A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart becomes blocked. This is often the result of plaque build-up inside your arteries (atherosclerosis), which may rupture and form a blood clot that blocks blood flow. If the blockage isn’t cleared quickly, a portion of your heart muscle will begin to die and be replaced with scar tissue, which can cause severe problems in the future.
5 Lifestyle Changes Could Prevent 80 Percent of Heart Attacks
It’s remarkable that heart attacks are so common and cause so much pain (emotional and physical) and disability when they are nearly always preventable. You’re probably already aware that your lifestyle plays a role in your risk of heart disease (and heart attacks), but perhaps you’ve not yet taken it to heart…
“It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks… What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped due to these factors.”
Unfortunately, most people are not using lifestyle habits to their advantage. The featured study involved men aged 45 to 79… and only 1 percent of them engaged in all five of the “low-risk” behaviors that could prevent a heart attack.
So what are the five healthy lifestyle habits?
- A healthy diet
- Being physically active (walking/bicycling ≥40 min/day and exercising ≥1 h/week)
- Healthy waist circumference (waist circumference <95 cm or 37.4 inches)
- Moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day)
- No smoking
What Is a Healthy Diet for Your Heart?
Most of the heart-healthy lifestyle habits are self-explanatory, but the term “healthy diet” is ambiguous… and when it comes to heart health, it is probably not what you think. Contrary to popular belief, refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods are the real enemy—not the saturated fats found in foods such as butter, lard, or eggs.
Part of the confusion on fats revolves around its impact on LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. According to the conventional view, high LDL is correlated with heart disease, and saturated fat does tend to raise LDL. However, we now understand that there are TWO kinds of LDL cholesterol particles:
Small, dense LDL cholesterol
Large, “fluffy” LDL cholesterol
The latter is not “bad” at all. Research has confirmed that large LDL particles do not contribute to heart disease. The small, dense LDL particles, however, do contribute to the build-up of plaque in your arteries, and trans fat increases small, dense LDL. Saturated fat, on the other hand, increases large, fluffy—and benign—LDL.
To lower your heart disease risk, you need to adhere to the following suggestions, which are explained in detail in my nutrition plan. Avoid sugar, processed fructose, and grains. This effectively means you must avoid most processed foods
Eat a healthy diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
- Large amounts of vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, -pastured animals)
- High-quality healthy fat (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources).
Avocados Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk Raw dairy Organic pastured egg yolks
Coconuts andcoconut oil Unheated organic nut oils Raw nuts, such as almonds, pecans, macadamia, and seeds Grass-fed meats
Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly.You can do this by avoiding most vegetable oils and increasing your intake of small wild-caught oily fish (sardines and anchovies) or taking a high-quality krill oil supplement.
Should You Eat More Fruit for Your Heart?
Eating an apple a day might help prevent cardiovascular-related deaths in those over 50 to a similar degree as using a daily statin.
I would caution against eating too much fruit,such as organic apples, blueberries, or cherries – can certainly be beneficial when eaten in moderation. Fruit contains varying levels of fructose, and you will want to avoid over-consuming fructose to protect your heart.
A Warning About Beta-Blockers and Scientific Misconduct
Beta-blockers are drugs commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. They work primarily by blocking the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to beta receptors, thereby dilating blood vessels, which reduces your heart rate and blood pressure. Until recently, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recommended using beta-blockers in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. Earlier this year, however, researchers calculated that this guideline, which they found was based on “questionable and probably fraudulent research,” may have caused up to 800,000 deaths over five years in Europe alone.
Avoid Becoming Another Heart Attack Statistic
There are many strategies that can protect your heart and virtually eliminate your risk of heart disease. Please don’t wait until you experience heart attack symptoms to take action because the most common symptom of heart disease is sudden death, so you will be dead before you even know you have a problem. Do so now in order to prevent any long-lasting damage