Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the modern world.
One person dies every 34 seconds in the States from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Heart disease is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries which sticks to the walls causing plaque (atherosclerosis).
This results in narrowing of the arteries and reduces the blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body.
This can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.
There are many dietary and lifestyle factors that can help prevent heart disease including:
* Healthy cholesterol levels: LDL’s and Triglicerides are the dangerous lipids in the bloodstream. Elevated amounts of these fats cause inflammation in the arteries.
Eat a healthy balanced diet high in green leafy veggies, whole grains, lean protein and unprocessed foods.
* Healthy blood pressure: High blood pressure usually results from the heart having to pump the blood through arteries that are already blocked by plaque.
* Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight makes the heart have to work harder and results in more inflammation in the body and blood vessels.
* Exercise daily: Exercise not only helps with weight loss but it also works the heart muscle by pumping blood around the body. Aim for at least 20 min daily-cardio as well as strength work.
* Quit smoking: Smoking results in stiff inflamed arteies and impairs circulation and cognition.
* Reduce alcohol: Excess alcohol consumption can result in fatty liver disease, inflammation in the arteries and brain, and predispose to late onset diabetes.
* Heathy blood sugars: Elevated insulin causes inflammation in the arteries as well as type 2 diabetes if the pancreas can’t process insulin properly.
* Quality sleep: Poor sleep and sleep apnoea are associated with an increased risk of CVD.
* Manage stress: Prolonged stress causes the body to produce high amounts of cortisol and adrenaline which are inflammatory hormones. Yoga, breathwork, meditation, exercise and getting in nature all help reduce stress levels.