(WETM) – According to a new Cleveland Clinic survey, 46% of Americans believe the cost of healthy food is the biggest barrier to a heart-healthy diet.
“A heart healthy diet is the cornerstone of how we lower the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Leslie Cho, MD, cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic. “It’s really sad that in our economic times people feel that eating a healthy heart is more expensive.”
Dr. Cho said buying healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you don’t need to buy organic.
“As long as we eat the rainbow of colors in your fruits and vegetables, that’s good for you and your cardiovascular health,” she explained. The survey also found that some are unclear on which diets are the healthiest for their hearts. In fact, 10% chose a fast-food diet as the most heart-healthy, with parents being two times more likely to choose it. In addition, 45% polled admitted they buy fast food at least once a week.
“Eating a diet high in trans-fat lowers our good cholesterol and eating a diet that’s very heavy in fat and fast food increases our bad cholesterol,” Dr. Cho explained. “Eating a diet that’s very high in carbs, processed carbs increases our triglycerides. Moreover, our diet has an incredibly huge effect on blood pressure.”
Doctor Cho said having a healthy diet is just one factor for heart health. It’s also important to exercise.
“The best exercise that has been proven over and over again to make people live longer is walking. Walking really is an important part of our health, not just our cardiovascular health but our mental health too,” she said.
For those looking for a certain type of diet to follow for heart health, the Cleveland Clinic recommends the Mediterranean diet, which research has shown can help lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
The Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, nuts and some fish and poultry.