Most of us are familiar with short-term inflammation, such as redness from a minor injury. Yet many aspects of our Western lifestyle - smoking, excess weight, and diets high in fat and sugar – all cause a process of long-term inflammation in the heart and blood vessels that does not subside with time. Did you know that long-term inflammation is linked to heart disease?
An anti-inflammatory diet can fight this process of inflammation. Follow these five simple steps to help keep your heart healthy for a lifetime:
Include fish in your diet more often
Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. These healthy fats help to reduce inflammation, lower triglyceride levels (another “bad” fat in the blood), regulate the heartbeat and reduce blood pressure. Not a fan of fish? Consider supplementing your diet with Jamieson Omega COMPLETE Super Krill. Omega COMPLETE Super Krill 500 mg is made from 100% Antarctic krill oil – the most studied krill oil available on the market today. Krill helps to support heart health by not only to reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol, but also improving the “good” HDL cholesterol and reducing levels of C-reactive protein, a clinical marker for inflammation.
Drink green tea instead of coffee
Green tea contains a heart-healthy antioxidant known as epigallocatechin-galate (EGCG). Antioxidants such as EGCG prevent cell damage caused by the free radicals that are associated with many inflammatory conditions, including heart disease.
Not a tea drinker? Jamieson Green Tea Phytosome® Complex 140 mg is formulated using a caffeine-free extract from green tea leaves that is characterized by high levels of antioxidants, including EGCG. A special soy-based complex greatly improves the bioavailability of green tea’s antioxidant compounds.
Boost your intake of fruits and vegetables
Here’s another good reason to get your seven to 10 servings a day. Various natural compounds in plant foods – including the pigments that impart deep red, orange, yellow and green colours to fruits and vegetables – have powerful antioxidant properties that protect your heart by reducing free-radical induced inflammation.
What’s more, fruits and vegetables are rich sources of dietary fibre. Not only has fibre been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, but soluble fibre (the type found in citrus fruits, berries and apples) is beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
For additional heart-healthy antioxidant benefits, try Jamieson Exxtra-CTM 1,000mg - Timed Release.
Swap sugar and white flour for whole grains
Processed and refined grains (white flour products) and sugary foods encourage inflammation. Unfortunately, most of these white flour “culprits” are products that many of us keep stocked up at home, such as white bread, rice, pasta, cereal and crackers.
Replace these products with their whole grain counterparts, such as whole grain pasta, brown rice and whole grain bread, which have greater protective effects on the heart and the added benefit of fibre.
Add “healthy” fats to your diet
Foods such as almonds, walnuts, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil and flax seeds are rich in healthy fats that suppress the process of inflammation.
Almonds, walnuts and avocadoes have the added benefit of being rich in another heart-healthy compound – vitamin E. A natural antioxidant, it supports a healthy heart by reducing inflammation and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Consider supplementing your diet with Jamieson Balanced Vitamin E Complex 400 IU. It contains natural source vitamin E rather than the synthetic version, which is important because it’s more bioavailable. It also has added mixed tocopherols for added protection.
Remember, there are other important lifestyle changes that play a key role in supporting a healthy heart – get plenty of exercise, avoid smoking, manage stress and achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. All of these strategies can help protect your heart for a lifetime.