiovascular patients are reluctant to eat red meat, as they’ve been cautioned that it’s high in saturated fat and thus can lead to cardiovascular disease. Sadly, they’ve been misinformed. The last few decades have shed light on the numerous factors contributing to heart disease. Multiple studies have examined the link between saturated fat intake and heart disease and found it weak, at best.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that whole-food saturated fats, such as meat, dairy, and dark chocolate, don’t raise the risk for cardiovascular disease. For the study, scientists scoured results from hundreds of other studies.
They concluded that there was no robust evidence that upper limits on saturated fat consumption prevent cardiac disease or reduce death rates. Instead, they found stroke risk might decline with increased saturated fat intake.
The problem with many studies that steer people away from red meat is that most people consume unhealthy conventional beef from factory farms. This meat is indeed harmful, but not because of the meat itself. Instead, the living conditions, lack of sunlight, and medications pumped into these animals make them unhealthy.
Eating ethically raised, grass-fed animals, pasture-raised poultry, and eggs are some of the healthiest foods you can consume. Eating nose to tail, such as eating the liver, heart, and other organs enhances health. Grass-fed organ meat is incredibly nutrient-dense, providing the body with all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats to get the job done.
We recommend grass-fed meat from Wild Pastures.
If you don’t like the taste of organ meat, you should try NHD’s Kick Start My Heart, a high-quality liver and heart supplement sourced from free-range bison.
- Eliminate gluten-containing grains
Humans were not made to consume gluten or gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten damages the gut lining, disrupts gut microbial balance, and increases inflammation. Since gluten-containing grains provide very little nutritional value, they should be avoided entirely.
- Consume dairy sparingly – and only raw
Most of us grew up being told to drink our milk. Unfortunately, this was not sound advice. Dairy is highly inflammatory and has a negative impact on the heart. Conventional dairy is packed with hormones and pesticides. Moreover, the pasteurization process strips dairy products of all vitamins and enzymes, thus rendering it useless.
If dairy is important to you, be sure to sparingly consume raw dairy from grass-fed, organic animals that are free to roam the pastures.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. A cardiologist’s best diet is organic, free of toxic chemicals, and packed with nutrient-dense whole foods. If you’re eating this way, you’re on your way to reversing heart disease.
However, if you still need clarification on the best diet for your heart, consider a free 20-minute strategy call with one of our skilled health coaches. Together, you can develop an eating plan that will have you well on your way to your 100 Year Heart. In the meantime, check out our Nutrition page for more information on achieving a clean, heart-healthy diet.
Eat well, Live well, Think well