One million males and females meet death because of heart disease which makes it a leading cause of death. CAD-coronary artery disease is the most common heart disease which can result in heart attack.
Around 920,000 people in America, this year will get a heart attack and most of them will happen suddenly without any warning.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart becomes blocked. This is often the result of plaque build-up inside your arteries (atherosclerosis), which may rupture and form a blood clot that blocks blood flow.
For instance, a previous heart attack (especially if a large area of your heart was damaged) is a risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest, which is caused by abnormal heart rhythms and can be fatal.
More Than 75 Percent Heart Attacks Can Be Averted Just Follow These 5 Lifestyle Changes
It’s remarkable that heart attacks are so common and cause so much pain (emotional and physical) and disability when they are nearly always preventable. You’re probably already aware that your lifestyle plays a role in your risk of heart disease (and heart attacks), but perhaps you’ve not yet taken it to heart…
If you need some motivation, consider a new study conducted at the Karolinska Institute. It found that engaging in five healthy lifestyle habits could prevent nearly 80 percent of first-time heart attacks in men. Even the researchers were surprised at how powerful a healthy lifestyle could be, noting.
“It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks… What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped due to these factors.”
Still, this isn’t the first time such a drastic risk reduction has been uncovered. The 2004 INTERHEART study, which looked at heart disease risk factors in over 50 countries around the world, found that 90 percent of heart disease cases are completely preventable by modifying diet and lifestyle factors.
Unfortunately, most people are not using lifestyle habits to their advantage. The featured study involved men aged 45 to 79… and only 1 percent of them engaged in all five of the “low-risk” behaviors that could prevent a heart attack. So what are the five healthy lifestyle habits?
- A healthy diet
- No smoking
- Moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day)
- Healthy waist measurement (waist circumference < 37.4 inches or 95 cm)
- Physical activity (exercising ≥1 h/week and bicycling/walking ≥ 40min/day )
Best Heart Friendly Diet
Most of the heart-healthy lifestyle habits are self-explanatory, but the term “healthy diet” is ambiguous… and when it comes to heart health, it is probably not what you think. Opposite to popular belief processed foods, sugar and refined carbs are the real enemy—not the saturated fats found in foods such as butter, lard, or eggs.
Part of the confusion on fats revolves around its impact on LDL cholesterol often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. The main concern regarding fats circles around its impact on LDL cholesterol mostly termed as bad cholesterol. Conventionally speaking, high LDL is correlated with heart problem and saturated fat does leads to increase LDL.
However, we now understand that there are TWO kinds of LDL cholesterol particles:
- Large, “fluffy” LDL cholesterol
- Small, dense LDL cholesterol
The large one is good. And it doesn’t causes heart problem as proven by research. The small dense LDL, which is formed by trans fats intake, however do contribute in build-up of plaque in your arteries, thus causing heart disease.
Large, fluffy and benign LDL is increased by saturated fat.
More importantly, research has also shown that small, dense LDL particles are increased by eating refined sugar and carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels, and soda. Together, trans fats and refined carbs do far more harm than saturated fat ever possibly could.
Unfortunately, when the cholesterol hypothesis took hold, the food industry substituted healthy saturated fats like butter with low-fat foods like trans fats such as vegetable oils, margarine, etc; refined sugar and processed fructose.
Rapidly increasing heart disease and obesity rates clearly illustrate the ramifications of this flawed doctrine.
My Best Heart Diet
For thorough heart protection avoid all types of processed / restaurant foods and trans fats completely. You also need to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains. To lower your heart disease risk, you are required to adhere to the following suggestions.
- Avoid sugar, processed fructose, and grains. This effectively means you must avoid most processed foods
- Eat a healthy diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
- Large amounts of vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, -pastured animals)
- High-quality healthy fat (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Most people actually need upward of 50-85 percent fats in their diet for optimal health—a far cry from the 10 percent currently recommended. Sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include:
Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Deficiency of Omega-3 can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor in up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. You can achieve by eliminating vegetable oils and increasing your intake of wild-caught oily fish (anchovies and sardines) or by taking a good brand of krill oil supplementation.
Are Fruits Heart-Friendly?
A study presented this year at the ESC Congress in Barcelona, Spain found that people who ate fruit daily had a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease, and a 32 percent lower risk of death from any cause, than those who did not. Further, the more fruit they ate, the lower their risk of heart disease became.5 Fruit can be an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals, many of which have heart-healthy anti-inflammatory effects. For instance, research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)6 found that simply eating an apple a day might help prevent cardiovascular-related deaths in those over 50 to a similar degree as using a daily statin.7
I would caution against eating too much fruit, however, especially the sweeter fruits that are commonplace today. Many of the most beneficial phytonutrients found in fruits actually have bitter, sour, or astringent taste, and are found in the skin and seeds. To satisfy the modern palate, farmers have, throughout time, opted to selectively breed the sweetest varieties, which makes fruit far less nutritious than it once was. Still, carefully chosen fruit – such as organic cherries, blueberries or apples – can certainly be beneficial when eaten in moderation. Since fruits have varying fructose, so it will be better to avoid over-consumption of fructose to prevent heart disease.
My recommendations on fruit (and fructose consumption) are as follows:
- In case you’re leptin or insulin resistant (have high cholesterol or are hypertensive, diabetic or overweight), which includes about 80 percent of Americans, then it would be advisable for you to limit your fruit intake. Generally, I would like you to take 13 grams of fructose daily from whole fruit.
