You may have heard the term Cardiovascular disease (CVD) before; however, you may not know the significance. Cardiovascular disease (aka heart disease) describes the disease of the heart including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and congenital defects. Cardiovascular is the # 1 cause of death in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2019 America experienced more than 659,000 deaths from heart disease. Currently, more than 1 person dies every minute of every day throughout the entire year.
Is CVD a natural cause of death? Currently, in America the prevalence of cardiovascular disease does increase by age for both women and men; however, that does not mean that as you age you will struggle with CVD. The prevalence merely highlights the compounding effect of lifestyle; meaning if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle over a significant period your risks for CVD increase.
For most Americans raised on the standard American diet (SAD); the risks are much higher due to a few key factors: a high animal fat diet (meat, dairy, eggs, oils), a highly processed food diet, and a diet low in plant-based foods and fiber.
However, there is good news, Cardiovascular disease can be prevented, treated, and even reversed with a healthy lifestyle and behavior change. According to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, “Coronary Artery Disease is nothing more than a toothless paper tiger that need never exist and if it does exist it need never progress.”
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people should focus their attention on ideal cardiovascular health, which is, the absence of clinical indicators of CVD and the presence of these behaviors: not smoking, a healthy diet pattern, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. The health metrics people should consider include having optimal cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose without medication.
Dietary cholesterol comes from eating animal products and processed foods. Unfortunately, animal products are a staple in the standard American diet. Animal products such as meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs all contain dietary cholesterol and saturated fat.
In America, the common recommendation is to have your total cholesterol level lower than 200 mg/dL. However, according to a large body of evidence the optimal cholesterol levels should be under 150 mg/dL.
To reach and maintain a healthy cholesterol level you can start avoiding trans-fat, saturated fat and cholesterol containing foods. Shift towards focusing your diet on consuming more whole-food, plant-based fiber packed healthful foods.
To learn more about blood pressure read our Preventing & Reversing High Cholesterol click here
High blood pressure is the #1 risk factor for death in the world with more than 75 million Americans currently affected. Addressing high blood pressure is a major risk factor for many comorbidities, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, and chronic kidney disease.
The ideal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg (systolic) and less than 80 mm Hg (diastolic); however, usually the lower the better because countries around the world with exceptionally low rates of heart disease have their average blood pressure around 110/70 mm Hg.
To reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure you can avoid tobacco, limit, or avoid alcohol intake, reach, and maintain a healthy body weight, increase consumption of unprocessed plant-based foods, exercise regularly, limit or avoid animal products, and moderate intake of sodium intake.
To learn more about blood pressure read our Preventing & Reversing High Blood Pressure click here
Diabetes is alarming because of the health risks including blindness, diabetic coma, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, amputations, infectious diseases, tooth, and gum disease. Most importantly, diabetes can negatively affect your ability to live your best life and in becoming the best version of yourself.
According to the CDC, the optimal fasting blood sugar level below 99 is healthy and the optimal Hba1c (blood sugar average over 3 months) below 5.7% is healthy.
You can act now to prevent, treat better (type 1 diabetes) or reverse diabetes: avoid consumption of animal products (all meats, fish, dairy and eggs), avoid vegetable oils (all oils), eat the healthiest unprocessed foods (fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, nuts, seeds), eat lower glycemic index foods, reach, and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, and manage stress better.
To learn more about blood pressure read our Preventing & Reversing Type 2 Diabetes click here