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In Depth Look at Atherosclerosis in Birds

Rain Bow

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Karen

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I was reading this list this morning. This was published for humans but there seems to be many foods on the list that are suitable for our parrots that may have some of the same heart healthy benefits.

Eat These Foods To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Published on January 16, 2019

If you want to combat heart disease, there are plenty of foods you can incorporate into your diet to do so. We know you might think there will only be fruits and vegetables on this list, and while they are incredibly healthy for you, there are plenty more foods you should eat. To help you get started on your health journey, we’ve compiled a long list of fantastic foods you should eat!


Almonds


We all know how tasty almonds are, though you should also remember that they can boost cognitive functions, combat heart disease, and reduce cholesterol! Thanks to the high level of plant sterols, it also helps prevent the absorption of LDL.

Cashews
We all love cashews so it is a relief to hear that it is full of monounsaturated fats that bring down LDL cholesterol levels and raise HDL levels at the same time. Thanks to its antioxidants, cashews help prevent cellular damage as well.

Walnuts
Walnuts are one of our favorite snacks! If you feel the same way, you will be glad to hear they are loaded with the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Basically, this translates to reduced blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, and a healthier heart.

Pistachio
It’s green. Yeah, I just wanted to get that out of the way so that we’re on the same page. Pistachios are straight-up delicious! They’re high in nutrients and anti-oxidants, but they’re low in calories – what a win! Cholesterol isn’t a factor with these nuts, but promoting heart and gut health sure is! I don’t know why I haven’t been eating these my whole life.

Brazil Nuts
All you need is a handful of these and you’re good to go. Brazil nuts have everything you need in a healthy snack. They’re filling, disease-fighting, packed with nutrients and antioxidants and they taste mighty fine. Put this all together and you’ve got yourself a tasty package of heart-protecting potency.

Collard Greens
Collard greens aren’t just a single vegetable, rather there are a number of veggies that make up this family. The best part is that those vegetables are all on this list, or should be – kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, rutabaga and cabbage. These greens are a powerful match against heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Spinach
The creators of Popeye might have known what they were talking about! This leafy vegetable is the best source of vitamin K, ultimately helping the prevention of blood clots and development of stronger bones. It is also full of potassium, fiber, folate, and lutein that helps promote cardiovascular health.

Cabbage
At then end of the day, we only have our own bodies to protect us against disease and illness. Having said that, it’s of paramount importance that we look after ourselves, and cabbage is on our side in this endeavor. Cabbage is packed with vitamin c, an array of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and a lot more. As a bonus, cabbage helps maintain healthy vision.

Kale
This member of the cabbage family is extremely good for you. It comes with nutrients that ensure the health of your cardiovascular system and fight heart disease. Kale is full of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber as well. It is a great addition to meals since it is low in both fat and calories.

Oranges
We all love oranges! The fruit can quench your thirst, but it can also help absorb the cholesterol in your food. It comes with fiber, nutrients, vitamin C, and potassium. These components are great if you wish to flush out sodium, bring down blood pressure, and neutralize unhealthy proteins.

Grapefruit
Did you know that grapefruit comes with loads of fiber, potassium, lycopene, and choline? It’s true! This is a great way to keep your heart health in check. It is even recommended in the DASH diet, a nutritional pattern meant to bring down blood pressure.

Apples
The common saying might actually be true! Apples are full of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that lower risk for heart disease and bring down blood pressure. There are endless options to choose from and you can sort them by colors, flavors, and health benefits!

Strawberries
Strawberries go great in just about any dish! The red fruits will satisfy any sweet tooth and health freak since they are full of minerals, nutrients, and vitamin C. They are low in calorie and good for burning fat. Studies have also revealed that they can loosen up arteries and prevent the buildup of plaque in the heart.

Figs
Figs are criminally underrated! They are a wonderful source of nutrition for your heart. The sweet fruit is full of calcium and fiber. Figs can even reverse the effects of cardiovascular disease!

Cranberries
This fruit is not only delicious, but it also comes with plenty of antioxidants and nutrients. It would not be here if it did not help lower your risk for heart disease. Apart from that, it also prevents UTI and lowers risk factors for gum disease, stomach ulcers, and cancer.

Pomegranates
Add pomegranates to smoothies, salads, and shakes since they come with many antioxidants that protect your arteries from plaque oxidation and fight heart disease. Studies show it also helps prevent prostate cancer, diabetes, strokes, and Alzheimer’s. It is great for your teeth, skin, and joints as well!

