What to Eat to Prevent Atherosclerosis?

What to Eat to Prevent Atherosclerosis?

Image courtesy of Somkiat Fakmee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Somkiat Fakmee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Atherosclerosis, or Coronary artery disease (CAD) contributes in almost 40 percent of Europe’s population. It is also the number one cause of death among Americans. However, medical experts believe that we can do a lot to prevent the disease. According to them, if we change our lifestyle we can significantly reduce the risk of this dangerous health condition. Sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, little or no sun exposure, stress, air pollution, pesticides, processed foods are the main factors for atherosclerosis. Even a half-hour walk a day can make a huge difference. According to experts, taking a 30-minutes’ walk can improve our mood, increase mobility, alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce a cancer risk, improve circulation, and act beneficially on our heart health. If we want to do more for ourselves, taking enough sleep is also highly important. Namely, people who sleep well, have a better immune system, lower risk for diabetes, are less prone to heart attack, etc. But, if we want to make changes in our diet to keep blood vessels healthy, we need to avoid processed food as much as we can. Medical experts also believe that we eat too many grains and sugar that put our blood vessels at risk. They also do not recommend eating trans saturated fats, especially margarine, plant-based cheese, etc. Refined vegetable oil is on the list, too. To find out more about what to eat to prevent atherosclerosis, the article “Atherosclerosis and Diet In-Depth Report” gives us the following suggestions.

What to Eat to Prevent Atherosclerosis?

The American Heart Association’s (AHA) current dietary and lifestyle guidelines recommend:

– Balance calorie intake and physical activity to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. (Controlling weight, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly are essential companions of any diet program. Try to get at least 30 minutes, and preferably 60 – 90 minutes, of daily exercise.)

– Eat a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits that are deeply colored (such as spinach, carrots, peaches, and berries) are especially recommended as they have the highest micronutrient content.

– Choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods. These include fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans). Good whole grain choices include whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, and quinoa.

– Eat fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week (about 8 ounces/week). Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Consumption of these fatty acids is linked to reduced risk of sudden death and death from coronary artery disease.

– Get at least 5 – 10% of daily calories from omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean as well as nuts and seeds.

– Limit daily intake of saturated fat (found mostly in animal products) to less than 7% of total calories, trans fat (found in hydrogenated fats, commercially baked products, and many fast foods) to less than 1% of total calories, and cholesterol (found in eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish) to less than 300 mg per day. Choose lean meats and vegetable alternatives (such as soy).

– Select fat-free and low-fat dairy products. Grill, bake, or broil fish, meat, and skinless poultry.
Use little or no salt in your foods. Reduce or avoid processed foods that are high in sodium (salt).

– Reducing salt can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease and heart failure.

– Cut down on beverages and foods that contain added sugars (corn syrups, sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltrose, dextrose, concentrated fruit juice, honey).

– If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. The AHA recommends limiting alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.

– People with existing heart disease should consider taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements (850 – 1,000 mg/day of EPA and DHA). For people with high triglyceride levels, higher doses (2 – 4 g/day) may be appropriate. The AHA recommends against taking antioxidant vitamin supplements (C, E, beta-carotene) or folic acid supplements for prevention of heart disease.

Moreover, if we want to answer the question – What to eat to prevent atherosclerosis, vitamin C is a truly miraculous factor. Daily intake of 500 mg of this vitamin can prevent many deaths from heart-related diseases. It explains why people who eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits live longer. They certainly take a much more vitamin C than people with a different diet. Broccoli, orange, kale, grapefruit, strawberries, green bell peppers, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and so on, are great resources of this powerful vitamin.

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