There is no shortage of advice when it comes to a heart-healthy diet. The basic advice is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, reduce the intake of salt and sugar, lose the trans fats/saturated fats, increase fiber intake, and aim for lean proteins.
Or, to say it even more simply, go Mediterranean. A Mediterranean-type diet gives you the fiber you need, the antioxidants your heart craves, and the healthy fats your entire body uses to function at peak performance.
When it comes to fiber, studies have shown a stunning 29 percent reduction in heart disease for every 10-gram increase in fiber. Plus, high-fiber foods also contain tremendous sources of phytonutrients, including flavonoids, phytoestrogens, lignans and carotenoids. These precious phytonutrients, which comprise a huge part of the Mediterranean diet, make it the best diet for preventing heart disease.
As for antioxidants, a 2011 study published in Stroke found women who ate foods with the most antioxidants had a 17 percent lower risk for total stroke than those women who ate foods with the fewest antioxidants.
Finally, healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. As such, they help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. Plus, EFAs reduce the production of a dangerous substance known as thromboxane A2, which stimulates abnormal blood clots and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Need an easy and delicious way to incorporate this advice? Make a salad every day that contains spinach, almonds or walnuts, salmon or low-mercury tuna, and a fruit of your choice...an easy and delicious way to get that fiber, EFAs, and antioxidants in one delicious meal!