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Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
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Heart Healthy Herbs and Foods

Healthy eating habits can help reduce high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and overweight — three of the major risk factors for heart disease. Daily use of targeted nutrients will also help those suffering from heart disease as well as help avoid it.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has developed dietary guidelines that help lower fat and cholesterol intake and reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. The AHA does not recommend very low fat diets, because new research shows that unsaturated (“good”) fats, such as those found in olive oil, are good for your heart.

Many fad diets are popular, but they may not help you lose weight and keep it off — and in some cases, they may not even be healthy. Any healthy diet will include a variety of foods. If a diet bans an entire food group (such as carbohydrates), it’s probably not healthy.

The AHA recommends the following for healthy eating:

  • Grains: 6 – 8 servings per day (half should be whole grains)
  • Vegetables: 3 – 5 servings per day (note use of most of our MRP products assures at least double this per serving)
  • Fruits: 4 – 5 servings per day (again our MRP products make exceeding these numbers easy and affordable)
  • Fat-free or low fat dairy: 2 – 3 servings per day (This is a typical suggestion we feel needs serious consideration … see our article and posts on milk and protein sources)
  • Lean meat, poultry, seafood: 3 – 6 oz. per day (about the size of a deck of cards) (Again look at our article Top Protein Sources and related links for very current information)
  • Fats and oils: 2 – 3 tbsp. per day (use unsaturated fats such as olive oil or canola oil) (Look at our Research library … “Essential Fatty Acids”)
  • Nuts, seeds, legumes: 3 – 5 servings per week (Search this site for “beans” and “legumes”)
  • Eat whole grains (determine if you are gluten sensitive and avoid allergenic foods as they cause inflammation)
  • Avoid sugars, sweets and “dead”carbs
  • Avoid extra salts
  • Minimize alcohol and processed beverages
  • Drink plenty of pure water
  • Exercise … at least walk and stretch daily

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Style Diet concentrates on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, healthy oils, moderate wine consumption (doctors feel odd suggesting it but a glass of wine has been shown to be healthy … not because of the resveratrol content which is minimal but because it relaxes people – the stress reduction factor is the benefit – if you can relax without alcohol that is best) and exercise. The Mediterranean Style Diet is not low fat; it is low in saturated fat but high in monounsaturated fat. It appears to be heart-healthy: In a long term study of 423 patients who had a heart attack, those who followed a Mediterranean Style Diet had a 50 – 70% lower risk of recurrent heart disease compared with people who received no special dietary counseling. If you supplement the Mediterranean Diet with our advanced eating and supplement suggestions (follow all links in this article), we believe you will fair far better than even those in the study.

Herbs

Herbs should not be used in place of emergency medical attention for a heart attack, nor should they be used by themselves to lower your risk of heart attack after you’ve had one. If on medications, be careful with herbal supplements as they may not be safe in combination due to the power of many herbs. However, some can be used along with prescription medications in your treatment. If you have had a heart attack or are at high risk of having one, be sure to ask your doctor before taking any herbs.

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna, 160 – 1,800 mg per day in 2 – 3 divided doses) — Hawthorn contains the polyphenols rutin and quercetin, and was used traditionally to treat cardiovascular diseases. Animal and laboratory studies show that hawthorn has antioxidant properties that help protect against the formation of plaques and may help lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor before taking hawthorn, as it can interact with other drugs taken for heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum, 900 mg per day of garlic powder, standardized to 0.6% allicin) — Clinical trials have shown that fresh garlic and garlic supplements may lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, and destroy plaque. However, other studies show mixed evidence. In one study, people who had a previous heart attack and then took a garlic oil extract for 3 years had fewer second heart attacks and a 50% reduction in death rate than those who did not take garlic. Garlic can increase the risk of bleeding and should not be taken if you are also taking blood thinning medication.
  • Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and other flavonoids — A close relative of the cranberry, bilberry fruits contain flavonoid compounds called anthocyanidins. Flavonoids are plant pigments that have antioxidant properties, and researchers think they may help prevent a number of illnesses including heart disease and diabetes. Bilberry has been used traditionally to treat heart disease, but only animal and test tube studies have been done. Animal studies have found that anthocyanidins and other flavonoids may strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation, and prevent LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from being damaged (which may cause blood clots to form in arteries).
  • Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) – Ginseng may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, but more studies are needed to be sure. Ginseng can increase the risk of bleeding and should not be taken if you are also taking blood-thinning medication. Ginseng should not be used if you have high blood pressure unless your doctor recommends it.
  • Green tea (Camellia sinensis) – Population studies suggest that regularly drinking green tea may reduce the risk of heart attack from atherosclerosis. It also may help you lower your cholesterol and your weight, although more research is needed to know for sure.
  • Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) – Kudzu has been used traditionally to treat heart disease, including heart attack and congestive heart failure. A few studies suggest it may help relieve angina, but the studies were of poor quality. More research is needed to know whether kudzu has any benefit for heart disease.
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Other superfoods like spirulina and wheat grass.

Foods

Foods known to help keep your heart healthy include:

  • wild fish for their high omega fatty acid content (although CLICK HERE for important related information)
  • all antioxidant rich foods
  • high fiber foods that aid in healthy weight and cholesterol levels

For more information [CLICK HERE]

IMPORTANT TIP: If you want to be sure to start your day with a nutrient dense calorie light affordable superfood meal, consider one of our excellent Meal Replacement Products. They are easy, affordable and take less than one minute to prepare, take and clean up. There simply is no reason not to start everyday with a scoop or two of these amazing nutrient dense very low calorie superfood meals that help support healthy vibrant living.

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