Blueberries
Blueberries are tasty and full of antioxidants and nutrients. Apparently, three servings per week can do wonders for your health! It will prevent cholesterol build-up, improve blood pressure, and protect against arterial plaque buildup. Other benefits are the elimination of cancer and lower risk for heart disease.

Raspberries
These wonderful berries ooze vitamin C and manganese. They’re also low in fat and pack a powerful punch of polyphenols. What’s that? The thing you need to fight against all kinds of heart disease.

Acai Berries
This berry might be the classiest of the lot… might be. Acai berries have become well-reputed for being a fashionista in the foodies sense. Not only do they look tantalizing in any dish (check out acai breakfast bowls), they also contain lots of healthy nutrients which fight against the most fierce opponents like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Kiwi
Don’t be intimidated by the fuzzy shell. Inside, there is a fruit loaded with vitamins waiting for you. It is also an excellent source of potassium, polyphenols, copper, and magnesium. It prevents blood clots, maintains your heart health, and protects your cardiovascular system!

Dragon Fruit
Listen, before you get all giddy thinking that this fruit comes from actual fire-breathing beasts, it doesn’t. However it does pack a fiery punch of phytonutrients, nutrients, iron, calcium, protein, antioxidants, carotene, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C and B vitamins. Wowzers, get me some of that dragon fruit!

Bananas
Bananas go great in your smoothies or breakfast bowls! Aside from the taste, it is also full of fiber, potassium, and protein. Bananas also help muscles contract and nerve cells respond. Though they get a bad rep in the dieting world, the yellow fruits are actually low energy density food with resistant starch and fiber. Basically, they are great for weight loss. Not to mention that they bring down blood pressure, keep heartbeat regular, and promote heart health in general!

Pears
Like apples, pears are also rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber. Ultimately, this means they can lower the risk for heart disease and reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol.

Watermelon
We daresay that watermelons are the best fruit for the summer! Since the fruit is made of about 96% water, this is a great way to hydrate. Watermelons are brimming with potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, and C. This means regular consumption will lead to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Californication is a legendary album, though we would like you to focus on the real red hot chili peppers this time. Thanks to the capsaicin they contain, they help bring down blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This is great news for your heart, though we do not recommend eating it whole!

Tomatoes
Have you ever noticed how tomatoes look like hearts? That’s no coincidence, I say, nature was trying to tell us something. I’m assuming that nature’s message was that tomatoes are really good for cardiovascular health. Tomatoes are full of vitamin C and vitamin A, fiber, lycopene and potassium.

Tomato Sauce
Now don’t get the wrong idea – we’re not talking about ketchup that’s loaded with sugar. Nope. We’re talking about the pure version of tomato juice-turned-sauce that you use a base for pizza or cooking pasta. Research has found that tomato sauce can help strengthen your heart’s health as well as make your skin look younger. How great is that.

Lentils
Lentils can do wonders for the dish you are making, though let us focus on the heart-healthy benefits that come with these legumes. In addition to being an excellent source of potassium, protein, and magnesium, they lower the risk of developing heart disease and strokes. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure, bring down cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of plaque buildup. Legumes, in general, are full of minerals and vitamins.

Kidney Beans
Rich in magnesium, protein, and folate, kidney beans are low in fat and high in fiber. This means they bring down homocysteine levels and effectively reduce risk for strokes, heart disease, and even cancer! Go ahead and add them to your soups and stews if you wish.

Beans
Beans, as a group, deserve its own spot. These small superstars are low in fat, rich in protein, and high in fiber. They also offer many phytochemicals which is great for the prevention of heart disease!

Black Beans
Beans beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you f… ind out just how healthy they are! These guys are teeming with protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, phytonutrients and folate. It basically means that cholesterol and heart disease don’t stand a chance!

Chickpeas
Chickpeas might be small, though they are nonetheless packed with cardiovascular nutrition. Loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamins, chickpeas can bring down cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

Ginger
Ginger fans, we have some great news! Regular consumption of the wonderful-smelling spice actually lowers the risk for cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

Cinnamon
We’re talking about cinnamon, not synonyms. Speaking of synonyms, do you know what some synonyms for cinnamon are? How about these: calcium-enriched, fiber-full, glucose-and-cholesterol-level-lowering… Not bad, right? Cinnamon doesn’t just add a festive taste to most dishes, it’s super healthy and can even improve cognition.

