The best diets for a healthy heart

The leading cause of death worldwide is heart disease. Over the average lifetime, the heart beats around 2.5 billion times, pushing blood to every part of the body and whisking away the waste products of metabolism. A poor diet, lack of exercise, unlucky genes, smoking, and infection can cause the heart to fail. When it does so, many essential functions stop. This is why it is so important to maintain a healthy heart as we age.

Food in heart shaped bowls.
Below is a list of 3 of the best diets that can help you maintain a healthy heart.

1. The Mediterranean diet. It is based on the cuisines of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The foundation of the diet is plant-based foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds. It also includes moderate consumption of seafood, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and yogurt. Research has shown that people living in countries on the Mediterranean Sea suffer less cardiovascular ailments than those living in America.

2. The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet. This was developed with the intention of reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. The goal of the TLC diet is to promote optimal cholesterol levels. It does this by limiting saturated fats to less than 7% of daily calories and dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg daily. The TLC diet contains many of the foods in the Mediterranean diet but also includes skinless meat.

3. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. This diet was designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. It includes foods that are rich in calcium, potassium, and protein. The DASH diet recommends that you consume 1 teaspoon or less of sodium each day while consuming 6-8 servings of grains, 4-5 servings of vegetables, 4-5 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products, six 1-ounce servings or fewer of lean meats, fish, or poultry, and 2-3 servings of fats and oils daily. Four to five servings of nuts, legumes, and seeds, and 5 servings or fewer of sweet or added sugars are recommended each week.

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