AFIB and heart failure protection you can snack on

When it comes to heart disease, diet makes a big difference. In fact, research shows that people who eat a healthy, Mediterranean-inspired diet can decrease their heart disease risk by as much as 31 percent.

But there’s one food that stands out from the pack if you want to keep your heart healthy. This food may even be able to help prevent two serious diseases that put your heart and life at risk.

Have any guesses what food I’m talking about?

The nutritious nut, of course.

Nuts: The healthy heart food

I write about nuts a lot, because they’re just so dang healthy. They improve your brain health, defend your body against carcinogens and add years to your lifespan.

And to top it all off, they’re probably one of the best weapons you have against diseases that affect your heart and arteries too. A new study published in the journal Heart found that people who eat nuts regularly protect themselves against two scary cardiovascular diseases: heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

Heart failure is a condition where your heart doesn’t pump blood effectively, so it struggles to provide the rest of your body with the blood it needs. Although people can live relatively normal lives with heart failure, as many as 50 percent of people diagnosed with the disease die within five years.

But based on data pulled from 61,000 Swedish 45 to 83-year-olds over the course of 17 years, eating nuts weekly can decrease the odds of developing heart failure by a remarkable 20 percent.

A few weekly nut snacking sessions can also decrease your risk of a dangerous heart condition called atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is a rapid, irregular heartbeat that reduces blood flow to the rest of your body. It increases your risk of stroke, heart failure and other serious heart and blood vessel-related problems. But the more nuts you eat, the less likely you are to get it.

Researchers found that people who ate nuts one to three times per month lowered their atrial fibrillation risk by a modest 3 percent. People who ate nuts once or twice per week reduced their risk by a respectable 12 percent. But people who ate nuts three times per week or more reduced their atrial fibrillation risk by an impressive 19 percent.

Basically, each additional serving of nuts per week lowered atrial fibrillation risk by another four percent. Nuts may be salty, but their heart health benefits sound like a sweet deal to me!

Why are nuts so healthy?

You may be wondering… what’s so great about nuts? Why are they so healthy for your heart?

Well, nuts are a rich source of healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants, which is why they’re so good for cardiovascular health, among other things.

So, my advice to you?

Eat more nuts. Squeeze them in your diet at least a few times per week, if not daily. They make a great alternative to less healthy snacks, like chips and crackers. You can also throw a handful of nuts in your smoothie or salad if you’re having a hard time fitting them into your daily diet.

As an added bonus, nuts make you feel fuller longer and decrease your chance of gaining weight. So, go nuts on nuts. It’s the best thing you can do for your heart, your waistline and your health.

Editor’s note: Living healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. See how part-time health nuts use food, vitamins, minerals, supplements and just the right exercise to hold onto their vitality and health. Click here!

Sources:

  1. Preventing Heart Disease — Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  2. Heart failure — Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  3. Congestive heart failure: What you need to know — Medical News Today. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  4. Atrial fibrillation — Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  5. Regular nut intake linked to lower risk of heart rhythm irregularity (atrial fibrillation) — MedicalXpress. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  6. C. Larsson, et al. “Nut consumption and incidence of seven cardiovascular diseases.” — Heart, 2018.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.