Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes among Americans, specifically accounting for 1 of 3 deaths in the U.S. Protecting yourself is a must, and it turns out that making a few dietary changes can significantly reduce your risk factors.
Heart Disease: A Silent Serial Killer
Cardiovascular disease accounts for 17.3 deaths annually, and 787,000 deaths in the U.S alone. This is why educating yourself on the causes and ways to protect against heart attack, angina, and stroke is of utmost importance. Some of the most common causes of heart disease include smoking, stress, sedentary lifestyle, high salt intake, and eating junk foods.
All of these things cause damage to the circulatory system and lead to blocked and stiffened blood vessels. Consequently, his makes blood flow difficult, forcing the heart to work harder. Some of the major symptoms of clogged arteries and heart disease include chest pain, neck pain, throat pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, and numbness in legs and arms.
Clogged Arteries: An Accomplice to Life-Threatening Heart Disease
Having clogged arteries is the key obstacle for blood flow. The heart faces a similar problem when plaque accumulates in the arteries, putting additional stress on the heart to push blood through the blocked blood vessels.
Buildup of Plaque
Plaque accumulation is one of the major causes of atherosclerosis, which results from damage to the circulatory system due to poor diet, smoking, and stress. When the arteries are damaged, plaque consisting of minerals, fat, and cholesterol reside in the damaged area. Note that buildup of plaque is a symptom of sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, not a cause of heart disease.
This buildup makes it difficult for the heart to do its job, but makes it even harder when the plaque gets into the bloodstream and forms a blood clot and pain.
How to stop it?
Although there isn’t any treatment for dissolving plaque, proper diet and healthy lifestyle can go a long way in slowing it down. Avoid foods that are difficult for the body to digest as well as sugar which has been linked to inflammation and atherosclerosis. This means that you should stay away from fatty meats, processed milk products, fast food, and pastries.
12 Whole Foods: Hearty Helpers
One of the best things to prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease is by changing your diet in a sustainable way, by introducing these 12 foods in your daily diet:
- Fresh fruit contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, all of which are needed for maintaining healthy heart. Antioxidants also help prevent damage to the circulatory system.
- Black beans is packed with fiber that lowers cholesterol naturally.
- Mackarel is an excellent source of omega-3 fats which lowers blood pressure and LDL, while maintaining blood vessel elasticity. It is also a good source of vitamin D, a nutrient linked to better blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease.
- Spinach is loaded with vitamins and fiber and it has the ability to reduce enzymes associated with heart disease.
- Flax meal is full of vitamin E, omega-3 fats, and fiber.
- Nuts are great source of monosaturated fats and selenium, a mineral associated with 15-57% lower risk of heart disease.
- Avocados contain potassium keeps heart rhythm and blood pressure in check, while their monosaturated fats lower cholesterol.
- Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin E and phytosterols which protect against high cholesterol.
- Green tea has the ability to lower lipid and cholesterol levels as well as to reduce the risk of fats being accumulated in the arteries.
- Lentils are legume which reduces bad cholesterol in an all-natural way. According to a meta-analysis looking at 26 studies of over 1000 people, lentils reduced LDL by 5%/
- Capsicum is a compound found in cayenne peppers. It is known for its ability to keep cholesterol levels and inflammation in check.
- Garlic reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which can stress the circulatory system