Archive for the 'Heart Disease' Category

Jul 21, 2011 Posted Under: Heart Disease

Five Tips on How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

High cholesterol is a common concern among adult Americans. Also known as hypercholesterolemia, the condition is often associated with heart problems and is considered to be the common cause of strokes. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is naturally produced by your body. Its function is to keep your body’s cell wall healthy. However, being diagnosed as having high cholesterol levels, it is necessary to work on lowering it to acceptable levels. This article will show you how to lower cholesterol naturally.

Eating healthy foods is your key to lowering your high cholesterol levels. Having hypercholesterolemia is sometimes synonymous to being obese. However, there are unsuspecting individuals that are not obese yet but when tested will yield high levels of cholesterol in their bodies.

If you want to know how to lower cholesterol naturally, take a look at this list of essential foods.

  • Ensure you have fiber in your daily meals. High fiber foods include Oatmeal and apple barley. Foods rich in fiber aim to decrease the absorption of bad cholesterol into the body. Fibrous foods are also excellent anti-oxidants.
  • Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which reduces the risk of developing heart conditions. Fish that you need to add to your daily diet include tuna, sardines, and salmon. Avoid frying in cooking oil, instead steam or bake the fish for a more healthy meal. Knowing how to lower cholesterol naturally will be essential to your overall well-being, not just lowering your bad cholesterol levels.
  • Keep your body active by maintaining a daily exercise regimen. You don’t need to enroll in a gym just to exercise. Brisk walking or jogging daily is a good workout session already. If you cannot afford to go to the gym, try utilizing the things that you have in the house. You can still get some exercise while at work. If there is a need for you to go to another department that is not on the same floor as yours, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise is not just to lower your cholesterol; the activity is also an effective weight loss regimen.
  • You can do away with smoking and consuming too much alcohol. It is common knowledge that cigarette smoking will not do your body any good. Smoking is a big contributor to heart disease so you need to quit immediately. You will sometimes hear from doctors that alcohol can actually lower cholesterol levels naturally. You can drink alcoholic beverages; however, you will need to do it in moderation. Also it is good to increase your water consumption.
  • Avoid fatty foods – such as those that contain saturated fats, fried foods, and other fast food staples. You have to understand that your body produces cholesterol naturally; lack of proper nutrition in the food that you take will also cause you to have high cholesterol problems. If you need to fry something, make sure that you use olive or vegetable oil.
  • As an added bonus, you should shy away from processed meat, chicken skin, and pork.

Now that you know how to lower cholesterol naturally, there is no reason why you should not become healthier in no time.

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Jul 04, 2011 Posted Under: Heart Disease

Guidelines For Lowering Your Cholesterol By Diet

There are two ways of looking at the word ‘diet’. One is to think of it simply as the food we eat. The other is to think of it as ‘a diet’, a regime of cutting out certain foods for a specific reason, generally to lose weight. Both have a role in helping to achieve lower cholesterol levels or to maintain normal levels.

A simple change in diet, combined with a few other easy but effective lifestyle changes can make a significant impact on lowering your blood cholesterol.

Choose ‘healthier’ fats

A healthy diet includes food from all the different food groups: carbohydrates; proteins; fats; fruit and vegetables. To normalize cholesterol levels it’s important to cut down or avoid saturated fats. For a healthy heart, around 25% of your daily calories should come from fat, however, not more than 7% of these should be from saturated fats.

Trans fats should also be avoided. They are found in processed goods, especially cakes, biscuits and pastries, and some margarines. They are listed on the ingredients as hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats not only raise your levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol but they also damage your blood vessels.
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Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, on the other hand, can help to raise lower total levels of blood cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil has particularly effective cholesterol lowering qualities as it is less processed and is very high in beneficial anti-oxidants.

Similarly, if you avoid fatty meats – especially red meat and offal – which are high in saturated fats, you could replace these with nuts which are rich in polyunsaturated oils. Walnuts in particular also help to keep blood vessels healthy. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are also ideal in helping to reduce high blood cholesterol and promote good heart health.

Of course, all fatty and oily foods are higher in calories and to maintain a balanced diet they should be eaten in moderation. For example, a handful of nuts a day is sufficient.

