Top Five Foods That Can Protect Your Heart
Ask any heart surgeon, your arteries are akin to plumbing. Would you pour bacon fat down your kitchen sink? Expect a clog and a plumber’s bill. Same for your arteries and veins. Pour animal fats into your stomach, expect to be venally catheterized if you are lucky, or suffer a heart attack if you are not.
The subject of heart disease, the #1 killer of people in the USA today, is front and center thanks to some new findings that give warning to predisposition to heart disease overall.
Inflammation is a body’s natural reaction to some harmful substance, and can be a good thing—if only continued for short periods of time. The problem occurs when certain parts of the body are frequently or constantly inflamed. Then, instead of being beneficial, the inflammation can turn deadly.
In the case of your veins and arteries, cholesterol is used by the body to coat the arteries and protect them from inflammation. The downside is restricted blood flow and chunks or dangerous pieces of this coating to break off and cause attacks or strokes in the brain.
Diet is a crucial factor, and SignatureMD concierge doctors have blogged extensively about the correct way to eat and what to look for in past articles. Our new diets of low-carb, artificially sweetened, omega-6 oil rich foods actually create this dangerous inflammation in the arteries. The worst offenders are the simple carbohydrates found in processed foods (these turn to sugars very quickly), refined sugar, and omega 6 oils (oils that when out of balance produce cytokines, the inflammatory molecules).
According to the American Heart Association, blood sugar is controlled in a narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that injure the blood vessel walls. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off the inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, you are effectively sandpapering the inside of your delicate blood vessels.
The ideal fat ratio is more omega 3 fats than omega 6. Omega 6 fat is used because it gives a longer shelf-life to food.
Omega-3 is vital for weight loss and heart health, according to SignatureMD doctors. Especially for those who experience a lightheaded rush when going from lying down or sitting to standing up. This tell-tale drop in blood pressure is known as orthostatic hypotension.
In new research from the University of North Carolina, 12000 patients’ blood pressures were measured when they were lying down and after they stood up. Orthostatic hypotension was defined by whether a person’s systolic blood pressure (the number on top) fell by 20 points or more after standing up, or if the diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) fell by 10 points or more.
People with orthostatic hypotension were 1.34 times more likely to develop heart failure than patients without, and the risk grew to more than 1.5 times if the patient also had high blood pressure to begin with. The link was stronger in people ages 45-55 compared with those who were 56-64 years old.
This study is published in the March 20 issue of the journal, Hypertension.
The recommended treatments include lifestyle changes, such as diet overhaul, drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol, compression stockings or even statin medication.
Today it was reported that Vitamin E, long believed to be a magic bullet for heart health, is not effective. Researchers studied a group of nearly 40,000 women aged 45 and older for an average of about 10 years.
The women took 600 international units (IU) of vitamin E or a placebo every other day.
During the study, 220 episodes of heart failure were diagnosed. The results showed that taking vitamin E supplements had no impact on the women’s risk of developing heart failure.
So, with all this information on dizzy spells and Vitamin E being ineffective, what can you do to protect your heart that will work?
SignatureMD doctors made a short list of easy dietary changes that can greatly impact your health:
1. GREEN = LEAN
Juice greens, Fresh fruits and vegetables are complex-carbohydrates. Please minimize starchy foods like white potatoes and white breads. The healthiest food is vegetable based, so eat colorful fruits, squash, vegetables and help stop internal inflammation so your natural healing process can take over.
2. OMEGA MAN 3
Chia seeds, salmon and flaxseed are loaded with Omega-3 oils. A small spoon full of chia can help you tip the balance to the healthy omega-3 side. The best part is, there’s no flavor. You can add these seeds to anything to get your daily amount of omega-3. They’re also full of b-vitamins, more calcium than milk, and more magnesium than broccoli…all with the taste of whatever you’d like!
3. FRUITY, GRAINY AND NUTTY
Buy a bag of plain Almonds. This super nut deliver rich source of cholesterol-lowering sterols. Apples can block LDL oxidation, resulting in an 8 percent drop in levels. Apples – and their skins – contain soluble fiber, the kind that scrubs artery walls clean.
Similar to the resveratrol in grapes, pterostilbene, an antioxidant found in blueberries, can stimulate liver cells to better break down fat and cholesterol, according to USDA scientists. Pterostilbene will also help provide you with better aging and even DNA repair. Also, Whole Grains cut your risk of heart disease by about 15 percent, as fiber acts like a scrubbing pad on the inside of your artery walls, cleaning out the bad cholesterol before it has a chance to stick around. Whole grains are also packed with fiber that will aid your digestion.
4. LEGUMES (fancy for BEANS)
Learn to love veggie patties based on soy beans and black beans. Red meat won’t be missed, and the flavor selections for veggie burgers are so large now, you won’t get bored. Dr. Praeger’s Spinach patties make excellent breadless “buns” to eat a veggie burger with all the toppings. Experiment, lose weight and help your ticker too.
5. FISH FISH GET YOUR WISH
Two weekly servings of fatty fish, like salmon, can lower LDL by 20 percent. Tufts University scientists found that, in high enough quantities, the omega-3 fatty acids from fish devoured cholesterol molecules in the bloodstream and shrank the size of remaining LDL particles by 12 percent.
I. American Heart Association
III. Hypertension – March 20 issue: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/08957061/20/3