hardening of the arteries

Hardening of the Arteries Shown to be Significantly Slowed by Diet and Exercise

Saturday, August 07, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reveals that lifestyle changes -- dietary changes and the pursuit of physical exercise -- have a powerful impact on preventing hardening of the arteries in women. The study was designed to look at how much this hardening of the arteries could be slowed in women going through menopause. Normally, post-menopausal women show great increases in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, but the study showed that those who engaged in rather moderate dietary changes and pursued what I consider to be a very small amount of physical exercise were able to slow the onset of atherosclerosis by half.

This is fascinating news that shows how much power individuals have to control their own health outcome by making decisions about the foods they eat and the level of physical exercise they choose to pursue. In this study, the group that showed the benefit was asked to consume no more than 25% of their diet in fat, with no more than 7% of their diet being saturated fat. They were limited to 1300 calories per day, and engaged in at least 1000 calories of exercise each week. And yet, as small as these dietary and lifestyle changes really are, they were able to show significant positive effects on preventing the onset of atherosclerosis.

I find this news to be fascinating, because if these very minor lifestyle change can have such a positive effect on cardiovascular health, imagine how much good could be accomplished if people consumed foods and food ingredients known to actually promote cardiovascular health and reduce hardening of the arteries. Imagine even further if the study subjects engaged in a more vigorous exercise program that burned 3 or 4 thousand calories per week.

On the food side, there are a great number of things that people can do beyond merely limiting their intake of saturated fat. They can choose to consume healthy oils, such as omega-3 oils, extra-virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Both have been shown to support cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease as well as hardening of the arteries. On the more controversial side, extra-virgin coconut oil is one of my favorite healthy heart oils. Many doctors would disagree with that recommendation, because they believe that coconut oil belongs in the same category as saturated animal fats, but in fact, it is widely known by more pioneering doctors and holistic nutritionists that the saturated fat found in coconut oil is quite different than the saturated fat found in animal fats. The coconut oil fat is a medium-chain triglyceride rather than a long-chain triglyceride, and it is not so easily stored as body fat, nor does it contribute to atherosclerosis in the same way that saturated animal fat does.

There is also evidence that the viscosity of blood can be enhanced by consuming aloe vera gel. This is based on new research showing exciting results from test animals who were injected with aloe vera gel extracts. Once injected, their blood immediately acquired remarkable viscosity properties that helped oxygen diffuse more quickly from their blood to their organs. I believe that consuming aloe vera gel increases the viscosity of red blood cells, and reduces the buildup of atherosclerosis. It will be interesting to see if anybody does research on this in the years ahead. I predict the findings will not only be positive, but downright miraculous.

Another strategy that people can use to improve their cardiovascular health that wasn't pursued in this study is the complete avoidance of hydrogenated oils and homogenized milkfats. Both hydrogenated oils and homogenized milkfats are artificial fats that have been created for the convenience of food manufacturers and dairy product producers. These are artificial compounds that do not belong in the human body, and when consumed they wreak havoc with your cardiovascular health.

Hydrogenated oils can be found in most margarine products and virtually all crackers and cookies, as well as many pastries, shortening, whipped cream, and other similar products found at the grocery store. Homogenized milkfats are found in milk, of course. It's listed right on the label -- it says "homogenized milk." This is so that the milk doesn't look spoiled due to the separation of the fat. By homogenizing the milkfats, they stay in suspension and the milk looks more delicious to consumers.

There are a great many other things that people can do for cardiovascular health as well, but I think I've made the point here. If this study shows a 50% reduction in the buildup of plaque in the arteries, imagine how much this could be slowed or even halted by pursuing these other dietary strategies I've mentioned here. I believe that hardening of the arteries is not a natural event -- this is not something that just occurs automatically as you age. It occurs because of your diet and lifestyle choices, and you can not only prevent the buildup of arterial plaque, you can actually reverse plaque by altering your diet and lifestyle. And of course, even though this research was conducted on menopausal women, it applies to men as well. Following a strategy that supports cardiovascular health and prevents the hardening of the arteries works for both sexes.

It's refreshing to see this sort of research being done, because there's not a lot of research focused on trying to demonstrate the benefits of lifestyle choices. Most of the research done today is, sadly, conducted on pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs in an attempt to gain FDA approval so that they can be marketed to the public. But this study is looking at the power of making lifestyle changes, and this is where people can get far more mileage for their effort in terms of improving their health. In fact, there is no prescription drug available whatsoever that mirrors the benefits shown by the lifestyle changes in this study. If there were, it would no doubt be front page news.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health author and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he has created several downloadable courses on survival and preparedness, including his widely-downloaded course on personal safety and self-defense. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In mid 2010, Adams produced TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing website offering user-generated videos on nutrition, green living, fitness and more. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NaturalNews subscription database. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, martial arts and organic gardening. Known on the 'net as 'the Health Ranger,' Adams shares his ethics, mission statements and personal health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org

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