You probably know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In 2007 25.4% of all deaths in the US were a result of coronary heart disease. 459,000 Americans and 101,000 English die of heart disease every year. It is also the leading cause of death in Canada. 25% of all heart attack victims have had no previous symptoms. That is why prevention is so important.
Since many of the factors that contribute to heart disease are controllable, a number of preventive measures can be taken. These factors include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, elevated serum cholesterol, a type A personality, stress, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes.
Why does coronary heart disease occur? Part of the problem is inadequate nutrition. Studies from the US Department of Agriculture show that one in two Americans are not getting the minimum daily requirement of nutrients from their food. On top of this, fat consumption has increased 30% and sugar consumption has increased 50% over the last few decades. This sets the stage for many diseases by lowering the body’s immunity. For instance, did you know that eating just three spoons of sugar compromises your immune system for up to six hours? These things cause damage to the arterial walls, impede the blood flow to the heart, and create blood clots.
Stopping smoking is the number one thing you can do to prevent heart disease. There is universal agreement on this. Meditation and exercise will help with stress and a sedentary life style. Other than that, the single most effective measure you can take to prevent heart disease is taking control of your diet. A Vegan Flush can give you a good start with healthier eating.
In You Staying Young Dr. Mehmet Oz gives you these tips on “Taking the Heat Off Your Heart.” They are completely in agreement with vegan guidelines.
- Fruits and vegetables – Many fruits and vegetables, specifically red grapes, cranberries, tomatoes, onions, and tomato juice, contain powerful antioxidants called flavonoids and carotenoids. These substances seem to decrease inflammation by handcuffing the free radicals and forcing them out in your urine.
- Garlic – A clove a day (we believe) can help thin your blood and lower your blood pressure. You can also get this in capsule form (called allicin).
- Olive oil – Healthy “extra virgin” olive oil contains phytonutrients as well as monounsaturated fats, which will raise your good HDL cholesterol.
- Omega-3 fatty acids — These are found in fish or in plants that fish eat, algae, if you don’t eat fish. Omega-3’s reduce triglycerides, a big cause of plaque buildup, and help reduce the risk of arrhythmia. In addition, they decrease blood pressure and make platelets less sticky, thus reduce clotting.
- Foods with magnesium – These foods include 100 per cent whole-grain breads and cereals, soybeans, lima beans, avocado, beets, and raisins. They help lower blood pressure and reduce arrhythmias.
- Foods with soy protein – Getting 25 grams a day of soy protein in foods like tofu and other soybean products decreases your bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dr. Oz also recommends taking ½ an aspirin or 2 baby aspirins since they are huge anti-inflammatory agents. More information about doing a Vegan Flush or living a vegan lifestyle can be found in Claire Gosse’s Vegan Flush.
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