From Your Health Journal…..”Another excellent article From ABC News via Prevention magazine written by Annie Underwood about heart healthy foods. Heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and young children are now showing risk factors – along with a rise in type 2 diabetes. In many cases, it is related to obesity, poor eating habits, and physical inactivity. Many of us are always on the run, picking up some convenient meal that is probably highly processed or refined, high in salt, calories, or fat. Much research points to the fact that for some people, heart disease can be prevented with proper diet and exercise. Today’s article discusses foods that help strengthen the heart, including oranges, kale, garlic, red wine, dark chocolate, sardines, lentils, and almonds. This is a very important article to read, so please visit the ABC web site to learn more. The link is provided below. Throughout the month of February (heart month), we have included many articles on heart health. This one is a good one to check out.”
From the article…..
With heart disease the number one killer of both men and women in this country, you would think a cure that could dramatically reduce these deaths would be big news. And yet the most effective remedy is so simple that most people can’t seem to believe it works.
“In traditional societies, where people don’t eat processed foods, heart disease is rare,” says Dr. Arthur Agatston, cardiologist and author of The South Beach Wake-Up Call. “If you start with a healthy diet in childhood, heart attacks are almost completely preventable.”
Studies have shown that up to 70 percent of heart disease can be averted with the right regimen, according to Dr. Walter Willett, chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. But is diet alone as powerful as drugs? “Oh, no, it’s much more powerful,” says Dr. Willett. “Statins, the most effective single medications for reducing heart disease, only cut risk by 25 to 30 percent.”
In fact, you would need a cabinet full of prescription drugs to bestow all the benefits of a serious heart-healthy meal plan. There’s nothing a drug can do for your heart health that foods can’t do, too.
In that spirit, here are nine top foods for the heart. But this list is only a beginning. A truly healthy diet features a broad range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes–not a select few. Hippocrates understood the concept more than 2,000 years ago: “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”
Oranges contain a pharmacy’s worth of salves for the heart. The soluble fiber pectin acts like a giant sponge, sopping up cholesterol in food and blocking its absorption–just like a class of drugs known as bile acid sequestrants. And the potassium in oranges helps counterbalance salt, keeping blood pressure under control.
But new research shows something even more startling: Citrus pectin helps neutralize a protein called galectin-3 that causes scarring of heart tissue, leading to congestive heart failure–a condition that is often difficult to treat with drugs. “Twenty percent of Americans over 50 have high galectin-3,” says Dr. Pieter Muntendam, CEO of BG Medicine in Waltham, MA. “A 2009 study showed that a diet high in fruits and vegetables decreased the risk of heart failure by 37 percent.”
Pectin is contained in the pulp and pith. You’ll get more of it in juice with pulp. Or better yet, eat your oranges.
Your mom was right: You need to consume your dark leafy greens. “Kale has everything you would want in a superfood,” says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the author of the bestseller Eat to Live, who uses diet and exercise to help patients reverse their cardiovascular disease. For starters, kale boasts a bumper crop of heart-healthy antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin E. It’s also rich in lutein, which correlated in the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study with protection against early atherosclerosis. Kale even contains an unusual compound, glucoraphanin, that activates a special protective protein called Nrf2. “It creates a sort of Teflon coating in your arteries to keep plaque from adhering,” says Dr. Fuhrman.
For a snack, try Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale–actual kale that is dehydrated, then coated with ground cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, and garlic.