Plant-based diets, which prioritize foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains with only small, occasional servings of animal protein, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease at any age. However, not everyone may fully understand what a healthy, nutritious plant-based diet looks like.
A wide variety of foods can fall under the “plant-based” umbrella, with many options not necessarily providing significant benefits to your heart health. Some foods, such as white rice and white bread, are highly processed, meaning that you will not receive many of the necessary nutrients to promote better heart health from them. Other foods that are best avoided include those that are high in sugar, sodium, and extra additives.
A plant-based diet does not have to involve cutting out all meat. You can make beneficial changes for your heart health by keeping your overall meat consumption at a moderate level and by eating healthier types of meat. It is recommended that you stick to unprocessed red meat and poultry, as well as limit your meat portions to approximately three 3.5-ounce servings each week.
Fish can also be a healthy, beneficial element of a plant-based diet. Similarly, however, you should keep your intake at a moderate level, meaning that you should limit your fish consumption to two servings of approximately 3 ounces of fish per week. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel can be a particularly beneficial addition to your diet.
Remember that what you eat is not the only thing that matters when it comes to your heart health; you also need to monitor how much you eat and how physically active you are. Make sure to stay within the recommended number of calories for you to consume each day and to follow an exercise routine that incorporates strength and aerobic activities three days per week.
If you experience heart problems or may be at risk of heart disease, you can schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department by calling (718) 206-7100.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.