Eating a Diet Rich in These Types of Foods Could Cut Your Risk for Heart Attack By Nearly a Third!

3 Mar

I’m going to tell you something very important that you should already know. Then, I am going to tell you something just as important you probably do not know. The combination of these two things could save you from developing heart disease as well as suffering a stroke!

First, here’s what you SHOULD already know…

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is a major factor in preventing the #1 cause of death worldwide: heart disease. In fact, eating more fruits and vegetables is #2 on the Mayo Clinic’s list of “Heart-Healthy Diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease.”

According to experts from the Harvard University School of Public Health, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check…”

For 14 years, Harvard researchers followed 110,000 men and women as part of the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They found compelling evidence that a fruit and vegetable-rich diet can lower an individual’s risk for heart attack and stroke.

Here’s what they wrote: “The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.”

The research team went on to speculate that even though all fruits and vegetables may offer some heart-healthy benefits, the produce with the most impact may have been “…green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices)…”

When they reviewed other long-term studies that looked at diet and subsequent cardiovascular disease risk, they observed similar results: “Individuals who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had roughly a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, compared with individuals who ate less than 3 servings per day.”

Not only is eating lots of fruits and veggies good for your heart but other research has shown a produce-rich diet can lower blood pressure, decrease cancer risk, and even lower the chances for developing type 2 diabetes.

Those are all things you should know, but it’s always great to read a little reminder about just how great fruits and vegetables are for you. Many times we need these little reminders to get us back on track!

Here’s Something You May Not Know…

As mentioned earlier in this article, heart disease is the world’s #1 killer. Stroke is also high on the list, but thanks to improvements in medicine and healthier lifestyles, stroke is on the decline among seniors. It recently dropped from the #4 most common cause of death among the elderly to #5. That’s the good news. Now for the bad news…

Stroke is quickly become a problem among younger adults in the United States. For Americans under age 44, the risk of first-time stroke has been on the rise since at least the mid-1990s.

A large-scale study called the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Study has followed an estimated 1.3 million adults for several decades. Among those of European descent aged 20-54, the risk of first-time stroke increased from 26 per 100,000 adults in 1994 to 48 per 100,000 adults in 2005. For those of African descent, the risk jumped from 83 per 100,000 in 1994 to 128 per 100,000 in 2005. Nowadays, nearly one-third of first-time strokes are experienced by middle-aged and younger adults, not the elderly!

For experts like Dr. Brett Kissela of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, the reasons behind this dramatic increase in stroke among younger adults are pretty clear: Today’s Americans are more likely to be overweight/obese, diabetic, and hypertensive at a younger age than their parents’ generation.

In fact, when researchers looked at study participants who did have a stroke, they found those patients were more likely than the general population to be overweight, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, and smoke.

The good news is that this means most strokes can be prevented by paying early attention to risk factors. Eating a healthy diet (including lots of fruits and vegetables), getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, and not smoking are all things you can start doing right now to not only lower your risk for a heart attack but also a stroke and several other preventable causes of death and disability.

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

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