- Incase, you are not leptin/insulin resistant, (are normal weight without diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol) and regularly engage in strenuous physical activity or manual labor, then higher fructose intake is unlikely to cause any health problems. In this case, you can probably eat more fruit without giving it much thought.
- However, if you are in category two above, you might benefit from a further refinement. Fruit will still increase your blood sugar and many experts believe this will increase your protein glycosylation. So my approach is to consume the fruit typically after a workout, as your body will use the sugar as fuel rather than raise your blood sugar.
- Additionally, if you’re an endurance athlete, you can probably get away with eating fairly large amounts of fruits since your body will use most of the glucose during exercise, and it won’t be stored as fat. (That said, I still believe athletes would be well-advised to consider becoming fat adapted rather than relying on quick sugars).
Heart Disease Chances Are Increased By Diabetes Drugs
Metformin, a drug that makes your body’s tissues more sensitive to insulin, is the most common diabetes drugs on the market. However, new research shows that among people with hypothyroidism, the use of metformin was associated with an increased risk of low thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.8 If your TSH levels become too low, it may lead to serious damage, including heart problems such as atrial fibrillation, which could result into heart failure of congestive nature. Another study proved that curing type 2 diabetes with glucose lowering drugs could increase your risk of death from heart disease and other reasons. Researchers noted:
“The overall results of this meta-analysis do not show a benefit of intensive glucose lowering treatment on all cause mortality or cardiovascular death. A 19% increase in all cause mortality and a 43% increase in cardiovascular mortality cannot be excluded.”
These risks are typically unnecessary, as type 2 diabetes is easy to reverse without drugs. If you want the short version… simply swapping processed foods for whole organic foods lower in sugar and sugar-forming carbohydrates — combined with a few minutes of regular high-intensity exercises — will quickly put you on the road to reversing diabetes.
Why Beta-Blockers are Dangerous
Beta-blockers are drugs commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. These function basically by blocking the neurotransmitters adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine from combining to beta receptors, thereby causes blood vessels to dilate, which reduces your blood pressure and heart rate. Some period back, ESC- the Cardiology society of European Society recommended the use of beta-blockers in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. In the beginning of this year, however, researchers calculated that this guideline, which they found was based on “questionable and probably fraudulent research,” may have caused up to 800,000 deaths over five years in Europe alone.
The beta-blocker guidelines were based largely on research done by a scientist who was fired for scientific misconduct in 2011, and who was also the chairman of the committee that drafted the European treatment guideline. You would think that once this was known, immediate action would result. However, it took two years before the ESC withdrew the beta-blocker recommendation once the scandal had unraveled. This is absolutely scandalous as nearly a half of a million people died unnecessarily due to the delay.
In that two-year span, many European clinicians may have felt that their hands were tied, as failing to follow guidelines can lead to being penalized—even if the doctor knows the guidelines are likely to do more harm than good. Last month, a revised version of the article was published, which went into even more detail of the harms that occur when fraudulent research is published and put into clinical practice… even years after the fraud is uncovered.
Don’t Become Another Heart Attack Stat
There are many strategies that can protect your heart and virtually eliminate your risk of heart disease. Please don’t wait until you’ve suffered from a heart attack to take action because the most common symptom of heart disease is sudden death, so you will be dead before you even know you have a problem. I recommend you to take action now to prevent any problem:
- Ignore the media and have more saturated unprocessed, animal fats, and, as you will benefit from these. You will benefit more if you include 80 percent of calories from these fats in your daily diet..
- Avoid all sugars, including processed fructose and grains if you are insulin and leptin resistant. It doesn’t matter if they are conventional or organic, as a high-sugar diet promotes leptin and insulin resistance, which is a primary driver of heart disease
- Exercise regularly, as physical activity along with a healthy diet of whole, preferably organic, foods might be just as powerful as cholesterol reducing drugs, even more. Use a combination of high-intensity core work, stretching, strength training and interval training.
- Avoid excess sitting; aim for three hours a day or less of sitting and try to take 10,000 steps a day (exclusive of your exercise).
- Avoid statins, as the side effects of these drugs are numerous, while the benefits are debatable. In my view, typically, the only group of people who may benefit from a cholesterol-lowering medication are those with genetic familial hypercholesterolemia. This is a condition characterized by abnormally high cholesterol, which tend to be resistant to lifestyle strategies like diet and exercise
- Optimize your vitamin D levels, either through appropriate sun exposure, a tanning bed, or as finally an oral vitamin D3 supplement helps if all rest is unavailing.
- Regular walk barefoot to ground with the earth. Doing so, enables free electrons from the earth, to transfer into your body, and this grounding effect is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of, and helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body
- Manage your stress daily. My favorite tool for stress management is the EFT-Emotional Freedom Technique or listening to Holy Quran recitation with translation.
By Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain
Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain is a certified Health Coach IIN, U.S, Holistic Nutrition Therapist, SNHS, U.K, Food Investigator, Published Health Expert. She is a graduate of Psychology, Philosophy and English Literature. She was also nominated for “Full-Bright Scholarship Program,” from St. Joseph College for women. She is originally from Pakistan; but she stayed in Oman where she studied ahead to become “the First-Health Coach from the Sultanate.”
She believes: “Food is the best form of preventive medicine.”
Follow Her on Fb: https://www.facebook.com/kiranzahra786