Looking after your Heart
Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of death in Australia. It is also a major cause of disability, with many people reporting problems or needing assistance with daily activities.
The underlying cause of coronary heart disease is a slow build up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood (the coronary arteries). These fatty deposits gradually clog the arteries and reduce the flow of blood to the heart. This process, called atherosclerosis, begins when people are young and can be well advanced by middle age.
There is no single cause for coronary heart disease, but there are ‘risk factors’ that increase your chance of developing it.
There are ‘modifiable’ risk factors (ones that you can change), including:
- smoking – both active smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke
- high blood cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- physical inactivity
- being overweight
- eating trans fatty acids (I will post some more information on this dangerous food)
- depression, social isolation and a lack of social support
There are also risk factors that you can’t change, such as being male, increasing age and having a family history of coronary heart disease.
While some of these risk factors (such as age and gender) can’t be changed, the good news is that there are many steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Optimizing Your Cholesterol Levels, Naturally
75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol. It follows, then, that primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol have to do with modifying your diet and lifestyle:
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Don’t disregard the extreme importance of appropriate sun exposure for normalizing your cholesterol levels and preventing heart disease.
- Reduce grains and sugars in your diet. Ideally, you’ll also want to consume a good portion of your food raw
- Make sure you are getting plenty of high quality, animal-based omega-3 fatty acids. the best sources are cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines. They are also found in high quantities in flax seed, walnuts, soybeans or pumpkin seeds or flax seed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil or pumpkin seed oil. Canola oil is also a good source of omega-3s.
- Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats as appropriate for your nutritional type.
- Exercise daily. Make sure you add daily walking and interval training into your weekly routine. The interval training especially helps muscle development and improves your immunity
- Get some support for your ongoing emotional issues
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
- Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep