(NaturalNews) Heart disease is America's number one killer, and it's getting more expensive. According to a new study in the journal Circulation, the cost to treat heart disease in America will triple over the next 20 years . Between now and 2030, the annual cost will rise from $273 billion dollars to $818 billion.
Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association (AHA), stated that "Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans," and the study panel recommended that preventive strategies be put in place to help ease the coming economic burden.
What is the AHA's advice for cardiovascular disease prevention? They offer some good advice, such as reducing stress, quitting smoking, losing weight, and staying active . Unfortunately, they also continue to promote low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-grain nutrition -- a dietary strategy that has, in general, proved useless at preventing heart disease .
What does a truly effective prevention program look like? It starts with living and eating like a physiologically normal human being, which is to say that we should be eating the foods we are made to eat and getting the nutrients that are necessary to be healthy.
Here are some simple and effective steps that you can take right now to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease:
1) Eliminate refined and processed foods. These foods are often filled with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and refined carbohydrates. Instead, choose a wide variety of natural foods that your body is made for. Vegetables, nuts, wild game, fish, olive oil, and berries are all wonderful choices to incorporate into a healthy diet.
2) Eliminate wheat and cornstarch. Along with refined carbs , modern wheat tends to cause extraordinarily high blood sugar, which can lead to an explosion of small (atherogenic) LDL particles and increased endogenous glycation. Due to excessive and deliberate genetic tampering, such as introgressive hybridization, today's wheat is best avoided, along with all other foods that excessively elevate blood glucose levels.
3) Optimize vitamin D levels. Vitamin D plays a tremendously important role in cardiovascular health. It stabilizes plaque growth, increases HDL, minimizes inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and much more. (For further information on vitamin D, please see: http://www.naturalnews.com/027345_Vitamin_D_...)
4) Increase omega-3 fatty-acids. Getting plenty of EPA and DHA (the primary fatty acids in fish oil that account for its beneficial effects) is vital to a healthy heart. Fish oil reduces triglycerides, inflammation, fibrinogen, and small LDL. It can also boost HDL and contribute to plaque stabilization. A daily dose of 1,800-3,000 mg of EPA/DHA is often widely beneficial.
5) Introduce flavonoids into your diet. Flavonoids are polyphenol antioxidants that are present in a wide variety of common foods like red wine, tea, walnuts, cranberries, and chocolate. One specific class of flavonoids, anthocyanins, appears to have profoundly positive implications for cardiovascular disease and is present in many of the purple, blue, and red foods -- particularly berries and red wine. Anthocyanins and other flavonoids have been shown to be beneficial in (among other things) reducing oxidized LDL, raising HDL, and reducing blood pressure . Even small amounts of dark chocolate daily have proved to have beneficial effects on blood pressure (http://www.naturalnews.com/029166_chocolate_...).
6) Normalize thyroid function. Many Americans are deficient in iodine due to a lack of this important element in the food supply. Iodine is an antioxidant and decreases blood viscosity, but most importantly, it guards against hypothyroidism, which in turn could decrease LDL, improve endothelial function, lower blood pressure, and reduce lipoprotein(a).
David Rostollan holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Health and a doctorate in Naturopathy. He currently works as a professional health and nutrition consultant. His primary interests include heart disease prevention, chronic illness support, and diet and lifestyle coaching. He can be reached through www.reforminghealth.com