Heart & Cholesteral
VOL II, ED. IV
3 Mistakes People Over 50 Make with Heart Health
Learn how you could unknowingly be putting your heart in grave danger.
(Melbourne) - Most people know that heart disease is one of the biggest killers in Australia. It is responsible for one death every 12 minutes.
Most people also know that the risks increase as you get older.
But most people heading into their 50s and beyond have no idea that the very things they could be doing to decrease their chance of heart disease could be the very things causing it.
That’s why I’ve written this article, to walk you through the three mistakes you could be making with your heart health.
Just a few minutes from now, you’ll know whether you could be jeopardising the health of your heart.
You’ll probably be quite surprised by what you are about to discover. But importantly, it will show you how to take control of your heart health, instead of it having control over you.
You are about to learn:
- How you can triumph over your genetics, even if you have a long history of heart disease in your extended family
- That the food you use to fuel your body can have a much more significant effect than your health practitioner is telling you…
- About just how your doctor benefits from keeping you scared and sick
- That maybe the advice your grandma was giving you was right, after all.
Mistake No. 1: dismissing the effect of diet on heart health.
We live in a society that loves to blame everything on genetics. We blame weight on genetics; we blame cancer on genetics; we blame our baldness or grey hairs on genetics.
We also blame heart disease on genetics.
Part of the reason for this comes from truth. Our genetics make it more likely that our bodies will have similar strengths and weaknesses as our parents or grandparents did. There’s no denying that.
But this completely ignores the power of epigenetics.
Epigenetics is a field of science that looks at how people can change the expression of their genes through a range of factors such as lifestyle and diet.
It doesn’t change your genetic code (i.e. your DNA will remain the same) but it can change what parts of your DNA are expressed.
It’s a bit like this…
Say that your Grandpa Jack and Grandma Pearl both died of a heart attack when they were in their late 40s. Then your mum and dad were dealt the same fate.
You have two choices.
You could say, “Well, it seems like there’s no escaping my genetics, so I might as well enjoy life”. So every night, you stuff yourself with pizza, cheeseburgers, ice cream, chocolate and soft drinks. After all, regardless of what you do, you are going to end up having a heart attack, right?
Your other choice is to say, “Two generations of my family have died of a heart attack, so I need to do everything in my power to lessen my chances of it happening to me”. You hit the gym regularly, get physically fit, and reach a healthy weight. You learn about what kinds of food will help your heart to stay healthy, and which will increase your chances of heart disease. You fuel your body with the foods that are good for your heart and avoid those that aren’t.
Through making the second choice, you still have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, but you lower your chances. You may need to monitor your blood pressure, but it may not spiral out of control. You may not end up with high cholesterol or fatty deposits in your arteries.
Many people discount the effect of lifestyle on their heart health, but it plays a HUGE part in whether you become a heart disease statistic, or merely someone who is genetically more likely to suffer from it.
A quick word on diet…
There is so much conflicting information out there about the best diet for heart health. However, numerous thorough studies have shown the same thing: populations that eat a predominantly whole-foods, plant-based (i.e. vegan) diet suffer one hundred times fewer heart attacks than Americans of the same age.
So, the truth is, YOU CAN control your destiny. Don’t resign yourself to the same fate as your ancestors. Through exercise and diet, YOUR FUTURE is in YOUR HANDS!
Mistake No. 2: putting your faith in pharmaceutical drugs.
If you go to the doctors with elevated blood pressure of high cholesterol, the chances are that you will be pressured into taking blood pressure medication or statin drugs.
The problem with these is that they are simply a band-aid ‘solution’, masking the symptoms of your problem, rather than getting to the root of the problem itself.
As a society, we have an over-confidence in these drugs to almost magically reverse all the damage our body has endured over the years as a result of lifestyle choices. Many people think these drugs are far more effective than they actually are. Many use them almost as an insurance policy against the bad lifestyle choices they make on a daily basis.
In reality, the benefit of blood pressure and cholesterol drugs on cardiovascular health is shown to be less than 5% over five years! I bet your doctor hasn’t told you that!
Yet, if your body is increasing its blood pressure or producing high levels of cholesterol, one thing is certain: it is doing this for a reason. If you interfere with this, you could be damaging your body in other ways, without even knowing it.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska, found that up to 33% of patients prescribed statins report adverse effects, including liver, muscle and kidney dysfunctions; skin problems; abdominal pain; nausea, constipation; dizziness; flushing; neurological disorders and cognitive impairment.
On the other hand, diet and lifestyle changes made to manage heart disease produced little to no adverse effects.
So an excessive trust in the power of pharmaceutical drugs which actually do very little to protect your heart health could be causing damage long term.
Mistake No. 3: forgetting the powerful healing effects of nature.
Before the invention of modern pharmaceutical drugs to treat heart disease, people commonly made use of natural remedies to look after their heart. Your grandparents or great-grandparents may have sworn by these methods to keep themselves healthy. In fact, some populations of the world continue to use these methods.
There are a few herbs that you will no doubt be familiar with. Yet, you may not be aware of their power in keeping your heart healthy.
Herb #1: dissolves plaque from the arterial walls.
The first, and possibly best, herb for your heart is one you probably have in your pantry right now. In fact, you may have even eaten it in your dinner last night. That’s right—I’m talking about garlic.
Garlic and its active ingredient, allicin, has been greatly studied for its ability to improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. A number of research papers have concluded that garlic is effective in treating both atherosclerosis and hypertension.
The populations in the Mediterranean have been including garlic as a major feature in their diet for centuries. These people have a far lower incidence of health conditions such as cancers and heart disease than those eating a Western diet. It is thought that garlic is a large part of the reason for this.
Studies have shown that garlic is able to thin the blood effectively and reduce incidents of clotting which can lead to strokes. Garlic has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and prevent the veins and arteries from clogging.
Herb #2: promotes circulation
Another herb which is highly important in establishing good heart health is also one you may just have in your kitchen…that herb is ginger.
Ginger aids in blood circulation around the body, helping your circulatory system as well as helping the body to expel toxins more effectively.
Ginger contains an active ingredient called gingerol. Like garlic, gingerol is thought to prevent the blood clotting which can lead to strokes.
A recent Chinese study on this herb found that it has “a potential preventative property against some chronic diseases, especially hypertension and coronary heart disease…”
Herb #3: expands the arterial walls
Our third herb for heart health is used widely in traditional Asian diets—diets which have been linked to lower incidents of heart disease.
That herb is cayenne.
Cayenne includes a range of peppers, including jalapeños, habanero, and bell peppers, just to name a few that you may be familiar with.
Cayenne’s active ingredient is capsaicin. That’s what gives this herb its hot, spicy flavour.
Cayenne also increases blood circulation to the body’s veins, arteries and capillaries. It has been shown to restore their elasticity. This, in turn, can help to lower blood pressure.
Research has proven cayenne’s ability to lower cholesterol. It has been shown to reduce its accumulation in the body, increasing its breakdown and excretion in the faeces.
Herb #4: Super blood cleanser
I’m guessing this next herb is one that you can’t find in your kitchen cupboards. Believe it or not, it may be growing in your lawn instead!
Red Clover is the herb I’m talking about.
Though definitely not as widely known or widely used as garlic, ginger or cayenne, red clover has been used for centuries for its cleansing properties.
Many herbalists consider red clover to be the best blood cleansing herb in the world. It gradually eliminates waste from the body, without overloading the elimination organs.
One of its main uses is for cleaning impurities from the blood. In doing so, it can improve the overall health of the circulatory system.
Here's the good news:
The great thing about these herbs is that they have been used for thousands of years by people all around the world.
While in many cases, they have primarily been used to flavour dishes, at the same time, they have improved the cardiovascular health of those who have consumed them.
Even better, they have done this without the litany of side-effects that are regularly reported by users of blood pressure medication and statin drugs.
So, let’s get started…
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