Simple Dietary Changes To Keep Your Heart Healthy

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Submitted By Richard Adams

healthyheartIt’s been said that the human heart is the most important muscle in the body. Bearing in mind the fact that heart disease is currently the number one killer in the developed world this might not be far from the truth. The good news is that keeping your heart in good condition needn’t be rocket science.

Two of the biggest changes we can all make are to eat better and to exercise more. While they’re both important, it is arguably our diets that are most easily changed. In this guide we’ll therefore be looking at some simple and efficient changes you can make to protect your cardiovascular system…

Reduce Your Intake of Saturated Fats

One factor that virtually every cardiologist can agree on is that saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, which in turn puts you at greater risk of heart disease. Studies comparing diet with the risk of heart disease have shown that every additional 10 grams of saturated fat consumed per day leads to a 0.03mm increase in the thickness of artery walls; a well-known metric used to measure the appearance of atherosclerosis.

Luckily, not all fats are bad, and many experts believe that unsaturated fats are positively beneficial in your diet. Generally speaking most saturated fats are solid at room temperature, so to keep your heart healthy aim to reduce your consumption of fatty meat, butter, cream and cheese. Some plant oils such as coconut oil and palm oil are also high in saturated fats.

In contrast great sources of healthy unsaturated fats include oily fish, avocados and many nuts and so these should be incorporated regularly into your diet.

Increase Your Fiber Intake

Fiber doesn’t just “keep you regular” – it has also been found to help control your cholesterol levels, and in doing so to help protect you from heart problems. Scientists think that it does this by binding to cholesterol in the food that you eat, so that it is excreted rather than being absorbed into the blood.

This positive impact of fiber on heart disease has been shown time and again in rigorous scientific analysis. For example, one group of scientists followed over 300,000 people for a period of ten years, cross-referencing their intake of fiber with cardiac events. They found that consuming an additional 10 grams of fiber per day was associated with a 14% decrease in the risk of serious heart problems. Indeed, some studies have found evidence that fiber consumption has an even bigger effect on heart health than diets that are high in saturated fats.

So what fiber should you be eating? Much of the research to date has focused on wholegrains, which are known to not only be high in fat but also lead to a slow, steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, meaning more balanced blood sugar. One group of scientists, for example, found that people who consumed 2 servings of wholegrains per day were 21% less likely to suffer from heart disease than people not regularly consuming them. Other great sources of fiber include brown bread and whole meal pasta, together with a whole host of different fruits and vegetables.

At the same time, it isn’t always easy to consume enough fiber with today’s hectic lifestyles. For these individuals the easiest solution is to consider a fiber supplement. Popular options with impressive results demonstrated include psyllium husk, inulin and guar gum that can be bought in powder or tablet form.

Eat More Garlic

healthywordsCholesterol is a normal part of life, and in moderation it is crucial to our survival. Among other things, for example, cholesterol is a key component that makes up the walls of every cell in our bodies.

Problems arise either when the delicate balance between LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and HDL (“good”) cholesterol fails, or when LDL cholesterol is attacked by free radicals in the environment around us.

Experts believe that garlic plays an important role in preventing this chemical reaction that turns LDL cholesterol into OxLDL – a far more dangerous version – which can lead to atherosclerosis and, ultimately, heart disease. In doing so, garlic helps to protect our cardiovascular system.

Focus on Oily Fish

Omega 3 oils are positively associated with reduced inflammation and, as a result, a lessened chance of circulatory problems.

A study tracked almost 85,000 nurses for a period of 14 years. During this time regular questionnaires were completed on diet, while health checks recorded any cardiovascular risk. The study found that the more fish the women consumed, the lower their odds of suffering from coronary heart disease.

The impacts of dietary omega 3 oils have been borne out in numerous other experiments. One experiment provided healthy male volunteers with either 14 grams of fish oil per day or a placebo for a period of six weeks. The experts found cholesterol levels fell by an average of 22% in those participants supplementing with omega 3.

