If you’re anything like I was in my 20’s, you associate heart disease with old age.
I believed heart disease is only something of concern later in life, when you’re old and grey, but this could not be further from the truth.
Since becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I have realized that heart disease isn’t something that suddenly becomes relevant as soon as we reach a certain age. We build the foundations for a healthy or unhealthy heart in our childhood, and studies are showing that more people become at risk at a younger age than ever before.
However, we have the power to turn the statistics around!
When you have family history of heart disease, it’s easy to believe that your genes are your destiny, and there isn’t much you can do about it. But, the new field of Epigenetics shows that our behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way our genes work. Researchers have found that even people at higher risk for developing heart disease due to genetics were still able to lower their risk by at least 45 percent if they also practiced favourable lifestyle habits.
Once we understand the power that our environment and individual choices have on every system of our bodies, it becomes clear that diet is one of the most powerful tools we have in our hands to prevent, manage and reverse even heart disease.
Some of the best ways to go about using the “tool” of a healthy diet are by introducing colourful foods, nutrient-dense ingredients, and good-quality fats. This way you’re not only providing micronutrients and healthy proteins for heart function, but also changing the messages transmitted via your DNA.
Here are a few ways you can keep your heart happy and healthy, no matter your age:
Start by limiting foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates (like poor quality bread, pastas, cookies, chocolates, pastries, chips, fast foods and cakes).
Enjoy your greens
A diet high in green vegetables such as broccoli, parsley, celery, spinach and sprouts not only contains oxidant scavengers like vitamin C and heart-stabilizing minerals like magnesium. Enjoy a big green salad daily or a 100% Green Juice from Rugani first thing in the morning or on your way to work instead of having that second cup of coffee.
Have more good-quality fat
Foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados and extra-virgin olive oil are heart-healthy. Not only do they contain key minerals like selenium and magnesium, but they provide antioxidants such as vitamin E, which can protect the heart from oxidative stress.
Have a rainbow of colour in every meal
Studies have shown that antioxidant-rich diets reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular risk, and when it comes to Nature, colours mean antioxidants. Look for a rainbow of colours in your diet, I like to include red and purple foods such as berries, beets, tomatoes, carrots, red cabbage, and grapes. Enjoy a glass full of Rugani’s 100% Beetroot or 100% Carrot juice, or add some to your morning smoothie, a convenient way to add colour and get high amounts of bioavailable antioxidants.
Remember: Your heart will thank you for focusing on plenty of whole, colourful and nutrient-dense foods and drinks no matter what age you are right now.
Here’s an easy, simple and delicious heart-healthy recipe for you to enjoy!
Lamb Meatballs with Heart-Healthy Salad