Dr. Columbus Batiste, MD, the regional chief of cardiology for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, believes that heart health starts with the food you eat. He recommends increasing fiber intake and decreasing the amount of salt, sugar, and saturated fats consumed, as well as eliminating trans fats to have a positive impact on heart health. Whole plant-based foods are especially beneficial, with fruits, vegetables, beans, unsweetened oatmeal, flaxseed and walnuts being specific recommendations from Dr. Batiste.
In addition to these dietary changes, Dr. Batiste has specific advice for certain food groups. While animal protein, particularly red and processed meats, has been linked to increased cardiovascular disease; not all fats are bad. Polyunsaturated fats found in whole foods like nuts, seeds and avocados can actually reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed in small amounts. Dr. Batiste also cautions against assuming that all “healthy” breakfast foods are good for your heart as many processed options are high in sugars and associated with increased cardiovascular disease.
By making these lifestyle changes and following Dr. Batiste’s tips you can better care for your heart and reduce your risk of future heart conditions through conscious food choices and an overall balanced diet.