Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for men and women worldwide. This is a sad indictment on the way we manage our health, since heart disease is exacerbated by unwise lifestyle choices and scant attention to diet.
The Reason for Coronary Heart Disease
Thousands of small blood vessels supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood, if plaque builds up on the inner walls of the arteries the opening narrows or becomes clogged. When the flow becomes restricted or stops altogether heart attacks can occur. This is often referred to as hardening of the arteries meaning there is difficulty keeping a constant flow of blood to the heart.
Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease
Chest pains are one of the most easily identified symptoms. Unfortunately in some cases the symptoms can be very similar to indigestion so the disease may not be picked up as quickly as it could be.
Sometimes pain comes on after exertion or emotional stress and goes away again after a period of rest. Shortness of breath, especially coupled with exertion and fatigue can be indicators of heart disease. If you have symptoms like these on a regular basis see your physician for a check up.
Risk Indicators for Coronary Heart Disease
- The risk of heart disease increases with age.
- Men are at a higher risk than women.
- Genes that determine a higher risk may run in families.
Other reasons that increase the risk of heart disease are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Substance abuse
- Being overweight
- Not enough exercise
Good lifestyle choices and attention to diet can help minimize the risk of heart disease. Diet and exercise are two important factors when it comes to preventative measures against this insidious disease.
Although it seems as if heart disease has suddenly crept up on you, the truth is it has slowly happened over a period of time.
The good news is that if you get serious about making changes to lower the risk of coronary heart disease you can make a big difference and it is never too late to start.
Heart Friendly Diet
Over the last few years meal sizes seem to have grown, it is not necessary to eat huge amounts of food, so make a conscious effort to downsize the portions. Start a healthy eating program by implementing some of these suggestions.
- Avoid refined food and packaged foods such as cookies, crackers and pastries.
- Cut down on fried food and look for ways of healthy cooking to get the best out of food.
- Limit the amount of red meat you eat and consume more chicken, fish, legumes and beans.
- Cut down on salt and sugar.
- Drink less fizzy drinks and juices or even better cut them out altogether. All soft drinks are loaded with sugar regardless of whether they are diet or not.
- Always quench your thirst with water, this way you will cut down on soft drinks without noticing it.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat salads as often as possible and avoid sauces.
- Eat wholegrain and whole meal breads.
In his book The Nature Doctor, Dr H.C.A. Vogel suggests a diet that is very effective for treating hardening of the arteries; he advocates a diet of brown rice, soft white cheese, (Quark) and salads which he says rehabilitates the blood vessels. He also suggests that plants rich in iodine such as seaweed are very beneficial treatment.
If you smoke make an attempt to give up or cut-down, the benefits are nothing short of miraculous and you wont regret it.
Enjoy a drink but keep it down to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
If you want to avoid heart disease, exercise is a must. Exercise pumps the blood and oxygen round your body and stimulates all the cells and organs. It isnt necessary to train for a marathon, a good brisk walk every day will help to keep to everything moving. Exercise such as cycling, skipping and going up and down stairs are particularly good cardiovascular exercises but should be attempted in moderation.
Exercise can help to save your life and the great thing is you can do it for free.
Stress is bad for your heart; if you want to avoid heart disease take a good look at your lifestyle. Learn to relax and take time out to enjoy your life, dont wait for a wake-up call in the form of coronary heart disease, take action now.