Fight Atherosclerosis with Diet Rich in Vitamins C and E, Omega 3, Fiber, Folate, or with Exercise and Lifestyle Changes
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Fight Atherosclerosis with Diet Rich in Vitamins C and E, Omega 3, Fiber, Folate, or with Exercise and Lifestyle Changes

Atherosclerosis can be fought with foods like nuts, seeds, salmon, sardines, apples, oatmeal, lentils, legumes, soy. Preventing atherosclerosis means regular exercise, avoiding smoking, and lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.

There are ways to prevent or reverse the effects of atherosclerosis. Like in any disease, diet is a main weapon against atherosclerosis. Nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, folate, vitamins C and E and soluble fiber are effective in managing atherosclerosis. Many lifestyle factors also contribute to healthy arteries and heart, like regular exercise, avoiding fatty foods and smoking, and maintaining ideal weight because obesity is a major precursor to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis and its Causes

Atherosclerosis is age-related. In fact, some degree of atherosclerosis is part of the aging process. Arteries lose elasticity and start stiffening with age. This condition leads to a progressive condition known, in medical terminology, as arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening (sclerosis) of the arteries. These arterial shrinkages are usually aggravated by plaque formation, with cholesterol as the major component of atherosclerotic arterial blockages. Complications from atherosclerosis result into high blood pressure, circulatory disorders, reduced blood flow to the extremities, angina (chest pains), heart disease and stroke. Causes of atherosclerosis include a diet high in fats, cigarette smoking, genetic predisposition, lack of exercise and excessive stress.

Foods and Nutrients that Fight Atherosclerosis

  • Omega 3 fatty acids help lower triglycerides in the blood. They also reduce the tendency for blood clots. Countless researches have pointed out the value of omega 3 for a healthy heart. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and herring. Flaxseed oil is also a good source of omega 3.
  • Antioxidant vitamins C and E and beta-carotene may protect against atherosclerosis. These nutrients prevent LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol from collecting into plaques. Food sources of vitamin E are wheat germ, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. For vitamin C and beta-carotene, eat lots of fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits like oranges, and green vegetables.
  • Folate, vitamins B6 and B12 lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is even perhaps more dangerous than cholesterol. High levels damage the lining of arterial walls, leading to plaque buildup. Sources of folate include liver, yeast, broccoli, avocados and legumes. For vitamin B6, consume meat, fish, poultry, potatoes, soybeans, grains and cereals. For B12, all animal products.
  • Soluble fiber lowers bad cholesterol and increases HDL (high density lipoprotein) good cholesterol. Sources of fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, lentils, legumes, apples, pears, citrus fruits, barley and guar gum.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Atherosclerosis

  • Diet is of course the first step. Avoid fatty foods, especially those high in saturated fats and trans fats, which increase LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid smoking. Smoking is one sure way of shrinking the circumference of arteries, besides all the other health risks posed by cigarette smoke.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise increases metabolism and blood flow, dilating the arteries and reducing blood pressure. It promotes better sleep.
  • Develop effective methods of stress management. Studies have shown that stress leads to atherosclerosis.
  • Keep blood pressure and blood sugar within normal limits. Researchers have discovered that individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of developing heart disease.  Avoid salty and sweet foods.

Source:

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal: An A to Z Guide to Safe and Healthy Eating. The Reader’s Digest. 2004, Montreal, Canada. 416 pages. Hardbound.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or as guide for treatment without the opinion of a health professional. A physician’s advice is more important and reliable for any health concern.

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Comments (1)

Great health awareness and advices.

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