Heart disease is undoubtedly the leading reason for the death of people, and annually, more than 1 million Americans die from a heart disease.
In most cases, people suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD), which can result in a heart attack.
According to statistics, this year alone we’ll have 920.000 new heart attack cases and as much as 50% of them will happen to unsuspecting Americans, without any warning signs.
What leads to a heart attack is blocked blood flow to a part of your heart. What compromised the blood flow is plaque build-up inside your arteries, a condition medically referred to as atherosclerosis. This plaque can rupture and form a blood clot that inhibits blood flow to the heart.
If such a situation does occur, you must react quickly or otherwise part of your heart muscle will start dying off and become scar tissue which can cause even more serious issues in the future.
For instance, a previous heart attack (especially if a large area of your heart was damaged) is a risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest,2 which is caused by abnormal heart rhythms and can be fatal.
5 Lifestyle Changes Could Prevent 80% of Heart Attacks
Even though heart attacks occur frequently, and are a really painful experience, they can, in fact, be prevented. We all know that our lifestyle and diet play a great role in our overall health, but you surely haven’t been aware of the extent to which you can help yourself.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute conducted a study which showed that just five healthy lifestyle changes could reduce first-time heart attacks in men by 80%. Here’s what they said:
“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.”
A previous INTERHEART study in 2004, which examined heart disease risk factors in over 50 countries worldwide, found that 90% heart disease cases can be completely prevented by introducing some diet and lifestyle changes.
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
- Being physically active (walking/bicycling ≥40 min/day and exercising ≥1 h/week)
- Healthy waist circumference (waist circumference <95 cm or 37.4 inches)
- Moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day)
- No smoking
What Is a Healthy Diet for Your Heart?
There are two kinds of LDL cholesterol particles:
- Small, dense LDL cholesterol
- Large, “fluffy” LDL cholesterol
The large LDL cholesterol is not bad at all, contrary to popular beliefs. LDL particles do not cause heart disease. The small LDL particles cause build-up of plaque in the arteries, and trans fat increases small LDL. Saturated fat increases large LDL.
The small LDL particles are increased by consuming refined sugar and carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels, and soda. Trans fats and refined carbs are far more dangerous than saturated fat.
The amount of small LDL particles is increased with the intake of carbs and refined sugars, like bread, bagels, sodas and so on and that’s why trans-fat and carbs do a lot more damage to your cardiovascular health than saturated fats alone.
Ever-rising obesity and heart disease rates clearly illustrate the ramifications of this flawed approach. I recently interviewed Dr. Fred Kummerow on this topic. If you missed it, I highly recommend taking a moment to listen to it now.
- Avoid sugars, processed fructose, and grains. Stay clear of most processed foods as well.
- Implement a healthy balanced eating regimen consisted of whole, organic food. Replace the carbs with:
- High amounts of vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (ideally organically raised, pastured animals)
- High-quality healthy fat (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources).
Very powerful source of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and other phytochemicals, are fruits – majority of them possess anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy effects. Fact says that people who eat fruit every day have 40 % lower risk of cardiovascular disease, especially the sweeter fruits. Here is a suggestion for fruit and fructose consumption:
- For those who are leptin or insulin resistant -diabetic, overweight, those that have high cholesterol or hypertensive, should limit the fruit intake. fructose intake should not exceed 15 gr/day.
- For the rest of population -normal weight, not diabetic, hypertension, regular physical activity- higher intake of fructose should not cause any One should consume fruit after a workout,. In this case body can use the sugar as a fuel and wont be raising blood sugar levels.
Fruit and Heart health
A study presented at the ESC Congress in Barcelona this year revealed some amazing discoveries. The study showed that people who regularly consumed fruits had a 40% lower risk of any type of cardiovascular disease and a 32% lower risk of death from any cause in comparison with people who didn’t.
This is due to the fact that fruits are abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which promote heart health.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a research which demonstrated that the consumption os an apple daily prevents the risk of cardiovascular-related death in people older than 50, similarly to the use of a daily statin.
