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Heart Attack Proof Diet

Posted by in Health: Fitness  ~  February 16, 2012 12:26:01 PM

Today’s young people may be the first generation to not outlive their parents. Why? Heart disease. Regardless of what disease-du-jour is currently getting attention in the media, more people die from heart disease than any other illness. Lifestyle, diet, and genetics have created a perfect storm of conditions that have enabled heart disease to rise to the number one spot on the deadliest killer list.

Fortunately, there is much good scientific information available. In particular, excellent data about diet has been gleaned from the Framingham Heart Study. This ongoing study was initiated in 1948. Researchers have followed a group of 5,209 people and their descendents in an extensive study looking closely at lifestyle and genetics. The study has identified many heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity.

The good news is that the body almost always responds to changes in diet and lifestyle. As long as you’re breathing, there is hope. You can take control of your health any time you want to by making good choices about what you eat. Heart disease can be prevented and even reversed by taking charge of your diet.

Researchers believe that a plant-based diet is the healthiest diet for your heart. Don’t think ‘plant based’ has to mean vegetarian. Although a vegetarian diet is considered the best possible choice from a heart healthy point of view, you can eat meat and keep your heart healthy.

Think of meat as a garnish and vegetables as the main dish. Plan meals so that there are three vegetables for a serving of meat. If possible, remove all oils from your diet. This may seem severe, but research has shown that people with a blood cholesterol level of 150 or lower do not have heart attacks. If you have a history of heart disease in your family, this may be the trick that lowers your risk for heart disease.

Something else you can do is to eat as many raw vegetables as possible. Raw vegetables are preferable to cooked vegetables because cooking vegetables removes some nutritional value. Cooked vegetables do not give the full benefit of the interaction of fiber, phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins as raw vegetables do.

It is interesting to note that while heart disease is prevalent in the West, it is not common in other parts of the world. In Africa and Asia there is a very low incidence of the diseases we see frequently in the United States such as heart disease, prostate and ovarian cancer, and diabetes. When looking at the planet’s population as a whole, the West is in the minority as far as these diseases are concerned.

Lastly, an easy way to get heart healthy nutrients in your diet is to add flax. Flax is a seed that is valuable for its oil which contains Omega 3. Sprinkle flax seeds in your salads or add the oil to smoothies. Bottled flax oil is available at your health food store. Add a teaspoon or two of flax oil when you’re mixing the smoothie. You won’t taste the flax, and your heart will thank you. Keep in mind that flax looses all its nutritional value if it is cooked.

While the Framingham Heart Study is the longest ongoing study of a population, research into heart disease is being conducted on many fronts. Diet and lifestyle are consistent factors in every study. Controlling these two factors will go a long way in keeping your heart healthy.