As we grow older, usually in our 40s, our bodies begin to undergo several changes in their physical and biological makeup. These changes occur from cell levels to system levels in the body. As for the heart, its muscle cells slightly degenerate and the blood vessels gradually thicken and stiffen as we grow older. As a result, plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, blood flow reduces, and the risk of heart diseases increases.
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Nutrition(food) is an important part of life that provides nourishment and energy for the body. However, several studies have shown that we need to be more careful with our choices of foods, especially as we get older, as they may also become detrimental to our health. This is due to the variation in the nutrients they offer and the requirements of these nutrients by our body as we get older, especially by our hearts.
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Thus, nutrition needs to change with increasing age. Scientific studies have shown that the consumption of the following foods as we grow older can greatly improve our heart health.
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Studies show that people who eat nuts often, especially adults in their 40s, are 14% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20% less likely to develop coronary heart disease. This is because of the healthy monounsaturated fat, fibre, and other nutrients that lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which play a major role in plaque buildup in the arteries. It can also improve the lining of the arteries’ health and lower the levels of inflammation in the heart. Examples of nuts are walnut, almond, and cashew nut.
2. Leafy vegetables
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Broccoli, spinach, and kale are good sources of fibre, vitamin A, C, and K, B vitamins(folate), low carbohydrates, and other minerals and nutrients. These nutrients help to reduce internal inflammation and lower high cholesterol levels, two risk factors for heart disease. In accordance with a study from the International Journal of Epidemiology, regular consumption of leafy green vegetables can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and nourish the heart.
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Regular consumption of hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds in your 40s are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fibres, and other heart-healthy nutrients. According to Healthline, studies show that people who eat flaxseed regularly have their blood pressure reduced, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels lowered. With increasing age, especially at age 40, regular consumption of seeds can protect against heart inflammation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels
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With increasing age, oatmeal is highly recommended due to its variety of health benefits. It’s rich in fibre, which helps to prevent heart attack, stroke, and clogged arteries and improve digestive health. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular intake of oatmeal reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve good cholesterol levels at the same time due to the presence of beta-glucan in oats.
Regular consumption of other foods such as garlic, olive oil, salmon, dark chocolate, beans, berries, mackerel, and sardines also contain nutrients that can also promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart diseases as we grow older.
Meanwhile, let us be conscious to reduce or eliminate foods that may contribute to plaque buildup on the internal walls of the arteries and increases the risk of coronary heart disease from our diets, especially in our 40s and above. These foods include:
1. French fries/chips
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2. Red meat
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3. Baked foods
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5. White rice
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6. Canned foods
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7. Fried Chicken
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