Heed the Ways of Heart Health
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Protecting your heart is one of the most important things that you can do for your health. After all, you only have one heart. It’s meant to last you an entire lifestyle.
Too often, though, we abuse this most important of organs. Eating poorly, not exercising, smoking, drinking, and other symptoms of a poor lifestyle all put strain on all your heart.
No wonder that heart disease is one of the leading causes of sickness, and death, in most western countries. Add to the problem the epidemic of obesity that is so prevalent today, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Have a Heart—For Your Heart
If you won’t take care of your heart, no one else will. Your doctor can prescribe you medications to treat your high blood pressure, your high cholesterol, and your artery damage. He or she can even put you under the knife to undergo arterial bypasses, artery cleanings, and even
But by then, it’s too late. Your heart health is already kaput. The key to heart health, then, is prevention. It is catching the high blood pressure and high cholesterol before it is too later and reversing them to healthier levels.
The first step to doing this is your diet, and the best thing you could do with your diet is add a little color to it. Bright vegetables and fruits not only look appealing on your plate with their yellows, oranges, greens, and reds.
Those colors also carry strong powers to heal your heart. That’s because the very same compounds that give those plants their color also give those plants powers to prevent heart disease.
Called antioxidants, these compounds attack other bad compounds in your body called free radicals. Left alone, free radicals attack your cells and tissues, lead to inflammation, and cause the damage that can lead to heart disease.
Antioxidants are like the police officers of your body. They stop the vandals, the free radicals, before they can commit their crimes. Your body can produce its own “police force,” but in many cases, this inborn supply of antioxidants isn’t enough to stop the free radicals. You need to call in the reinforcements to do that!
The ABEs of Heart Health
Your first vitamin, or free radical, of choice should be vitamin A. Vitamin A can take on the free radicals that normally pick on the cholesterol
Given free reign, the free radicals turn cholesterol into an even more dangerous compound, making it more likely to stick together and clog your blood vessels. That increases your risk of heart attack and stoke dramatically.
The vitamin A found in fish, kidney, and other natural sources can stop these process in its tracks. Beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A, is also beneficial. Find it in green and orange vegetables like spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots.
Vitamin C is perhaps one of the best known antioxidants out there. It helps to stave off free radical damage, and it is also responsible for helping your body repair damage already done to your bones, cartilage, and other soft tissues. What’s more, vitamin C appears to boost your levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol.
The combination of all these benefits means that vitamin C, in short, can help preserve your heart health. It appears to lower blood pressure, and keep your blood vessels elastic and clear. Stiff, clogged arteries, on the other hand, are a major indication of heart disease.
Vitamin C can be found in most colorful fruits and vegetables, such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, and broccoli. It is only found in fresh, uncooked foods, so eat only raw fruits and vegetables to get your daily dose. And eat them often, since vitamin C passes through your body on a regular basis, unlike vitamin A, which is stored in your fat.
The last major antioxidant ace in the deck is vitamin E. Just as vitamin A does, vitamin E stands in the way of free radicals before they can attack cholesterol. Remember. After free radicals have their way with your cholesterol, it becomes more dangerous and likely to clog your arteries.
This miraculous natural compound is present in seeds, nuts, olive oil, canola oil, and wheat germ.
Are Enough ABE Antioxidants in Your Diet?
This is a good question, especially if you are on a restricted diet because of personal preference (such as vegetarianism) or because of a condition (diabetes). To keep your heart health, you want to know the
Before you answer the question yourself, however, and begin taking antioxidant supplements, consider this. In high doses, vitamin A and vitamin E may actually be detrimental to your health. Plus, vitamin E in any dose can interfere with certain medications, such as blood thinners.
So if you have a suspicion that your diet is not properly protecting your heart health, don’t act on your own. Talk with your physician first before you act.