Nutritional strategies that reduce heart disease risk
11/12/2018 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

Heart disease is responsible for most mortality cases in the world. In the U.S. alone, more than 610,000 deaths per year are due to this condition. High mortality risk associated with heart disease should motivate people to do something so that they won’t just be another number in these statistics. Fortunately, these conditions are easily reversible and preventable just by eating the right foods.

Not everyone who is suffering from a cardiovascular disease is experiencing the same condition since this is actually an umbrella term for all health problems affecting the heart. The most common among these conditions is coronary heart disease, which kills more than 370,000 people in a year. Other common cardiovascular diseases include atherosclerosis, arrhythmia, and cardiomyopathy.

Another thing that the majority of heart diseases have in common is that they are often caused by blocked blood vessels. People waste a lot of money on medications that are implicated in the removal of these plaques even if these have been proven toxic to the heart. Instead of wasting money on these drugs do more harm than good, an easier approach to improving heart health is by eating the right foods. Important nutrients and foods that should be incorporated in a heart-healthy diet include the following:

  • Omega-3 -- Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduces the risk for cardiac mortality. However, the effects of this fatty acid are inhibited when statins are taken at the same time. Good sources of omega-3 include, fish, soybeans, walnuts, canola oil, and chia seeds.
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  • Vitamin D -- Insufficient vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of dying due to any cause. With only 25 percent of the vitamin, mortality risk increases by 26 percent. Moreover, recent studies have confirmed that mortality risk linked to vitamin D deficiency is even higher for cardiovascular diseases. To increase vitamin D content, try eating foods like salmon, oysters, shrimp, egg yolk, mushrooms, and cow's milk.
  • Magnesium -- Approximately 75 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium, which is very worrisome because magnesium deficiency has been associated with increased cardiovascular mortality. Foods that are rich in magnesium include leafy greens like kale since the chlorophyll in these vegetables has a magnesium atom at the center.
  • Pomegranate -- Eating pomegranates can eliminate fats blocking the arteries by up to 29 percent in just a year. This occurs due to multiple mechanisms, which include reducing blood pressure, fighting infection in arterial plaques, inhibiting the oxidation of cholesterol, and preventing inflammation.
  • Arginine -- Foods rich in arginines, such as seafood, chicken, legumes, and nuts, have been associated with reduced risk for atherosclerosis and the elimination of plaques in the arteries. These effects are due to an increase in nitric oxide, which is usually repressed in damaged blood vessels.
  • Garlic -- Garlic improves heart health through different mechanisms. One of these is by reducing plaque formation in arteries. Another is by inhibiting heart attack and stroke.
  • B-complex -- Previous studies have shown that B vitamins can prevent plaque build-up and even eliminate those that have previously formed. These actions can be attributed to the ability of B-complex to reduce homocysteine production since this amino acid is damaging to blood vessels. Some foods that have high amounts of B vitamins include chicken, fish, dairy, and dark leafy vegetables.

There are many different foods and nutrients that are beneficial to heart health, which cater to people with different tastes. Start eating more of these foods today to reap their health benefits as soon as possible. (Related: Man prevents heart disease with superfoods; defies family history of death with perfect health score.)

Risk factors for heart disease

Lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. To effectively prevent heart disease, you must know the different risk factors associated with this condition so that you can avoid them. Known risk factors include the following:

  • Smoking -- Cigarettes contain nicotine which increases the risk for atherosclerosis by constricting the blood vessels. Aside from this, cigarettes also contain carbon monoxide that inflicts damage on the inner lining of arteries and veins.
  • Poor hygiene -- It is important to maintain cleanliness to minimize the risk of bacterial and viral infections that can be especially dangerous for people who are already suffering from some form of heart disease.
  • Physical inactivity -- Not getting enough exercise can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol, which can form plaques in the blood vessels.

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