Heart Disease: What’s Really Putting You at Risk
Lowering Cholesterol Alone is Not Enough
Heart disease is responsible for 3 times more deaths in women than all forms of cancer combined ~ including breast cancer! That statistic is alarming and a wakeup call for sure. It’s ironic that we live in fear of getting cancer while our diet and lifestyle create another disease right before our eyes. Sound depressing? There’s good news ~ heart disease is 85% preventable!
Where the problem lies: In traditional medicine, most people were taught to lower and manage cholesterol which only scratches the surface of preventing a heart attack or heart disease.
Holistic, Functional and Integrative Health Professionals look at the big picture and try to understand what could be causing heart issues or heart disease and find that:
- Silent inflammation,
- What we eat and how much we eat
- How much we exercise and if we are recovering our body after exercise
- How we deal with stress, and
- Our body’s ability to process toxins
all effect heart health, among other things. We need to focus on what’s causing high cholesterol (waxy fatlike substance in the wall of cells that the body uses to produce hormones, bile for digestion and vitamin d), high blood pressure (pressure of blood on the walls of the arteries) and the other risk factors listed above.
What is inflammation?
It’s a non-specific immune response and a way that the body reacts to infection, irritation or injury with redness, warmth, swelling, increased blood supply and blood vessel permeability. Inflammation is what goes on silently in your body when:
- You eat foods that cause your body to be too acidic (eating too many proteins and processed carbs with flour and sugar)
- You eat foods that your body is sensitive or allergic to
- Your body can’t handle the stress it’s under physically and emotionally
Lifestyle Changes are Proven to Help
Many people with a history of heart disease in their family feel destined to suffer as their family has and develop a “why bother” attitude towards their health. Diet and lifestyle changes have proven to prevent over 85% of all heart disease! We no longer need to worry about being a victim of our genes. We can take control and create vibrant health.
Top 10 Dietary Recommendations and Lifestyle Changes
- Avoid liquid sugar calories which is the biggest factor in heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Avoid or limit processed drinks that contain sugar or artificial sweeteners such as soda, diet drinks, energy drinks and juices. Water will help flush toxins from your body.
- Eat high-fiber foods such as vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Adding flax or chia to your water, smoothies and baked products is a great way to get your fiber and get critical omega 3 fatty acids!
Fatty acids: lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels, minimize inflammation and clotting, and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Eat healthy fats, lean proteins and healthy carbs at every meal. Most people eat grain carbohydrates which spikes an insulin response which in turn revs up the heart. Instead, be sure to get 7-13 servings of health carbs per day which are vegetables and fruits (such as berries and green apples).
- Manage your blood sugar by eating breakfast everyday and eating every 4 hours throughout the day. Your body get stressed when it doesn’t get the fuel it needs to function.
- Eliminate hydrogenated oils/fats (which is hydrogen added to fat molecules at a high heat which produces a plastic) and enjoy healthy oils such as cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, and other nut oils. For cooking, use coconut oil.
- RELAX ~ emotional stress is responsible for releasing stress hormones and fats into the bloodstream which raises cholesterol. Find a way to incorporate activities that you enjoy into your day. Even take a few minutes 3 times per day to breath deeply which can reset your mood and calm your mind.
- Exercise ~ it helps the body release toxins which reduces inflammation, helps manage your blood sugar and also increases HDL
- Replace sugar and white flour in your diet with greens and low glycemic fruits such as berries and green apples which will alkalize the body reducing inflammation
- Lose weight ~ it will help you lower cholesterol and inflammation
- Don’t smoke ~ smoking lowers your HDL (good cholesterol) and the nicotine, tar and arsenic are highly toxic to the body causing inflammation.
10 Heart Healthy Foods
|Polyphenols (antioxidants), lowers blood pressure and boosts good HDL cholesterol. Antioxidants help fight off and clean up free radicals in the body (broken cells)|
|Oatmeal||Soluble fiber which reduces absorption of bad (LDL) cholesterol in bloodstream, helping keep arteries clear.|
|Nuts||Nuts improve the health of arteries and the lining of the heart, reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They also can stop the development of plaque in the arteries. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and brazil nuts are best choices. Peanuts, cashews and pistachios are not ideal choices for several reasons.|
|Olive Oil||Recent studies show that regular use of uncooked olive oil reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as lowering cholesterol|
|Dark Chocolate||Flavanoid operates like an antioxidant which cleans up oxidative stress and prevents blood clots, reduces cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol|
|Tomatoes||Lycopene (powerful antioxidant) has anti-inflammatory properties|
|Seaweed||Has antioxidants and is rich in magnesium which is alkalizing (brings down the acidity in your blood) to reduce inflammation|
|Sweet Potatoes||Has fiber and potassium which lowers cholesterol|
|Salmon||(Wild caught) has Omega 3 fatty acids which can reduce an irregular heartbeat, slows plaque buildup in arteries, lowers cholesterol, and slightly lowers blood pressure|
|Chia||The most nutritiously dense super-food available with incredible antioxidants, richest source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. It is a great for weight loss, balancing sugar, preventing premature aging, controlling cravings, reducing inflammation and boosting energy.|