We all want to live a long life, but did you know that making these simple changes to your diet has been proven scientifically to prevent and in some cases reverse the #1 cause of death in the modern world?
Statistically, atherosclerosis (the progressive clogging of the arteries) is a complex process, involving autoimmunity, infection, dietary incompatibilities, and many known and unknown factors, it is – despite conventional medical opinion – entirely preventable, and in some cases reversible. In this physician’s humble opinion, atherosclerosis is also NOT simply caused by high cholesterol. Cholesterol gets a bum rap from the medical community. It is blamed for everything from heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, to general poor health. But cholesterol is important to glandular production of hormones, metabolism and even in protecting you from aneurysms when your arterial walls become weakened.
Here is the peer-reviewed, published research proving the fact:
- Get the sugar out of your diet! I’m not talking about natural sugars from fruits, but added, processed sugars from packaged and processed foods (breads, pastas, cereals, crackers) and from sugary drinks and candies and pastries. It’s sugar that damages your arteries, by causing inflammation, increased permeability, and thinning of the muscular walls. It is sugar that also raises triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Chronic high sugar consumption causes inflammation. The inflammation signals the body to produce more cholesterol as a preventive measure to (1) be ready to patch artery walls that become damaged as a result and (2) convert to hormones (such as insulin) to help deal with circulating high sugar levels. That’s putting it all very simply, but essentially that’s what’s happening.
- B Vitamins – yes, something as simple as adding a source of B-complex to your regimen can prevent the juggernaut of heart disease from taking your life prematurely. A doubled-blind, randomized study, published in 2005, in the journal Atherosclerosis found that a simple intervention using 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg Vitamin B6, and 0.5mg Vitamin B12 for 1 year, resulted in significant reductions in arterial thickness (as measured by intima media thickness). Even niacin or folic acid alone has been show to have this effect in patients. [Note: Always opt for natural sources of the B-group vitamins, including probiotic supplementation (which produce the entire complement for you), or a whole food extract, versus synthetic or semi-synthetic vitamins which, sadly, predominate on the market today].
- Garlic – as we have documented extensively previously, garlic can save your life. It has been found to regress plaque buildup in the arteries, among many other potentially life-saving health benefits.
- Fermented Cabbage & other fermented foods – Kimchi, a Korean recipe, which includes fermented cabbage, hot pepper, and various other ingredients, including fermented fish, appears to stall the atherosclerotic process in the animal model. Additionally, strains of good bacteria in kimchi have been found capable of degrading toxic chemicals that can additional bodily harm. Additionally, fermented foods or even apple cider vinegar can assist with digestion. After all, proper digestion is the key to ALL good health.
- L-Arginine: This amino acid is capable of preventing arterial thickening – up to 24% reduction! — in the animal model. We have done an extensive literature review on arginine supplementation and have found that in over 30 studies demonstrating this fact addition to 150 known health benefits, it is capable of addressing the underlying dysfunction associated with cardiovascular disease: endothelial dysfunction, with no less than 20 studies proving this fact.
- Turmeric (curcumin): the primary polyphenol in the Indian spice turmeric known as curcumin has been found to be an excellent cardioprotective, with over 30 studies demonstrating this fact. One study found that curcumin prevented damage to the arteries associated with blockage (neointima formation). I carry 2 very excellent Curcumin products in my office, both of which help fight inflammation and can reduce arterial, gut and joint inflammtion.
- Sesame Seed: probably one of the most underappreciated super foods on the planet, sesame seed, which we have shown is as effective as Tylenol for arthritic pain, may be an excellent cardioprotective substance, ideally suited for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One animal study found it was capable of preventing atherosclerosis lesion formation.
This is a small sample of evidence-based natural interventions for cardiovascular disease prevention and/or regression. We have a much larger set of studies on over 200 natural substances capable of reducing the risk of heart attack and related heart disease related conditions.
Remember, heart disease is not a natural process of aging and we must not accept it as an inevitably based on family history of an outdated gene-based model of human disease risk. Our daily decisions, especially regarding what we decide we are going to eat or do not eat, are first and foremost influencers of disease. We can use food as medicine, sloughing off the pharmaceutical industry meme that we need statins to stave off the ‘inevitable.’ Or, we can take back control of your health with nutrition, and realize that food is the only medicine that will both nourish us and heal our bodies in a way that will produce lasting health.