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Are Cholesterol and Saturated Fat to Blame for Heart Disease?

Fitday Editor
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More than 61 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease and it is the top cause of death in this country every year. Most people consider high dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fat as the prime culprits in causing these diseases. Foods with high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat are criticized for causing weight gain and high blood fat, which are contributing factors for atherosclerosis and heart attacks. However, though restricted circulation and blood vessel damage do put you in danger of heart problems, they are not the only factor for concern. Genetics, dietary nutrition, alcohol and tobacco use and exercise should all be considered for prevention and treatment of heart diseases.

Genetics and Heart Disease

Some people can eat red meat everyday and still have optimum cardiovascular function, and others can avoid it like the plague but still have heart problems. The reason for this unfairness is heredity. There are a number of genes in your DNA that dictate your likelihood for heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. If you have a family history of heart problems or diabetes, you will also be predisposed to them. Congenital birth defects can also raise your susceptibility for myocardial infarction and heart failure. If you are born with a higher potential for these diseases, you will have to be extra careful about dietary nutrition and exercise to make up for your disadvantage.

Healthy Nutrition for Your Heart

Dietary nutrition can significantly influence your potential for heart disease. To minimize your risk, you should also keep a low-sodium high-potassium diet. Sodium can raise your blood pressure and harden your blood vessels. Reducing sodium and increasing potassium intake can effectively keep your blood pressure within the normal range.

You should also focus on nutrients that can inhibit cholesterol from getting into your blood stream and those that can aide its removal. Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish like salmon or tuna are a "must take" if you belong to a high risk group. Fish oil is renounced for reducing total blood fat, especially the plaque-forming low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides. Fish oil also increases your high density lipoproteins (HDL), which removes plaques and defends your blood vessels from plaque-induced inflammations. The American Heart Association has approved omega-3 fish oil for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, you should also take extra niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. These vitamins are all highly effective in blood pressure and cholesterol control. ating a variety of vegetables and fruits is also conducive to heart health. They contain high levels of phyto-antioxidants to protect your heart and strengthen your immunity.

Don't smoke or drink too much alcohol. These are extremely toxic to your heart and body.

There is one final thing to remember for great heart health. Exercise! Keep your body moving and enjoy a happy and healthy life.

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