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Prevent heart disease: powerful nutrients to nourish this vital organ

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

A significant % of all heart disease can be prevented by changes in diet.

If we wish to prevent cardiovascular disease (the biggest killer in the world today) we must understand the most common underlying causes of heart-related diseases. Contrary to popular understanding, it’s not cholesterol as such that’s the problem. It is triggered when inflammation and hormonal changes turn our cholesterol into fragile plaques that coat our arteries. And that is in the first place related to our diet.

Our modern industrial, processed, high starch, sugar, and refined fat inflammatory diet, which is low in protective medicinal foods, is causing high blood pressure and inflammation and hardening of the arteries. So cut the highly processed foods with long ingredient lists from your diet and eat real food.

1. So eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, rich in phytonutrients, helps prevent the damage in the first place. Healthy fats, like avocados, the omega-3s in wild fish and extra virgin olive oil help improve blood vessel health and prevent clotting. There is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels. It also plays a role in calcium metabolism, helping to make sure calcium doesn’t end up in places it shouldn’t be, such as your arteries. Low blood magnesium levels are associated with high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Stress, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar all deplete magnesium. Simply increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods and supplementing with magnesium on a daily basis can go a long way in mitigating your risk of heart disease. Where do we get magnesium? In nuts, seeds, beans, and greens!

3. Talking about nuts and seeds, they also have been shown to improve cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of inflammation, decrease body weight and insulin resistance, and improve endothelial function. Walnuts, in particular, have been extensively studied for their positive effect on LDL ('bad') cholesterol. Part of the reason may have to do with their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almond nuts are a good source of magnesium and calcium. One daily serving of nuts can reduce your risk of cardiovascular death by 39%!!

4. The color of many fruits and vegetables like blueberries, eggplants, red potatoes, and apples comes from polyphenols. Some of the best studied polyphenol-rich foods are tea, especially green tea, blueberries, extra-virgin olive oil, red wine, citrus fruits, hibiscus tea, dark chocolate, coffee, turmeric and other herbs and spices. Polyphenol-rich foods have beneficial health effects on cardiovascular health.

5. According to Dr. Victor Gurewich (St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston) “half a medium size raw, yellow or white onion – or equivalent juice – a day is usually enough to dramatically raise HDL ('good') cholesterol and average of 30% in about three out of four heart patients.” Amazing that this inexpensive, everyday food has such a powerful ability to improve cholesterol levels and discourage blood clot formation.

6. Finally, vitamin D helps to regulate calcium distribution throughout the body, especially when combined with vitamin K. Additionally, Vitamin D has beneficial effects over inflammation and blood sugar control. Keeping inflammation and your blood sugar under control is the best thing you can do for your heart.

The heart is a high energy muscle that needs a good amount of nutrients in order to function optimally. So what you eat (and what you don't eat) regulates the health of your cardiovascular system. Give it a heart-healthy thought this month, and the months to follow!

Februari: HEART health month

Love yourself enough to take care of your heart!

Are you curious to know how fast YOUR heart is beating? These days you can measure your heart rate easily with your smart watch or HR monitors. But you can also do it by feeling your pulse. Simply, just please your middle finger and index finger one hand on the inner wrist of your other arm, below the base of your thumb. Once you found your pulse, count how many times you feel the taps in 10 sec. Multiply the number with 6 to measure your HR per minute. Normally your HR should be between 60 and 80 if you're not doing any physically demanding work.
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