Other cholesterol busting food

Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and pulses also play an important role in a low fat diet as substitutes for foods high in saturated fats. Oatmeal, barley, kidney beans, apples, pears, bananas and prunes, for example, also contain high amounts of soluble fibre which helps to reduce ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol.

It’s worth noting, though, that a high carb/low fat diet can result in higher blood cholesterol as the liver starts to produce increased levels of cholesterol to cope with the large amounts of carbohydrate. Therefore, you should maintain your carbohydrate intake below the recommended maximum of 60% of total diet.

Other lifestyle changes

Lack of exercise or physical activity can increase you LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels. This is particularly true for those who are overweight. 30 minutes of brisk exercise, 5 days a week can be enough to raise your HDL (‘good’) cholesterol by as much as 5%.

Brisk exercise is simply anything that increases your heart rate. If 30 minutes is too much, break it down into two 15 minute segments or 3 ten minute sessions. Swimming, cycling and aerobics are all great, but a good session of house cleaning or tidying up the garden can work just as well for those short of time!

Regularly drinking excessive alcohol impacts adversely on your levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides. If you stop smoking, you could raise your ‘good’ cholesterol by up to 10%

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May 17, 2011 Posted Under: Heart Disease

Cut Heart or Stroke Risk With a Heart Healthy Diet Plan

The average daily intake of potassium, considered an essential dietary mineral, is a lot lower than health authorities would like. Researchers are convinced that increasing the amount you get might actually provide protection from heart or stroke risk and other forms of heart disease.

Potassium is known to be important to heart function, now Italian researchers have found that eating potassium rich foods can lower stroke risk by 21%, as well as possibly bringing down your chances of heart disease as well.

A stroke is defined by doctors as an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain due to a clot (ischemic stroke) or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke) that leaks blood into the surrounding tissues.

When the flow of blood stops, even for a few seconds, the brain is kept from getting the oxygen it needs and cells in that area die off. This is what leaves patients with permanent damage.

For the research the team pulled information about heart disease and potassium intake from 11 different studies. These studies included 358,620 men and women and information on what these subjects ate the day before. The procedure the team used, known technically as a meta analysis, looks for trends that might support a conclusion even if this was not the main focus of the original study.

They discovered that subjects who took in at least 1.64 g of potassium on daily basis had a 21% lesser risk of stroke, with lower risks of heart disease as well.

Five plus servings of fruits and veggies each day is enough to give you the protective effect, the researchers note. Supplements do not appear to offer the same protective benefits in terms of stroke risk.

The reduced stroke risk and heart benefits may be due to potassium’s ability to lower blood pressure, particularly when someone has hypertension and elevated salt intake.

Potassium may also contribute to cardiovascular system health by slowing atherosclerosis and keeping the walls of the arteries from thickening as the result of a build-up of fatty materials like cholesterol – both important in terms of preventing heart disease.

Doctor’s know the number one risk for stroke is high blood pressure. Typically men have more strokes than women do, however a woman has a higher risk of stroke during her pregnancy and the weeks immediately after delivering the baby.

Symptoms of a stroke usually come on suddenly, without any warning, or they can come and go over a day or two. If your doctor suspects you’ve had a stroke, you’ll undergo a complete physical and neurological exam to see where you stand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tells us that sweet potato head up the list of foods high in potassium. Fruits like bananas, cantaloupe, grapefruit and oranges are other great sources. Veggies such as tomatoes along with low-fat dairy are also great sources of dietary potassium.

Getting more potassium is a safe and easy way to cut heart or stroke risk and is a recommendation of the American Heart Association. In fact, the well known DASH diet is one of the best examples of heart healthy eating diet plan because it’s full of fruits, veggies and nuts, supports moderation in low fat dairy and sodium while also being high in potassium. Might be a smart move to implement a heart healthy diet plan that has you eating betterputting good things into your body to help it stay healthy, strong and vibrant now and in years to come.

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Feb 19, 2011 Posted Under: Heart Disease

Diets To Lower Cholesterol

Most people don’t realize that one very effective way to combat high cholesterol is with a simple lifestyle change: their diet. There are many variations of diets to lower cholesterol. You just have to look at what you eat now and what small changes you need to make.

