Can nutrition play a role in heart health? How does nutrition affect heart disease? These are really good questions and some of the answers might really surprise you. So if you have a few minutes to spare why don’t we jump right into our article about how does nutrition affect heart disease.
Nutrition has been much maligned in recent years due to the so called advances in cholesterol lowering medications. The most prominent of these are the statins which work by blocking the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme which is needed for the body to produce cholesterol. Because of their effectiveness it is my belief that a certain amount of complacency has crept into many medical professional. After all, why worry about something as arcane as nutrition when statin medications can lower cholesterol faster than a cowboy can say gettie up.
But what if there were other factors at work that contributed to heart disease besides cholesterol. What if I told you that there were over 15 studies linking a destructive amino acid called homocysteine to heart disease, and nutrition can play an important role in eliminating this risk.
No one would argue that managing cholesterol is an important piece of the puzzle but we might be looking at a disease which attacks our bodies on multiple fronts.
In order for cholesterol deposits to form in our arteries the surface of the arterial wall must be torn, damaged, or roughed up in some way otherwise dangerous LDL cholesterol would float right by and eventually be disposed of in the form of solid waste. What the latest studies suggest is that homocysteine amino acids chew up cells in the lining of your blood vessels creating a rough pitted surface conducive to triggering blood clots, and/or plaque deposits consisting of cholesterol, dead cells, and calcium.
The question as to how does nutrition affect heart disease is central to managing these harmful amino acids. There are currently three B vitamins which have been shown to reduce the risk of damage for homocysteines. They are folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. When taken together recent research suggests they work to protect and heal the lining of the arteries, thus minimizing the damage of these hazardous homocysteine amino acids. While this may be the case, researchers have yet to prove that lowering homocysteine levels alone can actually reduce the incidence of heart disease. Nevertheless, until this risk factor can be discounted it should not be ignored. Let’s take each one of these nutrients individually and see what foods contain high quantities of these B vitamins.
*Folic acid: beans, whole grain, fortified wheat flower, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables.
*Vitamin B6: Asparagus, bananas, beans, bok choy, cauliflower, grains, tuna, turkey, mustard greens, and turnip greens.
*Vitamin B12: Fish, milk, poultry, eggs, and red meat
As you can see B12 may prove to be the most problematic for those striving for a heart healthy nutrition due to the high cholesterol content in many of the best natural sources, with fish being the exception due to its high omega 3 fatty acid content. The good news is that B12 nutritional supplements are both affordable and readily available at your local supermarket or drugstore.
What else? Certainly we have answered many of the questions surrounding how does nutrition affect heart disease. While this may be the case homocysteine management alone will not carry the day prompting many to enlist the help of a natural cholesterol reduction supplement. Natural cholesterol supplements are very safe and have been found to be an excellent tool for lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels.