I just came across an article on the menshealth.com website titled “7 ways to never have a heart attack”. It’s a catchy title. Who wouldn’t want to know what those 7 ways are? So here’s my review of that article.
1. Pop a multivitamin every day
This is something I’ve been doing for many years. A lot of people, including doctors, say you don’t need to do this. The article mentions a couple of different studies that indicated taking a vitamin C supplement lowered CRP levels in the blood. CRP is C Reactive Protein, an indicator that some researchers say is a better predictor of heart disease than cholesterol. One study indicated that taking 500mg of Vitamin C for 2 months resulted in a 24 percent drop (improvement) in CRP levels. Another indicated that cherries, high in vitamin C, reduced CRP levels by 16 percent. Personally, I take a multivitamin and a separate 1000mg vitamin C pill.
2. Consume more olive oil
Olive oil is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet which is often credited with being very heart healthy. The article mentioned a study in Greece that indicated those who consumed higher amounts of olive oil had CRP levels that were 20 percent less than those who did not. Use olive oil as often as you can when cooking. Substitute it for butter when frying. It contains monounsaturated fat which is believed to be heart healthy.
3. Floss your teeth
This is one I had not heard of before. The article mentions a study in the Journal of Periodontology showing that the inflammatory effects of periodontal disease also cause inflammation in your arteries. Again we are talking about CRP (C Reactive Protein) which in this case increases to fight off bacteria. This results in inflammation in your arteries that can cause plaque build up and heart disease. So the recommendation is to floss often and keep your mouth clean. Who ever imagined that flossing can help prevent heart disease?
4. Eat a salmon burger
Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat which is heart healthy. You can also take omega 3 supplements to make up for your lack of eating enough fish and other foods with omega 3 such as sardines and tuna. Again the article mentions a study where CRP readings were 29 percent lower among those who consumed the most omega 3’s.
5. Cut the fat
Try to lose some weight and exercise more. Cut down on the number of calories you consume. This is kind of boring, but it’s a fact. It helps your heart if you are not overweight and exercise more.
6. Consume more fiber
The article mentions a study from the Journal of Nutrition that indicates CRP (C Reative Protein) levels dropped by 40 percent for those people who had the most fiber during the day. Fiber can bring down cholesterol and blood pressure. It is recommended that you eat 20 grams of fiber each day. This could consist of one apple, 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and a bowl of fiber rich cereal.
7. Lower your stress
Have fun. Do some things with friends and avoid getting depressed. If you think you have depression consult your doctor of course. Being stressed out can contribute to chronic inflammation which can cause heart disease. The article also mentions a study that suggests having a beer may lower your CRP levels.
So there you go. 7 ways to help you avoid a heart attack. This list is not bad, but it’s certainly not complete. For more information about avoiding heart disease check out my cholesterol story blog.