Many of us believe carbs are the enemy, but they’re actually an essential part of a healthy diet. Eating the right carbohydrates can help protect your heart from illness and keep it working well. On the other hand, eating the wrong carbs can be as detrimental to your heart as cholesterol and saturated fat.
Refined carbohydrates can lead to spikes in blood sugar along with contributing to cholesterol and weight gain. All these things increase the risk of artery and heart disease.
Dr. Ripen Gupta, director of cardiology at Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital, explained, “The major component of cholesterol in blood comes from our liver and a small component from the diet. So, cholesterol-rich food taken in moderation has very little impact on cardiac health. In fact, a heart patient can take one whole egg every day. On the other hand, refined sugars get converted into harmful fats in our body, which in turn can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.”
Forty-five to 65 percent of a person’s daily caloric intake should consist of carbohydrates. Ideal carbs for a heart-healthy diet include whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses, root vegetables, and tubers, as they all have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not cause spikes in blood sugar.
Avoiding carbs like white bread, pastries, soda, energy drinks, and white pasta can do your heart, and overall body, good as these types of carbs are instantly metabolized causing spikes in sugar along with weight gain.
Along with consuming unrefined carbohydrates, your diet should also include monounsaturated fats like those found in avocados and olive oil and plenty of fruits and vegetables to stock up on a variety of nutrients and antioxidants.
Dr. Gupta concluded, “The diet for a healthy heart and a healthy body is the same. It should be a balanced diet with more of complex carbohydrates like whole grains, green leafy vegetables and beans, berries and fruits, fish and a moderate amount of fats/oil with healthy fats found in nuts like walnuts.”
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