Most health experts recommend that to keep your heart healthy we should all be eating at least two portions of fish per week, with at least one of these being “oily” fish like mackerel or salmon. For people who don’t have the time or inclination to regularly cook fresh fish, studies suggest that fish oil in supplement form offers similar benefits to the heart, though these do of course omit some of the other beneficial nutrients found in whole fish.

Take Plant Sterols

Plant sterols are naturally-occurring compounds that mimic the overall shape of cholesterol in the body. As a result, plant sterols compete with cholesterol in the body, cutting down the amount of cholesterol that binds to cholesterol receptors. The impact of plant sterols can be considerable. Studies have shown, for example, that an intake of just 2 grams of sterols reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels by an average of 10%. Even better, plant sterols are regularly available in supplement form, so it is easy to top up your levels on a daily basis.

Reduce Salt Intake

healthyheartThe human body maintains a careful balance of sodium and potassium – two chemicals that we think of more commonly as “salt”. This balance is crucial as it allows your kidneys to draw excess water out of the body and dispose of it in the form of urine. Excess salt in your diet, however, upsets this balance. As the kidneys are unable to extract water efficiently the end result can be raised blood pressure (hypertension). As you might imagine, this effect can also damage the kidneys when taken to excess.

High blood pressure is known to be a factor in all sorts of unpleasant health conditions. For example, one study on the impact of high blood pressure found that it was responsible for 62% of strokes and 49% of heart disease.

At the same time, studies have looked at the impact of reducing salt intake on the risk of cardiovascular disease. One investigation involved 744 participants who reduced the salt intake by roughly 25% for a period of 18 months. Comparing those patients that had reduced their salt intake with the control group who had not, the risk of developing heart disease reduced by a quarter simply by controlling salt. In other words you want to protect your heart; it therefore makes sense to minimize your salt intake.


Keeping your heart healthy doesn’t need to be rocket science. While you should also consider including regular exercise in your weekly regime there are a host of simple dietary changes that can be made. Cut down on salt and unhealthy fats while bulking up on fiber and oily fish and you’ll be well on your way to long-term heart health. Lastly, as we have seen, supplements like plant sterols, psyllium or cod liver oil capsules can give you a little extra boost when you need it.

– This guest post was written by the expert nutritionists at Simply Supplements, who provide a wide range of different supplements including psyllium husk capsules. Click the link to learn more about fiber supplements.

Dietary Guidelines For Cardiovascular Disease

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..although from August, it has a lot of valuable information…..

saladplateMore than 400 clinicians now hold a solution to help their patients combat the early signs and advanced stages of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.

The nonprofit Physicians Committee concludes its third annual International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine (ICNM), accredited by the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWSMHS), in Washington this weekend, led by an international panel of 21 cardiovascular disease researchers.

“We’re offering a scientifically proven way to save lives and curb skyrocketing health care costs,” says conference host Neal Barnard, M.D., president and founder of the Physicians Committee and an adjunct associate professor of medicine with the GWSMHS. “A dietary intervention treats both the symptoms and root cause of heart disease, which can start in utero.”

The Dietary Guidelines for Atherosclerosis Treatment and Prevention, available at 2 p.m. EST on Aug. 1, compiles key information from panelists, including findings from the Bogalusa Heart Study from Gerald Berenson, M.D., with Tulane University’s Center for Cardiovascular Health, to the effectiveness of a plant-based dietary intervention for cardiovascular disease treatment from both Kim Williams, M.D., president of the American College of Cardiology, and Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., with the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Dr. Barnard and David Katz, M.D., with Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, break down nutrition myths that surround dietary cholesterol and saturated fat, while Leena I. Kauppila, M.D., from Terveystalo Healthcare, and Stephen L. Kopecky, M.D., with the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, discuss back pain and erectile dysfunction, two underlying symptoms of heart disease.

Physicians new to writing dietary prescriptions will have a first-hand taste of fiber-packed, cholesterol-lowering foods after sampling chia seed pudding, fresh kale and beet salads, and plant-based vegan entrées, including Thai yellow curry, quinoa sweet potato cakes, roasted tomato hummus with squash linguine and pineapple relish, and local tofu with carrots, snap peas, and bok choy.

