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Nutrition for Heart Disease

heart disease

Heart disease, while still the number one cause of mortality in the developed world, can be prevented and even reversed with the appropriate targeted lifestyle and nutritional interventions according to a growing body of scientific research. Considering heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, anything that can prevent or reduce cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the disease process, should be of great interest.

Unfortunately, there are still to this day, millions of people who are totally unaware of the extensive body of science-based literature that exists supporting the use of natural therapies, natural compounds, and natural supplements for preventing and even sometimes reversing heart disease. Throw in some behavioral and lifestyle changes, and you have a formula for success.

Three Natural Substances That Reduce The Risk of Heart-Related Death

  • Omega 3 Fish OilsThere is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 documented that omega 3 fish oils are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease. Another study in the journal Circulation found that omega 3 fatty acids reduced total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.
  • Vitamin D3Levels of this prohormone, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” have been found to also have a direct correlation to cardiovascular disease. It has been proposed that doubling vitamin D3 levels could significantly reduce mortality. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower levels of vitamin D were correlated with a higher risk of heart disease. This finding was again confirmed in 2010 in the American Journal of Nutrition.
  • MagnesiumWhile there are multiple forms of magnesium that you can take to improve cardiovascular status, most studies involve the use of magnesium glycinate or magnesium chelate. It is well-known that the aging of the heart muscle itself can be linked to lower levels of serum magnesium. Magnesium can support healthy blood pressure, improve arrhythmias, and can be associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The bottom line is that magnesium supplements should be part of everyone’s therapeutic regimen, especially when it comes to protecting the heart.

Can Natural Compounds Unclog Arteries To The Heart?

A review of evidence-based scientific literature has indicated that several natural compounds have tremendous therapeutic value when it comes to keeping your arteries open and blood flowing. Here is the shortlist for starters:

  • Pomegranate – This remarkable fruit has been found in human clinical studies to actually reverse carotid artery thickness by up to nearly 30% within 1 year of regular usage. Several physiological mechanisms may explain how this is possible. First of all, pomegranate may reduce blood pressure, fight infection (plaque in arteries often contain bacteria and viruses), prevent cholesterol oxidation in the arteries, and reducing inflammation.
  • L-ArginineThis amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. One of the key mechanisms is increased nitric oxide, which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the endothelium (inner lining of the artery) has been damaged. L- arginine is also known to help lower blood pressure, which can also have a direct effect on future cardiovascular disease.
  • Garlic – This amazing herbal supplement can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It has been shown to decrease the thickening and hardening of the arteries, inhibit arteriosclerotic plaque, and block coronary artery calcification. It is also known to help lower blood pressure.
  • B-Complex This B vitamin has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries, including the carotid arteries. B vitamins are noted to reduce the production of homocysteine, which is an amino acid marker of cardiac inflammation. It is well-known amongst practitioners of functional medicine that the combination of Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and folic acid can decrease levels of homocysteine, subsequently lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Lifestyle Factors For Heart Disease

Your lifestyle matters, especially when it comes to serious chronic conditions like arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. A lifestyle that consistently lacks exercise (sedentary) and a diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and related conditions. Add in chronic stress, and you have the perfect recipe for a heart attack or stroke.

The following are the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

  • Age – getting older increases the risk of damaged and narrowed arteries
  • Sex- men are generally at greater risk
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

Dietary Options For Heart Disease Prevention

Let’s face it, very few people eat what is considered to be a heart-healthy diet. The CDC has documented that more than 90 percent of the adult population is nutritionally deficient. In other words, people are not consuming anywhere near the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (5 servings).

Dr. Dean Ornish M.D., the New York Times best-selling author of Reversing Heart Disease, says “ you will fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products, non-fat dairy, and egg whites while avoiding fats, refined sugar, and processed carbs.” The bottom line is that you want to eat foods in their natural form as much as possible and have a variety of colors on your plate each meal.

Researchers have been studying the benefits of plant-based diets since the 1980s. A plant-based diet is the only diet proven to prevent and reverse heart disease. No other diet can make that claim. In fact, research presented during the American Heart Association scientific sessions in 2017 showed that plant-based diets decreased the risk of heart failure by 42 percent among people with no history of heart disease. There are several documentaries that you can watch to get more information, including the “Forks Over Knives” website. If you are unable to commit to a totally plant-based diet, the Mediterranean diet has proven to be the leading diet for overall general wellness for the past 50 years.

For Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart click here.

About Dr. Stan Headley

Stan Headley graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in 1991 from Spartan Health Sciences University. Dr. Stan continues to update his knowledge by attending continuing education conferences as a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and the Age Management Medicine Group. As a Natural Health Consultant, his entire focus is on getting to the underlying root cause of your symptoms and helping you to determine why you are not well or at risk of chronic disease. He does not diagnose or treat but educates patients on how to make the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes that will lead to the long-term goal of preventing illness and promoting optimal health.

One thought on “Nutrition for Heart Disease

  1. Pingback: Supplements for Cardiovascular Disease - Wellness Solutions Blog

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