Think about it.
Heart disease is the number one killer, the U.S. is last in line of developed countries for heart health, the biggest focus on attacking heart disease in our medical system is cholesterol management, while the U.S. tests more cholesterol and dispenses more prescriptions for cholesterol lowering medications.
And did you know that only ½ of people who die of heart attacks have high cholesterol?
More needs to be done, and it can start with us.
I believe the main reason why we are not winning the war on heart disease is all about lifestyle, while the approach in the United States overwhelmingly focuses on pharmacotherapy.
Fortunately, there is a ton of information at our disposal on how to have a healthy heart- from worldwide population-based studies, as well as clinical outcome-based approaches.
Dr. Ornish solved the problem in his book Reversing Heart Disease over 20 years ago.
Today, Dr. Ornish trains practitioners across the country, which is even reimbursed by Medicare due to the proven results and cost effectiveness compared to doctors’ visits, medications and surgeries.
The Ornish Spectrum focuses on four core lifestyle approaches; diet and supplements, activity level, stress management, and how much love and support you have and give.
Then there are the population-based studies. Studies on Centenarian’s, as well as people living in the Blue Zones (the areas around the globe where people live longest and healthiest,) and of course, the Mediterranean lifestyle diet.
As you will see, the research lines up with Dr. Dean Ornish’s work, which is of no coincidence.
Among surveyed centenarians, 89% say they communicate with a family member or friend every day. 67% pray, meditate or engage in some form of spiritual activity. 51% say they exercise almost daily. 71% say they get eight hours or more of sleep each night. More than 80% of centenarians say they regularly consume a balanced meal.
I like to refer to the Mediterranean Diet as a lifestyle diet, because their lifestyles play an important role, falling in line with the factors mentioned above.
In a study out of Harokopio University in Greece, researchers studied the daily dietary habits of 2,500 Greek adults between the ages 18 and 89 for ten years. Researchers then reviewed each participant’s in-depth survey, regarding their medical records, lifestyle, and diet, and compared it to the surveys they administered at the start of the study and five years into it. The researchers graded participants on their level of intake for 11 Mediterranean friendly food groups.
The researchers found that those who scored in the top-third of closely following the diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease over the 10-year follow-up period as compared to those who did not closely follow the diet. Adherence to the diet, shown to be more protective than physical activity, and the Mediterranean diet benefits all age groups.
As you can see, the information is there, we just need to follow it. What if we began incorporating healthy dietary habits, moving regularly, taking steps to manage stress, and reach out to others?
Can you imagine the improvement we would see?
And then there is supplements.
As you know there are a ton of heart healthy based supplements, so where does one begin?
I'm of practical mind, I like to play the numbers.
Looking at supplements cast a wide net...while suffering at the hands of deficiency and depletion.
Here are 2 core supplements to ponder.
· With deficiency, twice as likely to die from a cardiovascular event while ½ of Americans are deficient and don’t know that they are
· Decreases blood vessel constriction
· Improves glucose uptake by insulin
· Improves muscle strength and endurance
· Relaxes electrical impulses and encourages calmness
· Maintains the normal rhythm of your heart
· Metabolizes fats and carbohydrates for energy production
· Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
· Foods high in magnesium – ( Green vegetables, sea vegetables and nuts) Spinach, Kelp, almonds , cashews, brazil nuts, dulse, hazel nuts, tofu
· Necessary for Mitochondrial energy
· Antioxidant to prevent oxidation of lipids
· Regenerates alpha-tocopherol
· Shown to be lower in patients with coronary artery disease
· Lower cholesterol
· Lower blood pressure
· Lowers triglycerides
· Lowers Lipoprotein A
· Lowers C Reactive Protein
· Supports healthy blood sugar and insulin levels
· Not abundant in foods, best to supplement
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