Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It out-kills cancer, car accidents, and all other threats ultimately accounting for roughly 1/3 of all deaths in the United States. Roughly 2 people die every minute from cardiovascular disease.
Unlike many other causes of death, heart disease and stroke can be fought using proper diet and exercise. In fact, diet and exercise can reduce your risk by up to 80%.
However, American lifestyles are more sedentary than ever. With the rise of food delivery apps, online shopping, and content streaming, we have less and less reason to get off our couch every day. When you pair that with a McDonalds on every corner, it is becoming increasingly difficult to watch our waistlines and take good care of our cardiovascular system.
What Is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease refers to medical conditions related to the heart. Examples include coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and others.
Heart Disease Causes
The main culprit of heart disease is plaque buildup in the arteries. Plaque is comprised of cholesterol, fatty molecules, and an assortment of minerals resulting in a waxy substance that can accumulate on the walls of your arteries.
This plaque forms through intake of fatty foods, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and genetic factors.
When arteries leading to the brain are blocked by plaque, the brain stops getting enough oxygen due to decreased blood flow. This is called an ischemic stroke, and can result in brain damage, blindness, confusion, paralysis of the limbs, and paralysis of the face.
When the plaque buildup results in the heart not receiving enough blood, heart attacks occur which can lead to death. Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks plague the US each year, and roughly 14% of heart attacks result in death.
How To Prevent Heart Disease?
Heart disease can take place through a variety of channels. Most notably, is the fat intake from your diet. Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats can actually lower your risk of heart disease, while diets high in saturated fats drastically increase your chances. Saturated fats cause an increase of LDL cholesterol. LDL, or low-density lipoprotein contributes to plaque formation in the arteries, which leads to blockage of blood flow.
Many experts recommend the Mediterranean Diet to help prevent heart disease. This diet revolves around whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and legumes, along with moderate amounts of eggs, cheese, and yogurt.
A recent study in Denmark showed that people who opted for oatmeal for breakfast instead of eggs and toast showed a decreased heart disease risk. You can read more about this study on Reuters. Other studies have shown that ingesting 1 serving of whole grains daily can reduce cardiovascular disease risk by nearly 10%.
Modern Oats’ Apple Walnut blend is great for protecting your heart. Apples contains high concentrations of antioxidants, such as quercetin and anthocyanins, which helps promote heart health. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 that works wonders. An article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that people who ingested one or more servings of walnuts per week lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by a whopping 19%.
Modern Oats cups also contain whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and many of the food items proven to prevent heart disease.
By switching to a diet that’s low in saturated fat, promotes healthy cholesterol, and is loaded with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you’ll greatly decrease your chances of heart attack and/or stroke.
When you engage in vigorous exercise, you’re not just working out your biceps, but your heart too. Over time, your heart strengthens making it capable of pushing out more blood per beat, allowing it to beat less to achieve the same results. A stronger, more efficient heart can help prevent heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure.
In order to see benefits from exercise, it is recommended that you engage in a minimum of 30-minutes of exercise per day. This workout doesn’t have to be extremely intense but should be enough that you get your heart rate up and experience elevated breathing. For many of us, a light 30-minute jog is enough to do the trick.
Apart from strengthening your heart, exercise increases your high-density lipoproteins or HDL cholesterol. While LDL is harmful, HDL is actually beneficial to the human body. It helps your body flush out LDL, ultimately leading to a healthier cholesterol profile.
Heart disease continues to be a threat for millions of Americans. While the methods listed above can help reduce your risk, changes to your cardiovascular system do not happen overnight. That’s why it’s incredibly important to start engaging in preventative measures now, to set yourself up for a healthy heart years down the line. By adhering to a healthy diet and exercise plan, you won’t only look and feel better, but you just may save your own life.
**Disclosure: The materials presented in this article do not constitute medical advice. If you currently suffer from heart disease, or fear being at risk, always consult a qualified medical professional.**
Do you write engaging content regarding health and wellness, gluten-free diets, or other similar topics? If you're interested in guest blog opportunities, please email tsimpson[at]ibevconcepts.com for details.