Including more plant-based foods is one small “tweak” to can make to your existing diet. Adding fruits, vegetables, legumes (nuts), and whole grains are great additions or replacements for high cholesterol foods. These types of are generally low in saturated fat and calories. However, they contain higher amounts of fiber and starch. They are naturally low in dietary cholesterol. However, there are some bakery goods to stay away from: some sweet breads and other foods that are made with high-fat and high-cholesterol milk, eggs, and butter.

If you’re looking to keep your triglycerides down and/or you’re trying to improve your low HDL (remember, that’s the good cholesterol), then your carbohydrate intake should be no more than 55% to 60% of your total daily calories. When your body takes in too many carbs, it will tell the liver to increase production of cholesterol. This can lead to higher cholesterol levels.

You know that increasing plant-based foods is one step to a diet to lower your cholesterol. Another change can be to decrease the amount of animal-based foods. Many animal based foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Research has shown that taking in saturated fat, more so than cholesterol itself, can lead to higher cholesterol levels. You should limit or avoid foods like red meat with visible fat, organ meat (like liver), goose, duck, processed meats (like sausage, bologna, salami). Even food like butter, cheese, and even high-fat ice cream can be bad for high cholesterol.

Another type of fat to avoid is trans-fat. Lately, there has been a shift at many chain restaurants to stay away from oils that have trans-fat (like KFC and Burger King). That doesn’t mean that the food is now healthy. It’s just that the trans-fat cooking process has been replaced. Trans fatty acid, trans fat, has been shown to increase the LDL levels, which we know is BAD. You should learn how to read labels on foods. Look for words like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and/or shortening. These are your clues that this product is high in trans fat. Also look for the section of the nutritional guide and look for the section for saturated fat.

So, with just a few simple tweaks, you can start your journey to a healthier life style. Diets that lower cholesterol don’t have to be fancy or bland. You just need to know what to add and what to take out of your current diet.

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Dec 07, 2010 Posted Under: Heart Disease

Heart Attack Treatment Tips

Heart attack treatment has remained a common talk of the world as there is overall belief that no healthcare delivery facility is ideal for proper management of heart attacks. The good news is that heart attack treatment and prevention are available to people who are ready to adhere to certain precautionary measures.

All said and done, the few most important things one needs to do when ever heart attack symptoms are identified is to give the right first aid to the patient, before any medical assistance arrives. There are some important once we shall discuss. Fist and foremost, the patient needs to relax and come out of stress.

Cayenne strengthens every blood vessel in the body including tiny capillaries that bring nutrients and oxygen to every cell and remove the toxic waste products from the cells. Hot peppers even keep the blood from sticking together preventing dangerous clots. All of these actions help cayenne prevent heart attacks and strokes. Herbalists agree that hot peppers are the number one herb for the heart.

Your diet can be a big factor in your risk for a heart attack. A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol can narrow your hearts arteries. Instead eat heart healthy meals with lots of fruits and vegetables and omega 3-fatty acids. Along with diet and exercise, managing stress, and doing things like not smoking and limiting your alcohol intake can assist in the prevention and treatment for a heart attack.

Chest discomfort – this occurs in the center of the chest and may last a few minutes. It feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. This discomfort may also be mild or severe and it may come and go. Discomfort can also extend to other parts of the body such as both arms, the back, neck, jaw and even the stomach.

Diets control is another noteworthy factor in the cure and treatment of a heart attack. Prescribed diets are those that limit calories. Also the restrictions in sodium and cholesterol intake are very important. The physical educator can work with the dietician in teaching the patient suffering from heart disease the rationale of the diet as well as helping him plan appetising menus that conform to the diet prescription.

In medical terms, a heart attack is called myocardial infarction, since there is no blood supply to the cells of the heart muscle – myocardium. It is also called coronary thrombosis or coronary occlusion. The forming of plaque is called atherosclerosis. This process of plaque building up occurs even from the childhood stage, often in an asymptomatic manner.

Eat healthy in combination with exercise. It is important to eat foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fat. The in take of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the chances of sudden death. It is also important to eat on time and in small portions. Skipping meals leads to heartburn, which causes unnecessary complications. A low amount of spice, salt and fatty substances ensures a healthier heart.

Before the patient is discharged from the hospital, a treadmill test and angiography is performed to verify if the patient is experiencing pain. A rehabilitation course is prescribed that helps in healing the heart faster. These include lifestyle changes, medication, and tips to lead stress-free lives.

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