A Healthy Heart – Are You at Risk for Coronary Heart Disease?
Clearly, a healthy heart is paramount for healthy living. It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t to many.
According to the American Heart association, Coronary Heart Disease, also known as atherosclerosis or “hardening” of the arteries” affects 14 MILLION people resulting in over 1.5 MILLION heart attacks annually. Even more frightening is that it is the #1 cause of all heart-related deaths.
The best ways to ensure a healthy heart, and its all-important job of developing nourishing blood to every part of your body, is to prevent plaque buildup and reduced blood flow in arteries. Here’s the background on coronary artery disease and arterial blockages and how you can prevent them through making healthy choices.
What is Coronary Artery Disease? – Blocked Arteries!
Many people do not realize they have coronary artery disease, or arterial plaque build-up (also called arthrosclerosis), until they wind up calling 911 with an attack of angina (heart pain), or a heart attack! Both can be caused by the arteries of the heart not getting enough blood usually from plaque buildup.
It was previously thought that a high saturated fat diet was the primary cause of arterial plaque. However, the French Paradox came along and taught us that oxidation has a lot more to do with cholesterol turning into those arterial plaques and blockages.
Are You At Risk for Arthrosclerosis?
There is no hard and fast picture of the person who will develop coronary artery disease. It depends on a few crucial factors. Are you committed to a making healthy living like:
- Making healthy choices in food?
- Quitting smoking?
- Exercising regularly?
If you answered “No” to any of these, then yes, you are at risk for arthrosclerosis.
Healthy Choices for a Healthy Heart
Keeping your arteries clear involves a little effort on your part. However, that effort will reward you with enough heart health and stamina to live your live healthy and fully.
Here are the healthy choices you should make for a healthy heart:
Diet – It is critical that you limit saturated animal fat to 25-30 grams a day. Equally as important is to include a diet rich in anti-oxidants and polyphenols that helps dissolve saturated fats and stop oxidation. These include healthy choices like red wine, green apples, olive oil, oolong/green/white teas, Omega-3 rich nuts, coconut oils, apple cider vinegar. Also, high fiber foods like beans, peas, whole grains, absorb saturated fats and remove them through elimination before they enter the bloodstream as lipids.
Exercise – Interval Aerobic exercise, like walking, running, bicycling, elliptical, stair stepper, treadmill or jumping rope is essential to healthy living. Interval exercise is warming up slowly for 10 minutes and then going at your full capacity for 1-2 minutes then slowing down to a resting pace for 3 minutes and repeating for a set of 6 intervals. If you haven’t done aerobic exercise for a long while, take it slowing and increase a bit every week. This helps your heart adjust to sudden demanding loads. It also builds good HDL and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and burns body fat. You should also consider adding 20 minute of weight training three times per week. This creates muscle and burns fat even at rest.
Supplements – Ensuring your body gets the right amount of some key vitamins and minerals help to ensure a healthy heart.
- 1,000 mg/daily Omega-3 fish and krill oils boost HDL and lower LDL cholesterol
- 1-2 gm/daily of Vitamin C builds collagen which strengthens arterial walls.
- CoQ-10, 100 mg, is a crucial anti-oxidant that works with Vitamin E to attach to LDL cholesterol and prevent oxidation.
- As we age CoQ10 levels decrease so it is important to supplement them.
- Niacin (and other B vitamins) is also effective at reducing LDL and boosting HDL cholesterol, 1-3 gm/day.
Smoking – Smokers are at much higher risk of developing arthrosclerosis because of the toxins in cigarette smoke which contribute to oxidation damage in your body. Do your heart, lungs, arteries and the rest of you a favor and quit!
That’s the basic healthy choices for keeping your arteries free from obstructing plaques and preventing coronary heart disease.
Source: Preventing Heart Disease, http://www.futurescience.com/howwedie.html
Source: Prevent Atherosclerosis, http://www.livestrong.com/article/13176-prevent-atherosclerosis/
Source: What You Can Do to Prevent Atherosclerosis, http://www.stjohn.org/HealthInfoLib/swArticle.aspx?1,1583