Take it to Heart - regain healthy Cholesterol levels ... read more ...
|Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol||Darrell Miller||06/09/05|
June 09, 2005 06:05 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol
Take it to Heart by Dawn Lemonathen Energy Times, January 2, 2002
Lifestyle is key to bettering your odds of beating heart disease. A few simple, everyday heart-friendly habits can help your heart help you. Right now, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications like stroke have reached sky-high levels across the US.
Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from one of the various forms of cardiovascular disease and these often fatal complications cause more than 40% of all deaths in the United States. Statistics show that nearly a million Americans succumb to heart problems every year. The humongous cost: Heart disease and stroke consume almost $260 billion annually. Heart disease is the top cause of death for older Americans and remains the leading cause of death for all Americans age 35 and older. Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as ischemic heart disease, is the most frequent cause of death for adults in the United States-accounting for more than 500,000 deaths a year. And even though most women have had their consciousness raised about their risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, in fact, their chances of dying from one of the forms of heart disease is double their risk of succumbing to one of the forms of cancer. And ten times more women die from cardiovascular problems than die from breast cancer.
Admittedly, a portion of your risk of heart problems is linked to your genetic makeup. Heart disease is often prevalent in particular families. Plus, as you grow older, your risk simultaneously grows. Nevertheless, many heart-saving lifestyle factors are under your control:
Cholesterol and Heart Health
Controlling cholesterol (as mentioned before), the fat-like material running around your blood that can block arteries, is considered crucial for protecting your cardiovascular system. A new tool in the cholesterol battle is a natural substance known as potassium hydrogen d-glucarate, a chemical which your body makes and is found in fruits and vegetables. Studies on research animals have shown that potassium hydrogen d-glucarate can lower blood cholesterol, even lowering LDL ("bad" cholesterol) by more than a third. Noni, made from a tropical fruit, is another natural substance attracting attention as a possible helper for heart health and other chronic conditions. Traditionally, noni has been used to treat a wide variety of problems, including intestinal difficulties and arthritis. While some researchers are looking into its anticancer properties, it is reputed to help lower blood pressure and function as an adaptogen, boosting the body's ability to resist infection and deal with stress.
Nuts and Heart Health
Back in the early days of nutritional advice for heart health, some experts recommended against eating nuts: After all, they are high in fat and it was thought that high fat diets could compromise the function of your cardiovascular system. However, studies of people who go nuts for nuts and who eat walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, pistachios, almonds and more found these nut lovers suffer less heart disease than non-nut consumers. Part of the good news about nuts, researcher believe, derives from the mineral magnesium found in nuts (and also contained in leafy green vegetables, legumes and whole grains). A magnesium deficiency may contribute to heart problems. In addition, the fats in nuts are monounsaturated, the same kind of heart-healthy fats found in canola and olive oils. Within nuts are also found a good deal of fiber, flavonoids and other natural substances that seem to protect the heart and arteries. Consequently, research indicates that if you eat nuts every weekday you may reduce your risk of heart problems by about two-thirds (Nut Rev, 2001;59:103-111). Of course nuts aren't the only vegetarian way to stay heart healthy. Foods such as oatmeal which are rich in soluble fiber, fiber that can be dissolved in water, also may lower your cholesterol. In addition, plant compounds known as sterols can improve your cardiovascular well-being. Researchers have been looking at these natural chemicals for the last 50 years and have found that they can significantly drop cholesterol (Am J CLin Nut 1995;61:392-396).
Vegetarianism vs Heart Disease
A vegetarian diet, in general, conveys more health benefits than eating meat. (Though fish, which contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, also lowers the risk of circulatory disorders.) In addition, mushrooms are attracting more attention from researchers as possible sources of heart-helping compounds. In Japan, for instance, health practitioners use the maitake mushroom for treating high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. (If you suffer from cardiovascular abnormalities, consult your health practitioner.) Maitake has already established a growing reputation for possibly fighting cancer (Cancer Prev 9/30/95;768:243-245). Adjusting to the latest advice on protecting your heart doesn't require radical changes in lifestyle. A touch of exercise, a spattering of heart-healthy nutrients: Before you know it, you can be headed down cardio road and heir to a cardiovascular system that systematically functions better than ever.
VitaNet ® Staff