How Does Nutrition Affect Heart Disease

Can nutrition play a role in heart health? How does nutrition affect heart disease? These are really good questions and some of the answers might really surprise you. So if you have a few minutes to spare why dont we jump right into our article about how does nutrition affect heart disease.

Nutrition has been much maligned in recent years due to the so called advances in cholesterol lowering medications. The most prominent of these are the statins which work by blocking the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme which is needed for the body to produce cholesterol. Because of their effectiveness it is my belief that a certain amount of complacency has crept into many medical professional. After all, why worry about something as arcane as nutrition when statin medications can lower cholesterol faster than a cowboy can say gettie up.

But what if there were other factors at work that contributed to heart disease besides cholesterol. What if I told you that there were over 15 studies linking a destructive amino acid called homocysteine to heart disease, and nutrition can play an important role in eliminating this risk.

No one would argue that managing cholesterol is an important piece of the puzzle but we might be looking at a disease which attacks our bodies on multiple fronts.

In order for cholesterol deposits to form in our arteries the surface of the arterial wall must be torn, damaged, or roughed up in some way otherwise dangerous LDL cholesterol would float right by and eventually be disposed of in the form of solid waste. What the latest studies suggest is that homocysteine amino acids chew up cells in the lining of your blood vessels creating a rough pitted surface conducive to triggering blood clots, and/or plaque deposits consisting of cholesterol, dead cells, and calcium.

The question as to how does nutrition affect heart disease is central to managing these harmful amino acids. There are currently three B vitamins which have been shown to reduce the risk of damage for homocysteines. They are folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. When taken together recent research suggests they work to protect and heal the lining of the arteries, thus minimizing the damage of these hazardous homocysteine amino acids. While this may be the case, researchers have yet to prove that lowering homocysteine levels alone can actually reduce the incidence of heart disease. Nevertheless, until this risk factor can be discounted it should not be ignored. Lets take each one of these nutrients individually and see what foods contain high quantities of these B vitamins.

*Folic acid: beans, whole grain, fortified wheat flower, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables.

*Vitamin B6: Asparagus, bananas, beans, bok choy, cauliflower, grains, tuna, turkey, mustard greens, and turnip greens.

*Vitamin B12: Fish, milk, poultry, eggs, and red meat

As you can see B12 may prove to be the most problematic for those striving for a heart healthy nutrition due to the high cholesterol content in many of the best natural sources, with fish being the exception due to its high omega 3 fatty acid content. The good news is that B12 nutritional supplements are both affordable and readily available at your local supermarket or drugstore.

What else? Certainly we have answered many of the questions surrounding how does nutrition affect heart disease. While this may be the case homocysteine management alone will not carry the day prompting many to enlist the help of a natural cholesterol reduction supplement. Natural cholesterol supplements are very safe and have been found to be an excellent tool for lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels.

Carefully Selected Diets Lower Cholesterol and Reduce Heart Disease!

A search of the biomedical research papers at the U.S. National Library of Medicine reveals that there are almost 200,000 papers on the subject of cholesterol. A common conclusion in many of them is that carefully selected food choices and diets lower cholesterol levels. Conversely the wrong choice of foods can have the opposite effect of increasing cholesterol levels, and therefore increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In the USA alone with 800,000 deaths each year (i.e. over 90 every hour) attributed to diseased arteries, and one-third of the population having elevated cholesterol levels it is a major problem that should be of concern to everyone. In addition to this, our country’s levels of weight problems, obesity and diabetes have never been higher than they are today. There are a few factors that all these unhealthy conditions have in common and that will fuel these conditions, as follows:

excess consumption of fats
excess consumption of salt
excess consumption of sugar
sedentary lifestyle
excess consumption of refined, and processed, and convenience foods
insufficient consumption of fruits, vegetables and fiber

So whether your particular health challenge is excess cholesterol, overweight, vascular disease, heart disease, diabetes, or stroke it is likely caused by a combination of one or more of the above factors. And what should be obvious to you is that all of these unhealthy conditions are due to lifestyle choices, and are avoidable if we make different choices.

If you don’t yet have any indications of these types of health problems, but your lifestyle typically is in keeping with the above factors, then the risk of you heading down this unhealthy path at some time in the future is very high.

