A Heart-Healthy Diet Lowers Disease Risk

A Heart-Healthy Diet Lowers Disease Risk

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A Heart-Healthy Diet Lowers Disease Risk

St.Petersburg Times

05-10-05

To minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, one needs to eat a diet that encourages proper fat metabolism.  This will decrease the body's manufacturing of plaques in the vessels resulting from the inflammatory process that occurs during arteriosclerosis.

The best diet to discourage this process is high in fiber.  This includes grains, beans, raw fruits and vegetables.  This also means not eating high-fat meat and cheese.  Beans and fish are the best source of protein for this purpose.  Canola, peanut and olive oils are preferred to corn, mixed vegetable, soybean and palm oils.

Fiber absorbs cholesterol and bile salts, eliminating them from the bloodstream via the bowels.  Raw fruits and vegetables also encourage the right fat metabolism.  Fresh fruit and colorful vegetables cause the production of healthy fatty acids that decrease inflammation and chemical pain transmitter production.  This is evidenced by the difference between a strict vegetarian diet and that of lacto-ovo vegetarians.  The former eat no animal products; the latter eat eggs and milk products.  The former have less heart disease than the general population.

Heart disease is caused by blockage and/or hardening of the arteries, which supply the heart muscle itself.  When the arteries suffer from a chemical injury such as smoke inhalation, an inflammatory response occurs that involves calcification of plaques made up of platelets and collagen, the building blocks of connective tissue.  The wrong fats in the bloodstream contribute to the chemical injury to the blood vessels and cause the platelets to be too sticky.

Chemical injury to the blood vessels also occurs with exposure to unstable molecules called "free radicals."  These are neutralized by antioxidants such as vitamin C, bioflavinoids and vitamin A.  These are found in fruits and colorful vegetables like broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts.

Low-density lipoproteins are bad fats in the bloodstream that contribute to premature death.  Eat eight to 10 servings of raw fruit and raw or lightly cooked vegetables each day, very little refined flour, very small amounts of highly processed foods and high-fat meat products.  Use olive and peanut oils instead of corn, sunflower, safflower and mixed vegetable oils.  Flax seed and fish oils, borage oil and evening primrose oil also protect the vessels.

So, eat colorful fruits and vegetables to live a longer, more active life.

-- Editor's note: This public service information was provided by Dr. Cheryl McFarland of Better Health Chiropractic, 6166 W Gulf to Lake Highway, Crystal River.

To see more of The St. Petersburg Times, go to http://www.sptimes.com

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