Clinicians will leave Washington with 13 continuing medical education (CME) credits and travel-friendly workout tips from exercise physiologist Marco Borges, founder of 22 Days Nutrition, who is now as well known for his Saturday “Wake-Up Call Workout” as he is for helping top stars, like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, stay in cardiovascular shape.

Visit to download a copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Atherosclerosis Treatment and Prevention, to view speaker presentations, and to access heart-healthful nutrition tips and recipes.

CME videos of the conference’s presentations will be available later this year at

EGG-Xactly! Why Eggs Went From A Dietary No-No To A Yes-Yes

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

eggsWe’ve heard the warnings that too many eggs can cause an elevation in our cholesterol and lead to a stroke or a heart attack. It has been thought that the high cholesterol contained in the yolk would elevate blood cholesterol and thereby increase the risk of cardio vascular disease. What has come to light recently is that dietary cholesterol has very little effect on blood cholesterol in most people, but saturated and trans fats are the biggest culprits. Here are some of the worst offenders:

Hydrogenated oils – Commercially processed palm kernel and coconut oils are 93% saturated fat.

Dried Coconut – Coconut is often used in sweet confections like cakes and candy bars. Dried coconut can also be found in some Asian curries and soups.

Butter – Common in cakes, cookies, on bread, and vegetables, butter is everywhere
Animal Fats – These fats are typically used to make burgers, meatballs, sausages, gravy, or fried foods.

Milk Chocolate – A bar of milk chocolate in has 9.1 grams of saturated fat, but dark chocolate
is a nutrient and antioxidant packed food that is probably your best source of saturated fat, in moderation!

Fish Oil – Even though fish and fish oils do carry good omega 3 fats their quantity of saturated fats should not be ignored. The fish with the most saturated fats are Menhaden and Sardine.

Cheese – Hard goat cheese contains the most saturated fat followed by Cheddar, Roquefort, Fontina, Gruyere, Muenster, Monterey Jack, and Parmesan.

Nuts and Seeds – Packed with vitamins, minerals, and heart healthy fats and fibers, nuts and seeds are a great snack food, particularly if they are dry roasted, unsalted. Pilinuts are the highest, followed by Brazil nuts Macadamia nuts ,watermelon seeds, Cashews, Pine nuts and Sesame Seeds.

Processed Meats – Sausages and Pâté contain a lot of the animal fats mentioned in #4 above. Most sausages and pâtés are 15% saturated fat.

Whipped Cream – The classic topping to cakes, pies, and coffees, whipped cream is about 14% saturated fat.

eggGetting back to eggs. A study published by BMJ “found no relationship between one egg a day and heart disease or stroke.” The exception was an increase of heart disease risk for those with diabetes who consumed an egg a day in the study.

The bottom line here seems to be that saturated fats are more harmful to the body than cholesterol found in foods. Moderation is the key and we probably want to limit ourselves to the one egg-a-day regime and not two or three.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health: “You also need to pay attention to the “trimmings” that come with your eggs. To your cardiovascular system, scrambled eggs, salsa, and a whole wheat English muffin are a far different meal than scrambled eggs with cheese, sausages, home fries, and white toast.” The best way to eat an egg is to poach it, hard or soft boil it, or fry it in 1/2 teaspoon Canola oil. Skip the butter and cheese and make a one-egg omelet you top with 1-2 Tbsp guacamole or salsa and be sure to use egg whites two to one per yolk. Get the heart healthy recipe for Eggs Benedict here.

Eggs are easy, inexpensive and an excellent source of protein, vitamins A&D some B vitamins, iron, zinc and choline – a terrific food for the brain. Eggs beat pastries for breakfast 100-1 in terms of health and nutrition.

So you can have your egg and eat it too, as long as you keep to the one a day rule and keep it free of saturated fats. Yay chickens!!!!!!

– Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding. Get more information at