Prevent Heart Disease!

Atherosclerosis often starts in childhood, 20 years before a formal diagnosis. Vascular physiologist Michael Skilton, Ph.D., with the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise, and Eating Disorders, suspects it starts in utero, based on the effect parents’ dietary choices have on the development of endothelial function, or development of cells that line the arteries.

Eat smarter people including the increased intake of whole grains, fiber, fruits, veggies, seeds, beans (legumes), nuts, and water. And of course eliminate or reduce foods that destruct like soda, fast foods, enriched foods, alcohol, saturated fats and cholesterol infused foods.

According to the American Society of Nutrition, 97 percent of adults fall short on recommended dietary fiber intake, a nutrient only found in plants, with adults and teens consuming roughly half of the government’s recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.5 Only 13 percent of adults consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit, and just 9 percent eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day. Our nation’s dietary patterns help illustrate why one-third of adults have elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure, and why two-thirds struggle with excess weight, three leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that a plant-based dietary intervention is even more effective than today’s leading medications to treat and prevent heart disease, thanks to a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals and a reduced intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. About half of Americans, even those who maintain a healthful weight, still have at least one modifiable risk factor, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, for chronic disease. Integrating diet and other lifestyle changes—exercise, maintaining a healthful weight, avoiding tobacco, and limiting alcohol consumption—leaves consumers with only desirable side effects and can prevent around 80 percent of all premature heart disease cases.

It’s never too late to start: Studies show heart-attack survivors who adopt a high-fiber diet reduce the risk of a recurrence by about 40 percent, compared to survivors who make no dietary changes.

Full story: http://www.pcrm.org/health/heart/treat-and-prevent-atherosclerosis