Did you know that heart attack, stroke, and related disorders kill more Americans than any other disease combined in the United States? Over 1 million Americans died in 1990 from cardiovascular disease which could be prevented with diet, vitamins, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.
Arteriosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries, is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke in the world. When fat and cholesterol build up around the heart and on the inner walls of the arteries arteriosclerosis occurs. Then your arteries start to narrow from fat and cholesterol build up, blood flow slows down and blood pressure increases. When arteries narrow the risk of blood clots increase and depending on where the clot ends up can cause a stroke or heart attack. Arteriosclerosis usually goes un-noticed until it reaches an advanced stage and most people don't even realize they have it till it's too late. Prevention should be our first goal.
Third world countries experience less heart disease than America and other modern countries due to its population's high volume of processed foods consumed on a daily basis. Studies have shown that an increase in sugar, refined flour, and simple carbohydrates are contributing factors in heart disease. Other risk factors include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease.
Dietary changes are the first step in prevention of arteriosclerosis. Follow a diet low in animal fat and refined sugars and add fiber to your diet in supplement form or by eating more whole grains and vegetables is a good start. Foods good for the heart are whole grains, almonds, fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, skinless turkey, chicken and fish, brown rice, garlic, onions, olive oil, sprouts, asparagus, apples, bananas, beans, buck wheat, seeds, whey powder, and yogurt are all great for the heart. Try to avoid caffeine which includes soda pop and coffee. Avoid alcohol, red meat, refined carbohydrates and white flour. Try to limit your dairy intake, milk is high in fat. Homogenized dairy products contain an enzyme called xanthine oxidase believed to cause arteriosclerosis.
There are some vitamin supplements that might help as well. Choline, Inositol, and lecithin act as an emulsifier which can help prevent plaque build up on arteries. Chromium can help lower blood sugar and in some studies have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Chromium may help boost HDL cholesterol and aid in lowering LDL cholesterol. High blood sugar can make the fats in your blood stream stickier and increase buildup on the arteries, maintaining a good blood sugar level can reduce your risk of heart disease. Coenzyme Q10 helps with oxygen transport and helps oxygenate the heart, this may prevent additional heart damage. Coenzyme Q10 can help the body break down fatty acids and convert them to energy. Those lacking in coenzyme q10 normally have heart problems. Also, essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fish oil can help prevent hardening of the arteries and help prevent blood from clumping together and may help the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins. Germanium is a less commonly spoke of mineral is shown to lower high blood pressure and improve circulation in the body. Calcium and magnesium can aid in the contraction and relaxation of muscles through out the body including the heart. Calcium and magnesium are essential for proper heart function which helps maintain a normal heart rhythm and blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure have been linked to low calcium/magnesium levels in the body. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can help strengthen blood vessels, help prevent high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, repair arterial walls, and has been attributed to the reversing of heart disease. Vitamin E and selenium are well known for their beneficial effects as an antioxidant as well as the benefits to the heart.
Some herbs known to benefit the cardiovascular system are hawthorn berries, garlic, cayenne, ginkgo, rosemary tea, and Chinese mushrooms. These herbs a great for the cardiovascular system which have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve circulation, relax blood vessels, and act as a natural blood thinner.
Exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Daily aerobic exercise is something everybody should consider to help prevent arteriosclerosis. Exercise a minimum of 3 days a week for no less than 30 minutes each day to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Stress is a factor in heart disease and steps should be taken to reduce stress in your life as much as possible. Stress causes the adrenal glands to release adrenalin which causes the heart to work harder and your whole cardiovascular system to tighten up. Keeping your body as stress free as possible every day is a good step in the right direction but wanting to be stress free and actually being stress free can be next to impossible. By changing your diet, taking vitamin supplements, exercising regularly, practicing stress reduction techniques, and seeing your health care practitioner on a regular basis is a good step towards the prevention or heart disease and arteriosclerosis. The above mentioned vitamin supplements can be found at your local or online vitamin store.
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