Nutrition and Heart Health

World Heart Day Revisited
(Last Updated On: September 29, 2017)

The heart is the chief pumping officer of our body. It is therefore, natural that we are often on the lookout for foods that are healthy for our heart.

On the occasion of World Heart Day, we decided to list down nutrients to keep your heart in good shape followed by two heart healthy diets:

What Nutrients Should You Incorporate For A Healthy Heart?

Apple and heart


The presence of quercetin1 in women has reportedly caused a decrease in deaths due to coronary heart diseases. These flavonoids derived from plants also contain anti-inflammatory properties that eliminate the risk of thrombosis. Apples are a rich source of quercetin.


Polyphenols facilitate the relaxation and dilation of blood vessels by elevated nitric oxide production in our body. This helps to keep the risk of high blood pressure at bay2 and causes a healthy circulation of blood.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a cup of polyphenol-containing berries like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries caused a significant increase of good cholesterol in the body.


Lycopene is also an anti-oxidant that is associated with the reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Lycopene has been studied to increase the level of superoxide dismutase, and thus reduced blood pressure. We get Lycopene from tomatoes.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 Fatty Acids contain (EPA) eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA. The presence of these elements helps improve heart health by preventing the formation of clots, decreasing inflammation of cardiac muscles, and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. Fish like salmon and sardines are packed with omega three acids.

Monosaturated Fats

Now it is open. Not all the fats that we consume are bad. Monounsaturated fats are good for your heart and help to reduce bad cholesterol levels, and in turn lower your risk for heart disease and cholesterol.

 Avocado, olive oil and walnouts are rich sources of monounsaturated fats

General Dietary Rules For A Healthy Cardiac System

As one or the other diet plan is always in news, it becomes difficult to decide on the right diet plan for a healthy heart. However, certain generalizations can always be drawn: A healthy heart diet should include the following:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Lean, Skinless Meat
  • Low-Fat Dairy
  • Legumes, Seeds, and Nuts
  • Minimal quantity of healthy carbs
  • Minimal Sugar

It would also be interesting to understand special dietary plans that can have a positive effect on your overall cardiovascular health.

The DASH Diet



“DASH” stands for “dietary approach to stop hypertension”. This is a nutritional plan that was designed during the 1990s. The principal purpose of this diet is to lower blood pressure, thus minimizing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What does the diet incorporate?

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Lean proteins such as fish and chicken

This diet aims to supply nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, to the body. Besides that, the body is also replenished by dietary fibres, SFA, and lower cholesterol.

Success Rate

According to reports, systolic and diastolic blood pressure has reduced by 11.4 and 5.5mm of Hg when compared to a typical western diet. Patients suffering from hypertension have showcased a reduction by 7.2 and 2.8 mm of Hg. Autonomic functions and vascular circulation have also been proven to improve in various studies.

The Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet

This diet consists of a relatively higher intake of vegetable fat. It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, legumes such as beans, lentils, peas and peanuts, whole grains and true Mediterranean food style base: olive oil.With its origins in Italy and Crete, the ingredients in this diet are freshly plucked and consumed with no scope for preservatives. The omega three composition in this is diet is also substantial.

What Does The Diet Incorporate?

  • Seasonal and fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably local
  • Whole grains and bread
  • Legumes, nuts, and olive oil
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Lean meats, eggs, and fish
  • Minimal quantities of wine

Success Rate

The meta-analysis of cohort studies has found that a regular consumption of a Mediterranean diet reduces the danger of coronary heart diseases.  Overall mortality is also substantially reduced by this form of a diet.

Moderation Is Important

While the practice of introducing a diet rich in healthy heart nutrients is highly recommended, it is advisable to practice everything in moderation. The total elimination of certain food groups like carbohydrates is not advised. Instead, replacement with healthier alternatives like whole grains is a wise option for a better heart health.

A Healthy Lifestyle For A Healthy Heart  

The need of good nutrition is massively important to cardiac health. However, a good lifestyle also has a substantial effect on it. Inculcation of a positive outlook and a healthy state of mind is important.

The elimination of certain habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine intake, etc. will also work wonders for the human heart.

Besides that, regular exercise, regular intake of water, and a healthy sleeping pattern goes a great way in promoting a healthy heart and leading a hearty life.

Want to know more about the right kind of nutrition for your heart? Call 1800-121-2323 to know more.


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Dr.Rajprabha Patra practiced as a Dental Surgeon for 5 years before making a switch into the business domain with an MBA from ISB. As the Product Manager for Counselling Services at Portea, she aims to make a difference in the way mental health is perceived in India.


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