World Heart Day 2018: These five foods can lower the risk of heart diseases.
If we are being honest with ourselves, most people pick healthy eating habits much later in life, when most are likely on the way to develop few lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension. It is at this stage that we try to get back to our original eating habits of having fruits and vegetables in the hope to shed those extra kilos and jump on the clean eating wagon. Some latest studies in diet shows that what foods we consumed as children affect our heart 20 years later. This brings the focus on children’s diet and a keen emphasis should be on how to lower the risk of heart diseases in children this World Heart Day. So here are the 5 foods you should include:
Leafy Green Vegetables
Teaching your children about healthy eating and how it is important helps in developing a good relationship with food. Today, children love junk food and are instantly inclined towards fat, sugar and salts in fast food like a magnet. It is important to include leafy vegetables in their diet as studies have found a link between increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables and a lower risk of heart disease. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are not only jam-packed with important nutrients but also serve as a good snack for your child on a hot day or delicious low-calorie dessert. Berries can reduce several risk factors for heart disease and are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease.
Fatty Fish and Fish Oil
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied extensively for their heart-health benefits. If you don’t eat much seafood, fish oil is another option for getting your daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce blood triglycerides, improve arterial function and decrease blood pressure. Other omega-3 supplements like krill oil or algal oil are popular alternatives.
We are all aware that legumes whether lentils, spit peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans are good for us. Beans contain resistant starch, which resists digestion and is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Multiple studies have also found that eating beans can reduce the risk of heart disease. But, the challenge is to sneak this in to your child’s diet without them complaining much. You can either make baked beans, falafel, bean salad or a normal bean sabzi with any of the carbs.
It’s true that a handful of nuts a day sets up children for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Make sure you give them 3-5 almonds daily as they are incredibly nutrient-dense, boasting a long list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for heart health. They’re also a good source of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats and fiber, two important nutrients that can help protect against heart disease. Research suggests that eating almonds can have a powerful effect on your cholesterol levels, too.
Parents have to make sure that the child is eating a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients. The sooner in life these right eating habits are inculcated, the better it is for a child’s growth.
(With inputs from GOQii health coaches.)