When it comes to serious diseases most of my patients fear Cancer or Alzheimer’s. But many forget that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in this country. All of these diseases are frightening, but the truth is heart disease should concern you more.
The good news is that when you take care of your heart you do many good things for your body that will also contribute to helping many other diseases.
Your first step in the fight against heart disease is to eat heart healthy foods. There’s very little doubt that poor diet is the number one cause of heart disease… it only makes sense to look for a solution there, too.
Changing how you eat to promote good heart health is actually easier than it sounds. You can make a big difference in just a few simple steps:
- Choose natural, unprocessed foods.
- Eat good fats.
- Eat lean protein at each meal.
- Avoid refined grains and refined sugar.
Avoid the Chemical Diet
Processed foods are usually loaded with preservatives, artificial flavors and coloring, and all sorts of other chemicals and chemically altered foods. Your body simply isn’t designed to process these chemicals and they can take a toll over time. One of the worst offenders is trans fat or hydrogenated oil. Research shows that high consumption of trans fat can more than double your risk of heart attack.
Even processed foods that are free of trans fats aren’t good for you—they’ve still been altered and they still contain a number of undesirable chemicals. I recommend that you stick to foods that are in their natural state as much as possible. If you are going to by a snack food, look for one with ingredients you recognize.
Your Body Needs Fats
I just covered the importance of healthy fats in a recent issue, but because we’re talking about diet and heart health, I want to touch on this again briefly. Your body uses fat in a number of important processes and it needs fat to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy.
Limit your fat to about 30 percent of your total calories. Choose a variety of fats so that you get some saturated, some polyunsaturated and some monounsaturated fats each day. This will ensure your body gets a full range of fat-based nutrients.
Protein Builds Strong Muscles
Your body depends on protein to build strong muscles. Your heart is a muscle, so it follows that you need good lean protein to build a strong heart. In fact, one study of women and heart disease found that women with the highest protein intake lowered their heart disease risk by 26 percent.
The key is to choose lean, natural sources of protein. Grass-fed beef, bison, free-range eggs, and wild Alaskan salmon are my favorites. Check out these websites for finding some of these wonderful products…….
Give Refined Grains and Sugars a Pass
Refined grains and sugars create a spike in your blood sugar. That leads to a spike in your insulin levels. If you eat refined grains and sugars regularly, you put your blood sugar and insulin levels on a roller coaster ride that will lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.
One study found that raising your sugar from 60 grams a day to 110 grams a day will raise your heart attack risk by five times. A single teaspoon of sugar contains 4 grams. And average organic, all natural cookie contains 5 grams. Just imagine how much you get in a single day.
Your diet is one of the biggest determining factors in your heart’s health. Take these four simple steps to begin protecting your heart today.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News