Yet, be cautious when eating sweeter fruits. Numerous of the most important useful phytonutrients in fruits, in fact, have sour, bitter, or astringent taste, and can be found in the skin and seeds.
In moderate amounts, you may benefits a lot by consuming cherries, organic apples, and blueberries. Fruits can have high fructose levels, o avoid over- consumption in order to prevent heart disease. Follow these suggestions:
- If you are leptin/insulin resistant, overweight, hypersensitive or have high cholesterol levels (this includes nearly 80% Americans), you shouldn’t eat more than 15g fructose daily.
- If you are not insulin/leptin resistant, and have normal weight, don’t suffer from diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol and if you do some physical activity almost every day, you can eat as much fruit as you like.
- If you belong to the second group, fruit can still increase your blood sugar, even your protein glycosylation. It’s best to eat fruits after workout and some physical activity, because your body will then use the sugar as fuel rather than store it in your blood and raise your blood sugar levels.
- Plus, if you’re an endurance athlete, you can also consume large amounts of fruits because your body will burn most of the glucose during exercise, and it won’t be stored as fat.
Diabetes Drug Increases Heart Disease Risk
One of the most common diabetes drugs on the market is Metformin, which makes your body tissues more sensitive to insulin. But, according to recent studies that included people with hypothyroidism, the use of metformin was linked to a higher risk of low thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. A drastic decrease in TSH levels may lead to serious health issues, including heart problems such as atrial fibrillation, which in turn could result in congestive heart failure. A different study has found that if you treat type 2 diabetes with glucose-lowering drugs, you actually increase your risk of death from heart-related issues. In the words of researchers:
“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. See my nutrition plan for a healthy eating guide and, for more specifics, read my diabetes prevention (and treatment) plan here.
Warning about Beta-Blockers and Scientific Misconduct
Beta blockers are drugs aimed at treating high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. They block the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to beta receptors and dilate blood vessels, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It was a common practice in the past for patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery to take beta-blockers, and this practice was even recommended by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). However, it was recently discovered that this practice, which according to researchers was based on “questionable and probably fraudulent research,” may have been the cause of 800,000 deaths in the past five years in Europe only.
The main reason for the adoption of this practice was a research conducted by a scientist who was fired for scientific misconduct in 2011 and was also the chairman in the committee which drafted these guidelines. The question remains why hasn’t this information brought to light immediately? Why wasn’t anything done? And why did the ESC needed 2 years to withdraw the beta-blocker recommendation? Who knows how many deaths could have been prevented if the revelation had been brought to light immediately.
Even the doctors who knew about this had their hands tied because the guidelines must be respected and there was nothing they could do about it. Forbes reported:
“They write about a culture of neglect in which few if any participants have anything to gain by finding or reporting scientific misconduct. They cite numerous examples in which misconduct has been alleged but the responsible actors– authors, home institutions, journals, and medical societies– have responded in only the most minimal and nonaggressive fashion. The portrait they paint is of a scientific and medical establishment devoted to not rocking the boat.”
Strategies to Follow In Order to Avoid a Heart Attack
You can protect your heart and lower the risk of heart disease by following many strategies. Don’t wait to take action until feeling some symptoms of heart disease because it may be too late.
- Consume unprocessed saturated animal fats to benefit from the fats. You can also benefit from consuming more healthy fat.
- Avoid sugars – processed fructose and grains if you are insulin and leptin resistant. A high-sugar diet leads to insulin and leptin resistance, which is a main cause of heart disease.
- Be physically active and consume organic foods.
- Avoid sitting for too long and try making 10 000 steps daily.
- Avoid medications for cholesterol lowering, such as statins because there cause side effects and the benefits are questionable.
- Optimize the levels of vitamin D through sun exposure, tanning beds, or an oral supplement of vitamin D3.
- Walk barefoot regularly because this way free electrons are conveyred from the earth into the body. This effect is one of the most powerful antioxidants and aids inflammation throughout the body.
- Control your stress every day.