Heart disease results when plaque builds up inside the arterial walls due to high blood cholesterol, which causes a partial or complete obstruction of blood flow. This reduces flow of blood to heart and may result in angina. Angina is a sensation of discomfort, pain, burning or pressure, generally felt in the chest area.
Angina may be the first indication of heart disease. But many people with heart disease often get no warning signals, until they suffer a full heart attack. Chest pain should not been ignored, even when it is not permanent.
During a heart attack, the supply of oxygen to heart is cut off, resulting in tissue death for a part of the heart muscle.
There are certain foods that lower cholesterol and thus the risk of heart disease. The following cholesterol/heart friendly foods are important for the health of your heart. These foods actually lower cholesterol.
Apples: Drinking 12 ounces of apple juice or eating two whole apples a day is beneficial. Research has shown that phytochemicals in apples could help cut the risk of death from heart disease or stroke in half.
Onions: Eating half a raw onion a day raises HDL (good) cholesterol by an average of 25 percent in most people, so healthy cooking should include onions among the main ingredients.
Legumes/Beans: One serving of dried beans/legumes a day can reduce cholesterol by up to 10%. The fiber and other compounds present in legumes and beans can lower cholesterol, blood clotting and improve blood-vessel function. These are also a great source of folate, which keeps homocysteine levels (an indicator of heart trouble), in check.
Oats: Eating about one-cup of cooked oatmeal a day significantly decreases blood cholesterol levels. Oats contain beta-glucans, a soluble fiber that is responsible for cholesterol reduction.
Walnuts: Eating walnuts can reduce your total cholesterol level by 12% and LDL cholesterol level by 16%. Walnuts contain a type of fat called linolenic acid, which lowers cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
Olive Oil, Canola Oil: Of all cooking oils, olive oil contains the largest proportion (77%) of monounsaturated fat and has powerful antioxidants, which lowers LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL levels.
I need to update this post, as I got some messages from readers asking me how cholesterol friendly various meat types are. Lean meat is good, because it’s low on fat. So, you can eat chicken breast or turkey or grass fed beef without fearing your cholesterol will skyrocket. However, there are no pork chop recipes that are cholesterol-friendly, so you may want to refrain from cooking pork if you care about your cardio-vascular system. Fish is good, you can eat white fish grilled or baked. I think lamb is good too. Nonetheless, don’t forget that if you suffer from some condition, you’d better discuss your culinary options with your doctor. It’s safer.