Heart Health

The Best Healthy Heart Diet

Enjoying a heart healthy diet is important for your body.

When it comes to preventing heart disease, the most common advice that you will hear from your practitioner is to maintain a healthy diet. However, there is a lot of debate among people on what precisely a “healthy diet” means since the term is so broad.

For those suffering with cardiovascular disease, which foods will help them maintain a healthier heart while also balancing different dietary lifestyles? The answer can vary depending on the type of heart condition one has and their medical history.

In general, the top food groups that are recommended to ensure a healthy heart are vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins, although at LifeWorks, we usually recommend two major diets to our patients: The Paleo Diet and The Ketogenic Diet.

Both are useful for decreasing cardiovascular disease, however it is up to the practitioner to decide which diet is more useful for the patient’s specific medical background and heart condition.

Since there are many differences between them, here are a few ways that one could accurately follow them while making sure that they are consuming the right nutrients that help their cardiovascular system.

The Paleo Diet for a Healthy Heart

The Paleo Diet is designed to mirror how our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed foods thousands of years ago. Once upon a time, grocery stores, automobiles, technology, and electricity were not available to humans and most people had to rely on survival instincts.

The food that was provided came from natural resources and did not include any pesticides or processed chemicals that is seen in premade foods today.

Luckily, this diet lessens the stress of counting calories and simply encourages people to consume limited food groups.

Most of the time, this diet recommends grass-fed organic foods that are grown naturally and have not been tampered with by any processed chemicals.

Examples of Paleo foods include:

  • Grass-fed lean beef, pork and poultry
  • Fish (especially ones that contain omega 3 oils such as salmon and tuna)
  • Non-starchy vegetables, fresh herbs and leafy greens
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil/Coconut oil
  • Sweet Potatoes

If you have heart conditions and you’re looking to follow the Paleo Diet, it must be advised that some foods which are normally recommended for general heart health might need to be avoided. These foods include:

  • Grains
  • Peanuts (all other nut types are okay)
  • Legumes
  • Dairy from animals (milk, cheese, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt)

Paleo Foods Specifically Good For The Heart Include:

  • Garlic
  • Fish
  • Berries
  • Green Tea
  • Edamame
  • Avocados

The Ketogenic Diet for a Healthy Heart

The Ketogenic Diet is more heavily focused on calorie intake compared to the Paleo.

It is a “low carb” diet that only allows people to gain their calories from proteins and fats while excluding carbohydrates and processed sugars.

This diet is great for those who suffer from neurological diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Those who choose this diet must prepare to preplan their meals as they are only allowed a certain amount of protein, fat and carbs per day in order to maintain the correct ketone levels.

Foods that are generally recommended are helpful for heart health.

Foods that are typically allowed are as follows:

  • Seafood (some fish that contain Vitamin B, magnesium and Omega 3 are great for heart health and are approved by the Keto diet. Shellfish are also acceptable as long as they don’t contain carbs.)
  • Low-carb vegetables (be sure to keep in mind the net carbs of every vegetable as some are starchier than others. Ones that are great for heart health are broccoli, Brussel sprouts, raw carrots, garlic, lettuce, kale, cucumber, celery and cauliflower. All containing at least four net carbs or fewer.)
  • Berries (raspberries and blueberries are high in fiber, low in carbs and help fight heart disease.)
  • Cheese (unlike the dairy-free Paleo diet, Keto approves of a healthy amount of low carb cheese to be consumed. The reason being is because cheese can help fight against heart conditions and it contains conjugated linoleic acids which has been linked to weight loss and body improvements.)
  • Meat & Poultry (fresh lean meats contain no carbs and are even considered a staple in the Keto diet due to their protein. These include white meat in chicken, turkey, eggs, and beef.)

Both diets are great for heart health.  We recommend speaking with your physician before starting any new diet, to ensure you are following the one that best fits your needs and health.

If you would like to speak with one of our practitioners about heart disease and to find out which diet you should follow, please call (727) 466-6789 to schedule an appointment.