Awareness of heart and brain health is steadily on the rise among the urban populace. With heart and brain related issues and afflictions becoming a pervasive reality, most of us want to be attentive to our heart and brain health.
Good news is heart and brain issues are preventable ones. If you are careful about lifestyle factors like blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and diet — a lot can be done to keep your heart and brain healthy.
In this blog we will list the food items that help in maintaining our heart and brain health. Many medical practitioners believe that foods that help in maintaining right body weight and checking diabetes can also help prevent heart and brain diseases. A nutrient-rich diet protects your heart and also lowers stroke and cerebral attacks.
According to nutritionists any good diet plan should include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. You should try to get your protein intake from plant sources and fish. Opt for healthy fats, like olive oil or canola, instead of saturated fats. Incorporating these items into your daily diet can considerably improve your brain and heart health.
Here is a list of foods that are good for your heart and brain –
1. Green, leafy vegetables and fruits
Green vegetables including kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, all of which are good for your brain and heart. These foods can help slow your cognitive decline, control weight and keep the heart healthy. Being low in fat and calories, and rich in fiber, they make you feel full.
Moreover, bananas, melon, tomatoes, prunes, sweet and white potatoes and soybeans, are effective in controlling blood pressure and preventing stroke. Again, the magnesium-rich spinach is also known to lower the risk of stroke. Think of taking four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily to keep the heart healthy and maintain proper body weight and lower risk stroke.
2. Fatty fish
Fatty fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are unsaturated fats that can lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein forming harmful clusters in the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Make it a habit to include fish in your diet at least twice a week. This will help you keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check. It is a fact that scientists link regular eating of fish with lower stroke risks. However, opt for salmon, cod, canned light tuna, trout, mackerel and Pollack – which are low in mercury content. If you are vegetarian you can think about taking an omega-3 supplement. You can also go for terrestrial omega-3 sources such as flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts. However, consult your doctor first. You can now consult the best doctors online or go for an online chat with doctors at docgenie.in.
3. Whole grains
Refined grains that are used to make white bread, muffins and white rice, have most of their healthy nutrients stripped out. This is why doctors recommend whole grain bread and cereal, oatmeal and brown rice which are high in fiber, B vitamins (including folate and thiamin), magnesium and iron. All these ingredients present in whole grains promote heart health and also prevent stroke.
4. Low-fat dairy
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese etc provide us with calcium, protein, vitamin D and potassium. That said, full-fat dairy products are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol, which increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Hence, it is advisable to choose low-fat or no-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, which possess healthy nutrients to prevent Type 2 diabetes, heart issues and high blood pressure — all of which can lead to stroke.
Research shows that consuming two or more servings of berries like strawberries and blueberries every week can delay memory decline by almost two-and-a-half years. This is because Flavonoids, or the natural plant pigments responsible for providing berries with striking colours, also play a vital role in improving memory.
It is now an established fact that nuts are great sources of protein and healthy fats. Walnuts can also improve memory and cognitive power. Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which gives them the power to lower blood pressure and protect arteries.
7. Tea and coffee
In addition to a short-term concentration boost, coffee or tea also improves your mental function. Moreover, caffeine present in coffee and tea is known to solidify new memories.
Generally speaking, taking a diet rich in ‘heart and brain-healthy’ food items will go a long way in keeping both these vital organs healthy. Add to that a daily routine of 30 minutes exercise and a healthy body weight, which actually becomes easier when you eat a healthy diet, and you can be assured of a well-nourished heart and brain.
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