Can Proper Nutrition Prevent Heart Disease?
Physicians would agree that chest pain is no laughing matter. If a person is experiencing chest pain related to heart disease or hypertension, it is imperative that they make certain healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the pain. It is widely suggested that proper nutrition can help prevent heart disease, so the first place for many to start is with improving their diet.
According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 600,000 people die each year of heart disease. That comes out to 1 in 4 deaths, making heart disease the leading cause of death for Americans. Despite the fact that heart disease is on the rise in the US, health experts insist that people have more control over the maintenance of their personal health than they might think. The key is to think before you eat. When there are excess deposits of fat, cholesterol, or other substances in the inner wall of arteries, the arteries will narrow and harden and blood flow will be reduced, leading to heart attacks and other common heart problems.
A responsible diet and regular exercise are the key to preventing dangerous cardiovascular conditions. Most people are unaware that nutrition has several health benefits beyond maintaining weight, including for preventing diseases and providing pain relief. For example, a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that eating more legumes such as chickpeas and lentils improved blood sugar control and slashed heart disease risk for patients with type 2 diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends low sodium diets to help reduce high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. They estimate that 1 in 3 people who develop heart disease can thank high sodium diets for their conditions.
In addition, foods high in saturated fats should not exceed 25 percent of a person’s total caloric intake. Saturated fatty acids in high fat milk products, poor quality fats and red meat have been directly correlated with increases in LDL cholesterol levels. Rather, choose milk lower in fat percentage or opt for alternative milk replacements, such as almond, hemp or flax milk instead of heavy cream milk products.
As opposed to saturated fats (although there is one exception..), a high intake of mono-unsaturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol while preventing the formation of blood clots. Olives and olive oil, raw nuts and nut butter and avocado are all are high in mono-unsaturated fats. In regards to coconut oil, although a saturated fat, it has been recognized as of late for it’s heart healthy and LDL cholesterol lowering benefits. For further explanation on the health benefits of coconut oil, click here.
Those experiencing chest pain should replace high fat and cholesterol foods with lean meats, such as chicken and fish and fibrous complex carbohydrates such as beans, vegetable, fruits, whole grain sprouted bread, whole wheat flour, grains and rice. Omega-3 fatty acids play a similar role and help prevent atherosclerosis and other heart conditions. Omega-3 is present in fishes, such as salmon and tuna, as well as walnuts, flax and chia seeds. Flax seed oil and Fish oil are available in dietary supplements in case a person is interested in higher doses and supplementing their diet with these beneficial nutrients regularly.
It’s important to choose foods that have endured little or no processing to avoid added sodium and undesirable fats and oils, that are culprits in worsening heart conditions.
Cardiovascular disease is not guaranteed to be 100 percent preventable as many conditions can occur at what seems to be random or inherited, with family history playing a role. However, through a nutrient dense diet and healthy lifestyle, people can take preventative measures to reduce their risks of fatalities and lessen the chances of heart conditions developing.
Jeana is an aspiring lawyer whose interests in health, nutrition, and
staying fit. She enjoys informing and engaging others on ways to
exercise both the body and mind. In her spare time, when she is not
training for marathons or leading her crossfit classes, she studies
environmental law and policy with a life-long goal of working in the
non-profit sector. She currently is an intern at an environmental law
firm in Washington D.C., and has already recruited a few of her
co-workers to join her running club. To read more of her articles,
check out her personal blog at jeanas-world-of-law.blogspot.com