Tumeric
Turmeric has been found to contain the active compound curcumin that helps block heart enlargement. Other benefits include the prevention of obesity, high blood pressure, and dysfunctional blood vessels. It also helps lower the risk for heart disease.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have made a name for itself as a smoothie topping, though don’t forget it is also a great source of antioxidants, protein, nutrients, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. It helps bring down cholesterol, lower the risk for all sorts of diseases, and maintain cardiovascular health.

Flax Seeds

If you don’t eat fish or nuts but need omega-3 fatty acids, go for flax seeds! Typically added as toppings, they come with loads of antioxidants, estrogen, and nutrition that promote the health of your heart.

Soy
I don’t know if you’ve noticed (although we’re sure that you have) but soy is taking major shelf space in most supermarkets these days. There’s good reason for that, and it’s not just because it’s a decent replacement for eating meat. Soy fights bad cholesterol while providing you with fiber, omega-3 fats and protein!

Edamame
Edamame is a soy protein that fights heart disease and reduces cholesterol levels in the body.

Beets
Beets come with high levels of minerals, antioxidants, and minerals. These purple superstars can lower homocysteine levels, reduce risk for heart disease, strengthen various organs, and prevent cancer.

Eggplant
Eggplants taste wonderful, and they are loaded with vitamins, nasunin, antioxidants, minerals, and flavonoids. These purple beauties help improve circulation, lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and bring down risk for heart disease.

Broccoli
Don’t be scared of broccoli! They are excellent for your cardiovascular health as the vegetable brings down cholesterol and strengthens blood vessels. Thanks to its sulforaphane content, it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps the prevention of blood sugar-related chronic problems.

Cauliflower
Maybe as a kid you had a hard time stomaching cauliflower, but now you’re all grown up! This white cousin of the broccoli has some excellent benefits for your overall health. It provides high amounts of fiber, yet low amounts of carbohydrates. It keeps your bones strong and helps detoxify your body. Bonus – it tastes delicious!

Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are yet another rising star in the culinary world. The super food makes for an excellent source of potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure by ensuring fluid balance in the body. Moreover, sweet potatoes help in the regulation of your heartbeat.

Pumpkins
Would you believe it if I told you that pumpkins aren’t ONLY used for carving scary Halloween faces into? These orange giants are actually a superfood of sorts. It could be their high levels of pro-vitamin beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, vitamin C and phytoestrogens. Or maybe it’s just that they’re great for losing weight, keeping blood pressure in check and fighting bad cholesterol.

Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts pack loads of glucosinolates, protein, potassium, and iron. They help your body get rid of toxins.

Carrots
Carrots are excellent heart-healthy vegetables. We know they help improve vision, though they also fight against free radicals and heart disease. Carrots are full of nutrients and vitamins that help combat cancer, as well as improve bone and cardiovascular health.

Brown Rice
Rice has for many centuries been a staple food for many cultures around the world. The brown variety however is often less frequently spoken of, so we’re here to give it the good PR that it deserves. Aside from filling you up with vitamins and minerals, brown rice fights off heart disease and diabetes.

Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a great way to begin your way! It is flexible and tasty, not to mention that it is full of various nutrients and minerals. It is high in fiber and boasts of a low glycemic index so look no further if you wish to lose weight and control your diabetes. It also clears arteries for better heart health!

Quinoa
Quinoa has recently made a name for itself as a nutritious grain, and it is actually true. It has nearly double the fiber amount of other grains. It is loaded with minerals, antioxidants, and essential amino acids. It is great for losing weight, improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and promoting cardiovascular health.

Salmon
Also known as the ‘chicken of the sea,’ salmon comes with omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that help lower triglyceride levels, loosen up blood vessels, prevent blood clots, and combat heart disease.

Olive Oil
Olive oil isn’t just the best oil to add to any salad, it is also really healthy! Used largely in the Mediterranean diet, it’s no surprise it’s so good for your health. If you’re looking to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol, fight blood clots and regulate blood sugar levels, then opt for the extra virgin strain.

Coconut Oil
Here is another oil that is often overlooked – coconut oil. Coconut oil provides a solid source of good cholesterol and it can do wonders for the health of your heart. However, let it be said that coconut oil, when consumed heavily, can have negative results. Everything in proportion, people.

Apple Cider Vinegar
I know, I know, apple cider vinegar is infamously known for its awful smell. Beyonce is actually a firm believer in this vinegar’s healing and health powers. A recommended use of apple cider vinegar is to dilute it with water and drink it before meals. Apparently this helps promote weight loss, as well as lower blood pressure and fight off heart disease.

