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Heart-healthy foods

Diet & Nutrition • 08 May 2017

It’s hard to believe that the groceries in your kitchen can potentially save your life. But a myriad of research shows that something as simple as a healthier diet can lower your chances of having a heart attack.

An article by Health24 published in 2015 states that a staggering 210 people in South Africa die of heart disease every day.


The high mortality rate is fuelled by the shocking number of South Africans living with high blood pressure. The article goes on to say that South Africa has the highest rate of high blood pressure worldwide, with one in three adults suffering from it.

This proves that cardiovascular disease is one of the most critical threats to the health of our country.

How to prevent a heart attack can be as simple as including these foods into your daily diet:

1.) Fish: Studies have shown that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week can lower your risk of dying of a heart attack. Fish that contain omega-3 include salmon, sardines and mackerel.

2.) Whole grain foods: These are high in fibre and can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. High levels of cholesterol and blood pressure can increase your chances of suffering from heart disease. Making small changes to your diet like using brown rice instead of white can help save your life. Other products high in fibre include oatmeal, whole-grain pasta and barley.

3.) Dark chocolate: The best heart- healthy food there is! Many studies have indicated that coacao, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, is rich in flavonoids called polyphenols, and can help fight high blood pressure, clotting and inflammation. It’s important to note that dark chocolate is very different from milk chocolate and should contain at least 60-70% cocoa.

4.) Nuts: According to studies, snacking on a handful of nuts a day can halve your risk of heart disease. Nuts contain “good’ HDL cholesterol which battles your “bad’ LDL cholesterol (that you can get from consuming butter). Other nuts you can nibble on include almonds, cashews, pistachios and flaxseed.

5.) Berries: Not only are berries delicious, but they can lower your risk of having a heart attack. Berries are loaded with antioxidants which may decrease blood pressure and help widen arteries. Berries that are great for heart disease prevention include blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Is it just me or did this list make you hungry too?

Paired with a healthy diet, here are a few things you can do to reduce the causes of heart attack:

1.) Exercise: You’ve probably heard this a million times already, but for good reason. The benefits of exercise can combat a whole range of ailments linked to cardiovascular disease including obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Not to mention other added benefits like stress relief, combatting depression and of course, weight control.

2.) Stop smoking: Smoking is truly bad for your heart! Smoking damages the lining of your blood vessels which can lead to fatty material building up in your veins, restricting blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or a stroke. It’s never too late to stop; you can reduce your risk of a heart attack within one year.

3.) Don’t stress: Stress and negative emotions such as anger are causes of heart attack. Working out and regularly doing breathing exercises such as yoga or meditation can lower your stress levels. So, don’t stress, it’s not worth it!

Prevention is better than cure!

To help you pick up on early signs of heart disease, visit your general practitioner today.

With GetSavvi Health’s Primary Care Plan and Primary Care Plan + , you get unlimited doctors’ visits for your whole family.

To get a quote for affordable healthcare, click here, fill in the form and a consultant will contact you soon. 

Watch: 5 Worst Foods For Your Heart

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