This is not meant to be scare-mongering. If you were to take the time to look through the many research papers I mentioned above you would quickly come to the same conclusion. Most people do not have the time to do that investigation to come to that realization, and perhaps unfortunately for you neither does your doctor.

Society is founded on the flow of economic wealth. There are many people and organizations with vested economic interests in maintaining the status quo in order to protect their economic position. That can mean encouraging us to consume the more economically profitable foods. It can also mean for some health workers that having a healthier clientele may result in earning less money. The end result is that you may not necessarily be fed the right things. By fed I mean in both of its meanings – food and information.

There is no doubt that the right food choices and diets lower cholesterol levels. Not only that but such diets have the added advantage of minimizing all of those other unhealthy conditions I mentioned above. Knowing exactly what to include and exclude in your diet is not difficult.

It simply requires a little more knowledge which is the focus of other articles I have written on this subject. As a general principle if you take note of the guide I mentioned above you will be well on the right track.

Steps To Prevent Heart Disease

Heart diseases are rampant in US and other western countries. Developing economies, such as India, are also not far behind. And therefore this is the high time we should start learning more about our hearts and what can be done to prevent heart diseases. Here are 5 steps that a heart specialist in India shared with me:

1. Know which foods to eat more of, and which ones to limit

You might know that certain foods increase your risk for a heart disease while others help you keep your heart healthy. In general, you should have more of vegetables and fruits as they are rich in vitamins and minerals. Refined, processed or fast foods, on the other hand, should be limited.

2. Take a look at your portion size

There are people who keep on eating until they feel stuffed. Overeating leads to eating more calorie, fat and cholesterol. And this is certainly not good for your heart. Remember, how much you eat is as important as what you eat. Control your portion size and bring down your chances of developing a heart disease.

3. Whole grains do wonders to your heart

Whole grains, like barley, contain fibre and many other nutrients, which can help regulate blood pressure and heart health. Substitute the refined products with the whole grains. Ground flaxseed is a great addition to a heart healthy diet. It is full of fiber and nutrients. Try it.

4. Reduce your intake of sodium

Excessive sodium can lead to high blood pressure and poor heart health. Therefore reduce it. Reducing the amount of salt from the food that you prepare at home is the first thing you should do. However, you should be more careful about the salt that comes from the consumption of canned and processed foods, such as soups and frozen dinners.

5. Heart healthy exercise

Make exercise a part of your daily life. Yoga, aerobics, Ti-chi, whatever fascinates you, start it and save your heart.

6. When you are diagnosed with a heart disease

There is no need to lose heart. There are treatments available for almost all heart diseases. If its costly in your country, you can get the treatment in some other countries, which offer affordable treatments. Cardiology treatment in India, for example, would cost you a fraction of what you would spend in a hospital in US or UK.

The best thing is cardiology treatment in India is performed with the same precision and care that you would receive at a hospital in US or UK.

Preventing Heart Attack

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2008, heart related diseases accounted for 24% of all deaths caused by non-communicable diseases. In other words 12,57,936 people died of heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

In 2004, total number of deaths due to ischaemic heart disease (IHD) was 5,54,194. Out of that 2,55,782 people died in urban areas while 2,98,412 died in rural areas.

The total number of DALYs for IHD in 2004 was estimated at 1,60,00,808. (1 DALY equals one lost year of healthy life.) The total number of YLL (Years of Life Lost due to premature death) for IHD stood at 49,52,150.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) related deaths are expected to rise from 27 lakh in 2004 to 40 lakh by 2030.

The prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) ranges from 6.6% to 12.7% in urban and 2.1% to 4.3% in rural India, among those aged 20 years or older.

It is estimated that there are currently 3 crore CHD patients, with 1.4 crore residing in rural and 1.6 crore in urban areas. But these are likely underestimates given that surveys do not include those CHD patients without the symptoms.

As compared to other countries CVD in India is characterized by early onset and premature death and higher cases of deaths related to complications from CVD. Also the diseases manifest more easily in Indians than their Western counterparts, particularly from risk-factors like overweight and obesity.

CVD disproportionately affects the young in India with 52% of deaths occurring under the age of 70 years compared to just 23% in Western countries.

