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How can a healthy diet help control my angina?

If you have chronic angina, you probably already pay close attention to the food that you eat in order to avoid episodes. But a good diet can do much more than that. It can also help protect your heart health. Think of a heart-healthy diet as an opportunity to do two things at once -- reduce angina and strengthen your heart. Here are a few tips:

  • Instead of using unimaginative and artery-clogging butter, add interest to your diet by loading up on heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which are found in olive oil, fish, nuts, peanut butter and soy. Healthy fats in these foods help keep arteries smooth and help control blood levels of fats. Omega-3s lower triglycerides, help prevent the formation of blood clots and artery-clogging plaques, decrease inflammation and protect against dangerous arrhythmias that can lead to cardiac arrest.
  • If you have heart problems, it's wise to reduce your salt intake and keep blood pressure under control. But that doesn't mean meals have to be bland and boring. Fortunately, the other half of a blood-pressure-friendly diet is variety! Experiment with juices, vinegars, fresh herbs, and salt-free spices for adding flavor to meals. And make sure your diet is rich in blood-pressure-friendly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Choose lean cuts of poultry and fish for protein, as well as low-fat dairy.
  • Folic acid helps reduce homocysteine levels. High blood homocysteine levels are associated with increased rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Folate-rich foods include fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice, spinach, asparagus, lentils and garbanzo beans. But don't go overboard with vitamins.
  • Fiber can help you control your weight, but it also helps manage high cholesterol. Fiber found in whole grains, oats and legumes such as peas, dry beans and lentils helps decrease both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol that damage blood vessels. Fiber can also help you feel full and keep you from overeating.

A heart-healthy diet will afford you the opportunity to experiment with new flavors and new foods that not only taste amazing but are good for you, too. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.