Oct 18, 2021
The number of heart disease deaths may be declining on a per-person basis, but the absolute number is still increasing and currently stands at an estimated 2 million per year as of 2021 from 785,000 in 2010.
Coronary artery disease accounts for more than half of all heart diseases and one out of every six men and one woman die from some form of cardiovascular disease each year. This costs $108 billion annually — $49 billion in direct medical expenses and $59 billion in indirect costs such as disability.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the body's cells and take away toxic waste products. High cholesterol levels, smoking, high blood pressure, age, obesity and genetics can contribute to arterial plaque buildup which narrows the artery and prevents proper blood flow. The good news is that by performing numerous activities on a regular basis (some simple enough for even children), you can keep your arteries clear of dangerous plaque buildup which will reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
Here are 20 ways to make sure you never have to worry about clogged arteries or any cardiovascular problems:
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 12 grams of saturated fat, but this type of fat is different than the one found in animal products like meat and dairy. This particular fat has been shown to produce a greater increase in HDL cholesterol (also known as "good" cholesterol) when compared to other types of fats such as polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids commonly found in sunflower or safflower oils for example. In fact, just two weeks of substituting olive oil with coconut oil yielded a 15% increase in HDL cholesterol levels in a study conducted by Dr. Preuss at Duke University Medical Center.
Trans-fats are the worst kind when it comes to heart disease. The saturated fat found in trans-fat can not only lower your good cholesterol (HDL) but also raise the bad (LDL). These "bad" fats increase your risk of atherosclerosis — a condition where plaque builds up inside of your arteries and causes damage. This increases your risk for angina, stroke and heart attacks. Trans-fat is commonly found in fried foods such as French fries or doughnuts and baked goods like cookies or crackers so try to avoid these at all costs!
Partially hydrogenated oil is another type of harmful fat that raises LDL cholesterol levels while lowering HDL cholesterol. Aim to use as little oil as possible when cooking and choose coconut oil instead of partially hydrogenated oils or those containing trans-fats. You can also use olive oil sparingly, but this type of fat is generally considered healthier than the partially hydrogenated ones.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to lower blood pressure levels and improve lipid profiles so it reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease. Dilute a tablespoon in some water and drink before meals or add some to your salad dressing — you'll need less dressing if you're using apple cider vinegar because it's more flavorful than other vinegars such as red wine vinegar for example.
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Fiber helps clear away cholesterol by binding to bile acids in the intestines and removing them from the body via bowel movements. Soluble fiber such as oats, nuts, and seeds also reduce blood cholesterol levels while also reducing your risk of heart disease.
Fiber slows down digestion which means you stay fuller longer. This reduced risk of overeating is beneficial when it comes to heart health because it reduces the chances of having high cholesterol or triglyceride levels which are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber per day if you're a man and 25 if you're a woman, but this can vary throughout your lifespan.
Pistachios are one of the few nuts that contain monounsaturated fats (the good kind!) instead of mostly polyunsaturated fats like other types such as peanuts, hazelnuts or cashews. They also contain more antioxidants than most other types so they help protect artery walls from damage caused by free radicals in the body. Aim to have about 23 pistachios per day to lower your risk for heart disease.
Spices are a great way to add flavor to your food while boosting your antioxidant intake so they help protect artery walls from damage by free radicals in the body. Some of the most potent spices are cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon so try to use them often in your cooking!
Eggs are an excellent source of protein which can help regulate levels of triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood that raises LDL cholesterol levels) in the body. Aim to include some protein with each meal for optimal heart health because it helps keep you fuller for longer and discourages overeating.
Cabbage is rich in a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which has been shown to lower estrogen levels, an effect that's beneficial when it comes to heart health because estrogen can interfere with cholesterol metabolism and increase your risk of oxidative damage to artery walls. Aim to cook up some cabbage soup — just like the kind grandma used to make — and freeze individual portions so you always have some ready in the freezer when hunger strikes!
Not only can red meat contain harmful saturated fat and trans-fat but it also contains heme iron which increases inflammation in the body and LDL cholesterol levels while lowering HDL cholesterol. Limit your intake to once a week and make sure it's lean meat such as poultry or fish instead — not only is this better for your heart health, but it will help you maintain a healthy weight since high-fat meats like red meat can increase your risk of obesity.
Low-fat dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese can be an excellent source of calcium which helps lowers blood pressure levels and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (the hardening and narrowing of arteries) so try to have at least two servings a day if you don't eat red meat. You can also choose soy milk because it's rich in calcium too!
There is some evidence that taking Vitamin K2 supplements can help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries. Vitamin K2 works to maintain calcium balance in your blood vessels and soft tissue by removing calcium deposits. You may click HERE to learn more where to get the safest and purest form of Vitamin K2.
Even if you don't like to work out, there are countless ways you can include physical activity into your daily life. Get up every hour at work and do some squats or pushups, go for a walk on your lunch break, take stairs instead of elevators or walk an extra block or two during your errands. You will be surprised how quickly these little things add up over time! The more active you are the healthier you will be overall.
Losing 10 pounds is enough to significantly lower your risk for heart disease. Shedding weight will help reduce the strain on your heart and make it easier for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. Click HERE to learn more about how to lose weight while sleeping and let your metabolism do it for you!
If you want to live a long, healthy life free from any cardiovascular problems, then smoking is one of the worst things you can do. Quitting cigarettes reduces greatly your chances of having a stroke or other vascular diseases (such as aneurysm and varicose veins), plus improves lung function and increases overall energy levels.
A high fructose diet contributes to the development of atherosclerosis (i.e., hardening and narrowing of the arteries). Consuming too much sugar increases triglycerides which increase total LDL cholesterol. Consuming large amounts of fructose can also increase blood pressure.
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There is a direct connection between fish oil consumption and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Omega 3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fish help reduce inflammation, lower triglyceride levels and prevent the formation of arterial plaque.
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Losing just a couple hours of sleep each night can put you at increased risk for heart disease. When you are tired, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol which in turn increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Cortisol also makes it more difficult for your arteries to relax and function properly.
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Most people don't think about quitting caffeine when they're looking to improve their cardiovascular health but if you want clear arteries, then this is something you need to consider. Caffeine increases the production of adrenaline which speeds up your heart rate, raising lipid concentrations in your blood. It also stimulates the release of lipoprotein(a), a substance that builds up in the arteries and increases your risk for heart disease.
Green tea is rich in catechins, a type of antioxidant that promotes cardiovascular health. Research shows that drinking green tea help reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots from forming and protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation. It has also been shown to have a very positive effect on insulin levels which is important for maintaining optimum heart health.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber while being low in red meat. Studies show that the people who live in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have higher life expectancies due to their diets which are typically very high in healthy fats such as olive oil, fish and seeds.
Studies have found a strong relationship between low levels of vitamin D3 and increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease. There is some evidence that vitamin D can help prevent abnormal heart rhythms which may be the reason behind its ability to reduce your chance of having a stroke or blood clot.
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The best way to keep your arteries clean and healthy is by leading a well-balanced, life. All of the things listed above will help to give you much better odds at living a long and healthy life free from heart disease and other related cardiovascular problems. Be sure to include all of these lifestyle changes into your everyday life and you will see drastic results very quickly!