Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Preventing Heart Disease with Optimal Nutrition

The evidence is mounting that the real solution to heart disease is eliminating all refined, processed foods, limiting the sources of free radicals in our diet and lifestyle, and increasing the amounts of antioxidant nutrients we consume.

The B Complex. If you fail to consume optimal amounts of B complex vitamins, an artery-damaging amino acid known as homocysteine can form in your blood.

Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 in particular has many mechanisms by which it prevents heart disease. B6 is necessary for normal collagen metabolism and for maintaining the integrity of the vascular wall.

Beta-Carotene. Beta-carotene is the orange-yellow pigment found in fruits and vegetables. It plays a very important role in the prevention of heart and artery disease. It is found in significant amounts in carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange peppers, apricots, and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays such a valuable role in preventing heart disease that Linus Pauling described heart disease as an early stage of scurvy. Only Vitamin C can completely prevent the oxidation of cholesterol from occurring.

Vitamin E. A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization concluded that inadequate vitamin E consumption is the single biggest risk factor for heart disease. Not only does Vitamin E keep cholesterol from sticking to artery walls, but it also lowers cholesterol levels as well.

Magnesium. Magnesium is the most important mineral for heart health. The heart uses calcium to contract and needs magnesium to relax.

Trace Minerals. Selenium and chromium are two trace minerals needed in small, regular amounts for heat disease prevention.

Nuts. There are many studies that show nuts are a valuable source of nutrients that help the body metabolize cholesterol effectively.

Fruits and Vegetables. Fresh produce, while a good source of vitamins and some minerals, may be most valuable as a source of group of nonvitamin antioxidant compounds known as bioflavonoids and polyphenols. These substances powerfully protect against cholesterol oxidation.

Spices. Foods such as capsicum (red or cayenne pepper), garlic, ginger, turmeric, and a wide variety of other species have been found to lower cholesterol, nourish the heart, thin the blood, and prevent cholesterol oxidation.

Sunlight. Some patients have seen dramatic lowering of cholesterol levels – as much as one hundred points – after only four days of sunlight treatment.
Avoid excess iron. High levels of iron in the body can promote free radicals that will in turn oxidize cholesterol.

Avoid excess Vitamin D. There is concern that excessive Vitamin D from fortified dairy and cereal products, combined with the widespread magnesium deficiency in America, may increase the rate at which plaque is laid down in arteries.

Xanthine Oxidase. This is an enzyme in cow’s milk that may cause significant damage to arteries. Commercial skim milk is free of xanthine oxidase.

Avoid sugar. Sugar raises cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin, and increases the stickiness of platelets. High insulin levels make cholesterol more likely to stick to artery walls.

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