Author: Richard R. Heuser, M.D., FACC, FACP, FESC, FSCAI
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right? Newly published data evaluates the seven-yearlong fruit consumption habits of 451,680 adults. And the researchers’ findings indicate there might be some truth after all in that singsong medical “claim.” In fact, fresh fruit consumption may cut heart disease risk by 25 to 40 percent.
How does fruit lower risk for heart disease?
Many fruits are rich in soluble fiber. This type of fiber (compared to insoluble, which is present in whole grains and tough vegetables like carrots and celery) slows digestion, filling you up sooner. Also, it binds with cholesterol, preventing it from entering the bloodstream where it can cause plaque buildup and arterial blockages.
Another benefit of eating more dietary fiber – whether in the form of fruit, grain or vegetable – is that you’re not eating something else that could be bad for your heart. Eating an apple for a snack? That means you’re not eating a candy bar! Enjoying a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries for breakfast? Then you won’t be starting your day with a three-meat omelet.
How can I get more fruit in my diet?
Many people are accustomed to eating a vending machine-sized bag of potato chips for a mid-morning snack or having a soda in the afternoon. When this is the case, suggesting you substitute chips with an apple or Coke with a smoothie is easier said than done. Your body naturally craves the sweeter/saltier/higher-fat options. Instead, add fruit to what you’re already eating to lower risk for heart disease.
Do you normally have yogurt for breakfast? Add fruit. Does your dinner plate have room for another side dish? Include some fruit. Once you get in the habit of introducing fruit to your palate, you can then turn your attention to substituting unhealthy foods for those that are rich in heart-healthy dietary fiber.
Schedule An Appointment With a Phoenix Cardiologist
Are you interested in lowering risk for heart disease? You can use this online risk assessment tool to help determine your risk. Someone from Phoenix Heart Center will contact you with the results. To get started lowering your risk for heart disease, schedule an appointment with a Tempe, East Mesa or Phoenix cardiologist online or by calling 602-234-0004.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.