Super Foods To Treat Cardiovascular Health
Arterial Stenosis / Atherosclerosis
Cardio (meaning heart) vascular (referring to all the vessels throughout your body that carry blood, including arteries) health is generally the same basic idea: reducing the plaque, fatty deposits, and cholesterol that clog and narrow the arteries (called arterial stenosis) and restrict blood flow to the heart and brain. A healthy cardiovascular system includes normal blood pressure and circulation—especially during moments of exercise or exertion.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and Europe—mainly due to the diet and lifestyle associated with these cultures. Over time, plaque and other deposits build up in the arteries until serious and lifethreatening heart problems arise, including heart attacks and strokes. By this time, the cardiovascular system is usually quite unhealthy and treatment often must be invasive and radical.
The best treatment for cardiovascular disease is prevention. Maintaining cardiovascular health is about making the diet and lifestyle choices that promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
Causes of Cardiovascular Disease
A number of factors may contribute to an unhealthy cardiovascular system—and most of them are food and lifestyle choices that are 100% preventable. Only genetic and agerelated factors are not controllable. Here is a summary of possible causes:
- Diet: A diet high in cholesterol, sugar, starch, and saturated fat is the principal cause of cardiovascular disease in the United States.
- Overweight: Excess weight causes extra stress on the heart and arteries, and increases the fat that surrounds the heart.
- High blood pressure: Hypertension increases the chance of heart failure and other cardiovascular disease High blood pressure is caused by dietary considerations, stress, and metabolism (see Thyroid Imbalance and Adrenal Imbalance).
- Genetics: Studies show that there is often a genetic predisposition to heart and cardiovascular disease, although this usually works in combination with other causes discussed here.
- Smoking and environmental toxins: Smoking is well known to increase risk of heart attack due to its effect on blood oxygen, and the increase of harmful toxins that enter the blood from smoke.
- Stress: As it is related to hypertension, stress also plays a part in cardiovascular disease. It also causes hormonal imbalances and blood sugar synthesis problems that can damage the circulatory system.
- Age: The natural aging process brings about a stiffening of the arteries, which makes us more prone to cardiovascular problems. This can be minimized with vitamins and antioxidants.
Treatments to Strengthen Your Cardiovascular System
A healthy cardiovascular system starts and ends with good dietary choices. Whether you are taking preventative measures or treating cardiovascular problems, there are a few keys you should take to heart (no pun intended):
- Eat right, including plenty of antioxidantrich foods and cholesterolreducing foods like garlic, soy, fish oils, and raw cocoa.
- Switch from coffee to green tea or take a green tea extract.
- Take CoQ10, Bcomplex, C and E vitamins, and minerals like zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
- Stop smoking, drinking, and prolonged drug use.
- Get omega3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil or fish oils.
Garlic and garlic oil help promote healthy cholesterol and healthy blood pressure by decreasing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and Check with your health care provider before taking garlic supplements if you are on a bloodthinning drug such as Coumadin (warfarin sodium) because garlic also thins the blood.
Red wine consumption for a healthier heart and to make blood platelets less sticky is not a hoax. Red wine contains powerful polyphenols that inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Red wine also has many antioxidants and bioflavonoids.
More helpful natural supplements include: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), ribose, betacarotene; vitamins B3 (niacin), B6, B12, C, and E; folic acid; the minerals calcium, chromium, magnesium, potassium, and selenium; the amino acids Larginine, Ltaurine, and Lcarnitine; Pycnogenol (pine bark extract); and curcumin, Bioperine (piperine, an extract of pepper), and hawthorn berry extract.
Get plenty of exercise, reduce or stop smoking, and engage in stressreducing practices such as saunas, massage, and yoga.