Consequently, the country suffers a very high loss in potential productive years of life because of premature CVD deaths among those aged 35 to 64 years: 92 lakh years lost in 2000 and 1.79 crore years expected to be lost in 2030.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M HAVING A HEART ATTACK?

A heart attack takes place when blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted, causing heart cells to die. The interruption is caused by accumulation of fatty particles called plaque inside the walls of the pipes (arteries) carrying blood to the heart. A lack of blood supply results in the shortage of oxygen, which if left untreated for a sufficient period of time leads to death.

A heart attack is a medical emergency and should be attended to with highest priority. The most common symptom for a heart attack is chest pain. The sensation is often described as tightness, pressure or squeezing. The pain may be felt in only one part of the body or it may also move from the chest to the left arm (most often), lower jaw, neck, right arm, back, and upper central region of the abdomen. Other symptoms of a heart attack include anxiety, cough, fainting, light headedness/dizziness, nausea or vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath and sweating which may be heavy.

HOW CAN I PREVENT IT?
Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) or ischaemic heart disease (IHD) lead to a heart attack. Such diseases are non-communicable, i.e., they do not spread through infection or contamination. Also known as lifestyle diseases, their onset depends on health habits in most cases. Keeping the blood pressure in strict control by eating food that is less in fat and oil content, cessation of smoking, limitation of alcohol intake and regular physical exercise can reduce the incidence of heart diseases and heart attacks by a great margin. In addition, regular screening of the heart with a preventive health check-up helps in early detection of blockage. Some of the tests commonly recommended are lipid profile, 2D echocardiogram, CT scan, etc.

Healthy Foods In Orange Can Prevent Heart Disease Too!

Eating fruit and vegetables is undoubtedly one of the best and surest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fruit and vegetables in bright orange can in fact help to boost our immune system as they contain beta carotene and bioflavonoids, which are essential in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. They also help maintain good eyesight and glowing skin.

Carrots, oranges, peaches, and pumpkin are a few good representatives for fruit and vegetables in orange.

Carrots are believed to be originated in the Middle East and central Asia. They are considered as root vegetables. Over 100 varieties of carrot are available and they appear in various colors: yellow, purple, white, red, and orange. Raw and cooked carrots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folic acid and potassium. Pick and buy those that are boringly colored and firm. Raw or cooked carrots can be eaten alone or as a salad, side dish, and as a dessert. Instead of being thrown away, the head of a carrot can be used to enhance flavor and nutrients to soup and sauces.

Native to China, orange trees have been cultivated in Asia for more than 4,000 years and oranges have become one of the most popular fruits around the world. Oranges are commonly eaten alone but their essential oils and essence are also used in pasties and desserts. Oranges can be incorporated in the recipe of making food such as duck, port and seafood. Oranges can be kept for about a week under room temperature while candid and dried orange peel must be stored in an air-tight container.

Halloween will probably pop up your mind when mentioning pumpkin. Being part of a squash family, the hard and fibrous pumpkin is a great ingredient for soup. It can also used in making desserts such as pumpkin pie and pumpkin jam. During summer, the seasonal crook-neck squash with a light orange hue will avail and it can be used as a main meal. The turban squash which is in deep orange and dark green is an ideal ingredient for desserts because of its nutty, sweet flavors. It is available only during winter.

Velvety on the outside with honey-flavored flesh, peaches are excellent candied, canned, dried, frozen or cooked. Peaches can also used to decorate and flavor cakes, tarts, salads, and yogurt. Due to its easily-spoiled nature, peaches should be handled with care and should be stored in fridge, which can be kept up to 3 to 4 days. Peaches are excellent source of vitamin A and C and niacin whereas dried peaches are rich in iron, zinc, and riboflavin.

In conclusion, eating healthily does not necessarily mean that we have to stick to boring and tasteless meals. Fruits and vegetables can not only add colors and flavors to our meal, but also provide us with a whole lot of nutrition that can help us prevent heart disease as well as other diseases.

Former Heart Surgeon Reveals … How to prevent and even reverse heart disease – without drugs or surgery. Read more about Dr Robert’s confession at: http://www.howtopreventheartdisease.com/dr-robert.html