Cardiovascular heart disease is a disease related to your heart and blood vessel. The 4 most common cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack. Together, they constitute the largest percentage of annual deaths, claiming more than 17 million lives every year. Maintaining a healthy diet and physical activity and disusing tobacco are all vital to the prevention of these deadly diseases. Below are 4 important guidelines you need to follow to keep your heart and blood vessels in top condition.
1. Trade Fatty Meats for Fish, Nuts, Beans and Avocados
Animal meat is very high in saturated fat and cholesterol, the intake of which can increase your blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels, especially the artery clogging low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Fish, nuts, beans and avocados are much healthier sources of fats, proteins and other essential nutrients. They are rich in good fats like monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These good fats can effectively lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol level and optimize your blood lipid so that your chances for blood vessel blockages and hemorrhages are reduced. Additionally, nuts, beans and avocados are loaded with fiber and phytosterols, which further protect you from cardiovascular diseases.
2. Maintain a Low Sodium, High Potassium Diet
High sodium intake is the number one cause of hypertension. Sodium can inhibit your body’s absorption of potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and other nutrients involved in blood pressure control. Elevated sodium intake can also cause your blood vessels to harden, making them brittle and easier to break under pressure. Adequate potassium is needed to regulate sodium excretion and water balance. Studies have shown that maintaining a low sodium and high potassium diet can significantly lower your blood pressure and reduce your risks of strokes and heart disease. To achieve these results, you need to take in less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium and more than 4.7 grams of potassium every day.
3. Maintain an Adequate Intake of Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium are also directly involved in blood pressure control. Magnesium partners calcium to allow muscles that line your blood vessels to relax, allowing the vessels to expand and blood pressure to drop. Vitamin D is required for your body to absorb and utilize calcium. It is also needed to maintain your blood vessel integrity. On average, you need to take in at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium, 400 milligrams of vitamin D and 400 milligrams of magnesium everyday to maintain proper heart health. Pregnant or lactating women, athletes and elderly people need to take additional doses of these nutrients for best protection.
4. Load up on Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are all nutritiously dense with lots of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. They are your best sources for antioxidants and phytonutrients, which are key elements in heart protection. These nutrients help prevent blood vessel inflammation, reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol. They can also balance your hormones, alleviate stress and prevent the occurrence of strokes and sudden cardiac arrest. Have at least 3 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables every day to keep your heart troubles away.