Three Once-Maligned Foods That Are Good for Your Heart

Eggs were once believed to be unhealthy for the heart but we now know more about their health benefits and impact on heart health

When it comes to the healthfulness of certain foods, we often see flip-flopping in the scientific community. This is especially true for the three foods we will be discussing today. Of course, we must get proper nutrition, but it is also important to consider how we get it. The three foods we will discuss have alternately been called super nutritious and harmful for you at different times in the past. Today we will put those questions to rest!

First is the egg.

Eggs are a staple in the American diet. Just think of how many breakfast items and desserts include them as the main ingredient. All you have to do is take stock of how many eggs you buy weekly or monthly.

There was, for a time, concern about egg yolks. They are a significant source of cholesterol and saturated fat. On the other hand, the whites consist of healthy, lean protein. But does the cholesterol and fat in an egg truly concern us as cardiologists? The answer is a resounding no.

Along with the cholesterol and saturated fat comes a host of nutrients, vitamins, and protein that are decidedly good for the heart. Instead of worrying about whether you should eat an egg or not, think about how you prepare it. Suppose you fried in butter – not so great. Nicely poached? Fantastic! Same with what you eat alongside the egg. Hash browns and home fries are decidedly less healthy than a nice fruit side. Similarly, substitute whole grain bread for white or multi-grain. Try to avoid orange juice and opt for sugarless coffee or, the best option, water.

Next up is shrimp.

Shrimp and many other shellfish contain a good deal of cholesterol. On the surface, you may think that this would be detrimental to your heart health, but it’s quite the opposite. The cholesterols and fats that flow through our veins differ from the cholesterol we consume naturally in food. This is especially true as it relates to very nutritious and very lean proteins such as shrimp. We suggest that you enjoy shellfish, if you can, regularly. It offers excellent health benefits and even lowers cardiovascular risk when replacing red meat, for example. Here too, the preparation of the shrimp makes a big difference. Boiled shrimp is far healthier than fried shrimp, the latter of which should be avoided, if possible.

Lastly, it is essential to talk about fruit.

On the one hand, we are told to avoid sugar while on the other hand we are encouraged to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Of course, most fruits contain a significant amount of sugar. What’s the deal? Ultimately, it comes down to added versus natural sugar. Added sugar in processed foods and drinks is genuinely problematic because it can cause metabolic disease. After all, it offers no nutritional value – just empty calories. On the other hand, fruits, especially those low on the glycemic index, offer a host of vitamins and antioxidants that can improve our health and be delicious at the same time.

What you eat, but how you prepare it, can make a big difference in your overall health. The three foods listed above are great examples of how it’s possible to misjudge food simply because of its nutritional label. Instead, it is essential to evaluate the entire dietary picture of the foods you eat.

We encourage you to visit your cardiologist to understand how to improve your diet and exercise program for better heart health. We can offer you guidance on what to eat to ensure that your body’s most crucial muscle keeps pumping efficiently long into the future.