Health Tips

Nourishing Heart Healthy Snacks

How diet affects your heart health

Our bodies are composed of multiple interwoven systems that work together on a second-by-second basis to keep us alive and healthy. Our hearts drive a significant part of this work and are responsible for blood and oxygen flow to the entire physical body, which allows myriad other functions to happen. 

Keeping the heart healthy is a balancing act involving many different facets. However, diet and exercise are two crucial contributing factors when it comes to setting our hearts up for success in the long run. 

At the start of the 20th century, heart disease was not a huge problem among Americans and took relatively few lives compared to other diseases like smallpox and measles. However, over the past 100 years, instances of heart disease have seen a serious uptick and is now one of the leading causes of death throughout the world. According to the CDC, one person dies every 36 seconds from heart disease, meaning one in every four American deaths are caused by heart disease. 

The American Heart Association cites diet as one of the best ways to combat heart disease. The nutrition industry in the United States encourages snacking periodically throughout the day to keep energy levels consistent, minimize cravings, and avoid binge eating. 

The snacks we reach for can play a huge part in heart health and can truly make or break our overall health and quality of life. Opting for nourishing, nutrient-dense snacks should be top priority when it comes to munching throughout the day. Read on to discover just how easy and beneficial it is to select heart healthy snacks and avoid snacking on unhealthy, nutrient poor ones. 

How to choose heart healthy snacks

As mentioned above, our hearts are part of an integrated organ system that regulates blood flow and oxygen distribution. Food is the original medicine and fortunately, there are plenty of products out there containing natural, organic ingredients that actively work to lower blood pressure, maintain blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. 

First, let’s examine ingredients to avoid:

Snack suggestions

Stock the desk drawer, the pantry, and your backpack with heart-healthy snacks to avoid unhealthy options when hunger strikes. The following foods provide healthy, nutrient-rich options that work for your heart, rather than against it. 

The Takeaway  

Maintaining a healthy diet is key in keeping your heart healthy. Precursors to heart disease – such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol – can be reduced or mitigated completely by sticking to a high-quality diet full of nutrients. Make these simple swaps one step at a time so the healthy option becomes the habitual one. 

UCF Health’s online resources can help individuals achieve a healthier quality of life and reduce the risk for heart disease. Our patient portal is easy to use and offers online scheduling, COVID-19 updates for patients, and more. Start your journey to better health with the help of an Orlando cardiologist who can advise on crucial dietary swaps to foster better heart health. 

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.