How to Avoid Heart Disease
If you can reach the age of 45 free of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and tobacco use, you can breathe a huge, heart-felt sigh of relief. Based on a landmark analysis undertaken to determine how various cardiovascular risk factors at various ages impact the risk of heart disease, the expected benefits of heart-healthy living that begins in the younger years are simply sensational.
The analysis included over 250,000 middle age and older adults encompassing 18 separate studies and found that entering mid-life free of the four primary cardiovascular risk factors listed above “essentially abolished” the future risk of developing heart disease through the remaining life span. This was in stark opposition to reaching midlife (age 45) with two or more of the risk factors where the chance of future heart-disease soared to 49.5 percent.
The study authors noted that “treatment” of the risk factors definitely mitigated risk, but the very best outcomes were in those who never developed the risk factors in the first place. Although, it is never too late to start living a heart-healthy life-the sooner the better!
Eating for pleasure and eating to make your heart healthier tomorrow than it is today can go hand in hand. Here are 7 easy ways to do it:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil– This highly flavored, for real make-me-healthier fat provides four separate benefits to your arteries – making it hands down the very best oil for your heart. It’s unique combination of monounsaturated fats and antioxidant polyphenols have been shown to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, boost good (HDL) cholesterol, decrease inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
- Walnuts – Nuts in general score a perfect 10 when it comes to heart-healthy performance, but walnuts are the true gold medal winner. Walnuts are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin E, and provide more omega 3 fats than any other nut. Strive to include a small handful daily.
- Steel Cut Oats – Known as the “gourmet oatmeal” – this delicious, physically intact whole grain is overflowing with goodness including a uniquely powerful form of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber called beta-glucan, along with the heart-healthy minerals manganese, selenium, and magnesium. Filling, yet low in calories, a bowl of steel-cut oats for breakfast topped with some fresh cut up fruit or berries will keep your waist trim and your heart happily pumping.
- Dark Chocolate – This sweet indulgence is truly a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is teaming with super-charged antioxidants called flavanols that tend to work magic on the cells that line your arteries, resulting in enhanced blood flow and lower blood pressure. For best results, enjoy a prudent portion (1/2 – 1 oz.) of high quality (60% or greater cacao content) dark chocolate regularly.
- Wild Alaskan Salmon – Fresh, frozen, or canned, this superstar protein is nature’s very best source of heart-healthy omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats provide 7 separate benefits to your arteries qualifying them as virtual wonder fats for cardiovascular health.
- Lentils – When it comes to heart health, this simple food has a stellar nutritional pedigree. Lentils are brimming with cholesterol-lowering fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6 and provide more folate than any other food. Lentils cook quickly, requiring no presoaking and tend to cause less gas than other beans/legumes.
- Salsa – This tasty, low-calorie dip provides a cornucopia of heart-healthy foods including tomatoes, onion, peppers, and garlic. These foods provide fiber, vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, and antioxidants, all working together in powerful synergy to protect your heart and arteries.
For expert nutritional guidance, take my laminated grocery shopping guide with you next time you’re at the store! Or get one for free ($10 value!) when you order my Combo Special.