Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) or heart disease is a very common and serious disease in Australia with about 3.5 million people reporting having the condition in 2007-08. Despite significant advances in the treatment of CVD and for some of its risk factors, it remains the cause of more deaths than any other disease – about 50,000 in 2008 (34% of all deaths) – and the most expensive, costing about $5.9 billion in 2004-05. Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian nearly every 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the first sign of having heart disease is usually death itself.

Food is directly involved in many of the risk factors for coronary heart disease. Paying attention to what you eat is one of the most important preventive measures you can take. The Vitamix allows you to gain access to the daily nutrition you require found in whole foods and helps lower the risks associated with heart disease.

Foods that help prevent heart disease:

There is no ‘magic food to decrease the risk of developing heart disease. You need to eat a healthy diet and have plenty of exercise. High salt diets increase blood pressure and risk of heart attack and stroke. Most of us consume more than ten times the amount of salt we need to meet our sodium requirements (salt contains sodium and chloride). However there is evidence that plant foods – especially fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, legumes and nuts – decrease the risk of heart disease.

The foods that best protect against heart disease include:

Fruit and Vegetables – antioxidants in fruit and vegetables offer protection against heart disease. Fruit and vegetables are also important sources of folate, which helps lower the blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which appears to be linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Fibre – wholegrain cereals and fruit and vegetables.

Garlic – a compound in fresh garlic called allicin has been found in studies to lower blood cholesterol.

Oily Fish – such as mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon which contain omega 3 fatty acids. This type of fat has been shown to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL-cholesterol levels which improves blood vessel elasticity and thins the blood, making it less likely to clot and block blood flow. Chia seeds are the highest level of Omega 3 fatty acids content food in the world and are easily blended in your Vitamix Smoothies.

Nuts and Seeds – Raw nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals, and other antioxidants that protect the fragile freshness of the fats therein; they also contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol. And because nuts and seeds supply certain fibres, phytochemicals, phytosterols, and bioactive nutrients not found in other foods (such as polyphenols and arginine), they have other beneficial effects that prevent blood vessel inflammation

Foods containing Vitamin E – some studies indicate that vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect against ‘bad’ cholesterol. Good sources of vitamin E include avocados, dark green vegetables, vegetable oils and wholegrain products. It is better to eat foods containi7ng vitamin E rather than take supplements, which do not have the same protective effects.

For more information visit the Australian Heat Foundation: www.heartfoundation.org.au