Three Cardiovascular Nutrition Tips

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Good cardiovascular nutrition can help keep your heart healthy for years to come. Here are a few of my tried-and-true heart-healthy tips:Three Cardiovascular Nutrition Tips

  • Eat fish. Cold-water fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids can protect you from cardiovascular problems, and even sudden cardiac death due to malignant cardiac arrhythmias. Evidence suggests that people who eat fish regularly live longer lives. But that is true as long as the fish are “good fish.” Avoid farm-raised fish or fish that may have been exposed to environmental toxins. My recommendation for the best and safest fish to eat is scrod, wild salmon, mackerel, sea trout, and sardines.
     
  • Eat foods rich in magnesium. Low body stores of magnesium appear to increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Magnesium is essential for scores of enzymatic reactions and normal muscle function, yet is often depleted in patients with cardiac arrhythmias.This mighty mineral acts physiologically like a calcium channel blocker by stabilizing cardiac conduction, heart muscle, and vascular membranes. The best magnesium-rich foods include:
    • Deep-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, dandelion, etc. These foods contain chlorophyll (which gives them their color), whose chemical composition centers on magnesium.
    • Avocado
    • Nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, etc.)
    • Whole grains (buckwheat, amaranth, barley, etc.)
    • Legumes
       
  • Eat potassium-rich fruits. Low potassium levels can be the cause of many cardiovascular problems. If you regularly consume a lot of caffeine and alcohol (or even if you don't!), start adding potassium-rich foods into your diet. Good sources include:
    • Fruits such as figs, bananas, and raisins
    • Orange juice
    • Potatoes
    • Garlic
    • Yogurt
    • Whole grains
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