Green Tea
This refreshing drink comes with many antioxidants and helps prevent arterial plaque buildup. It also lowers LDL, cholesterol, and triglycerides! Drink up if you wish to promote your heart health.

For us humans: Coffee, Red Wine and Dark Chocolate was on the list too!
 

Karen

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How do all those things affect people ALREADY with plaque build up in their arteries?
Danita, my take on it is that these foods will help lower and improve the factors that cause heart disease. The body does have the ability to heal/improve itself if we feed it correctly.
 

Danita

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So if your bird already has it, then it is not good?
I will get her to clarify. I know that if they are overweight they can't have those high fat things.
 

Karen

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So if your bird already has it, then it is not good?
I will get her to clarify. I know that if they are overweight they can't have those high fat things.
No, my take on it, the good foods will help to heal and lower the bad numbers and raise the good ones, while overall improving (or at the very least not furthering) disease of heart function.

IMO, in moderation, healthy fats are needed as part of a healthy diet even if a being is overweight. You can't omit them completely from a diet and call it healthy. The fat free diets from years ago were extremely unhealthy.
 

Hankmacaw

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It's hard to sort through many of the "healthy" foods and weigh the not so good against the good in them. For example fruits have lots of sugar in them and sugar metabolizes directly into fat. Spinach, beets and some other vegetables block the use of calcium. It looks like beans are the perfect food and my bird will not touch a bean upon penalty of death.

And yes fats are necessary in a diet. I had actually kept Jasper's diet so low in fats that she was suffering from the lack of fats. The Dr. recommended that I keep her very low fat diet and add some olive oil to her food for general health and for weight gain. So far it has worked pretty well.
 

Karen

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For example fruits have lots of sugar in them and sugar metabolizes directly into fat. Spinach, beets and some other vegetables block the use of calcium.
I have always been conflicted with spinach. Do you feel these foods fall into the 'feed in moderation' group or the 'don't feed at all' group? As an example, I have no issue feeding berries. I feel the benefits outweigh any drawbacks.
 

Hankmacaw

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Being a cautious person, I feed the questionable foods in moderation. There are some I don't have to worry about at all since Jasper is a persnickity spoiled brat and won't eat them. A variety is about the best we can do along with a complete pellet to catch anything missing.
 

Danita

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I have always been conflicted with spinach. Do you feel these foods fall into the 'feed in moderation' group or the 'don't feed at all' group? As an example, I have no issue feeding berries. I feel the benefits outweigh any drawbacks.
I took one of my recipes for AO to my vet and she said no spinach unless you do a disclaimer about the calcium issue and make a comment about umm, iron? I can't remember.
Just not putting any in things anymore.
 

Hankmacaw

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Yeah, probably iron. Many parrots are susceptible to "Iron Storage Disease".

"Iron storage disease in parrots
Too little iron in the diet and the bird could suffer from anemia, too much and it can develop iron storage disease -- storing it first in the liver, then the lungs, heart and other main organs. ... Birds that usually suffer from Iron storage disease are mynahs, toucans, bird of paradise, and birds of parrot family."
Iron Storage Disease in Birds | petMD
 

Rain Bow

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Sorry for a late response, I've been on very little lately. Someone told me to be really careful about broccoli, when I frst joined I believe (can't remember who). Not to over feed it as it can cause issues w/ the thyroid. I rotate my fruits & veggies when I go to the grocery store. I try to not buy broccoli then cauliflower & flip between the 2 unless someone in the house is eating a large amount for some reason. While flipping between I try to also vary colors, & because Buddy's a Zon, I try to pick perishables higher in vitamin A.

I've also been teaching him how to dig into nuts. He's now got the paper pecans just about aced, has the p-nuts :omg:! Down pat.

He gets them about 1 time a week, chill out, he thinks they're a toy so more goes everywhere then in. Pistachios but now w/ assistance we've started on brazil nuts. :)

I've got him on sprouts, fresh or Marsha's/Unapproved Vendor's. For morning breakfast, usually. Trying more beans here, although initially he was doing well w/ the beans, now he's poopin out a bit, on them. His feathers look splendid!

I've started removing/reducing some more of the bla seeds. I've added hemp hearts, added chia & I just bought flax... My ? Is regarding the flax... Should I have bought ground? He doesn't seem to be touching them. I figured if he can grind up a sunflower these would be easy too. I can't even say he doesn't like them as they are in a granola cereal he nibbles on & I'm pretty sure the whole seeds disappear unless they're hitting the bowl, & I'm missing them in the granola soup :lol:
 
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