There are many risk factors for heart disease. One factor is having a history of heart disease in the family. I have a history of heart disease in my family as my mother passed away from a sudden heart attack. It is in my best interest, and in the interest of anyone at risk for heart disease, to learn ways to maintain a healthy heart. Research shows that lifestyle changes can halt the process of heart disease, help to open clogged arteries, and even reverse heart disease.
Understanding the Aging Heart
As people age, their arteries become less flexible causing increased blood pressure. The heart, to adjust to increased blood pressure, pumps harder changing the timing of the valves. Such adjustments leave the aging heart more vulnerable. The aging heart can be better protected with exercise and control of blood pressure and cholesterol.
Maintaining a Healthy Heart and Reversing Heart Disease
Doctors have always maintained that exercise and a healthy diet can maintain a healthy heart. The research is ground-breaking, however, as it proves that healthy lifestyle changes can actually reverse heart disease, as well.
Dr. Ornish claims that his is the first clinical trial to show that heart disease can be reversed. Ornish’s program, initially conducted out of the University of California, involves a demanding regimen of regular exercise, a strict, nearly vegetarian diet, yoga, meditation, and stress control. His program also advocates weekly social support groups. The Ornish diet reduces fat intake to 10% of total calories and cholesterol to 5 mg a day. The Ornish program is now available to qualified candidates nation-wide.
The acclaimed Dr. Oz of the television program, The Dr. Oz Show, is an advocate of heart healthy programs, as well. He advocates such programs as the Ornish diet for reversing heart disease. Dr. Oz also claims that it is possible to reverse heart disease in a mere 28 days. He asserts that individuals who have heart disease, but aren’t in need of emergency surgery, can reverse their heart disease by eliminating the behaviors that have contributed to the disease, and by adopting new healthy habits.
The plan for reversing heart disease in 28 day asserts that it’s necessary to first get the plaque out of the arteries. This can be done by trimming fat from the diet. In such a diet, only 10% of the diet should come from fat, 15-20% from protein, and 70-75% from complex carbohydrates.
The 28-day heart disease reversal program calls for a one month food plan that includes a breakfast of oatmeal with dried cranberries, and four ounces of vegetable or fruit juice. A mid-morning snack of a banana, a granola bar, and one cup of green tea is advocated, as well. Lunch may include such foods as stir-fried vegetables with low-sodium teriyaki sauce on brown rice and a green salad topped with chickpeas, beans and fat-free raspberry dressing, and one whole wheat roll. A suggested typical dinner may include tacos made with black beans, brown rice, fat-free sour cream, fat-free cheese and salsa served on corn tortillas. Any snack at night should consist of an assortment of raw vegetables. Such veggies dipped in hummus are even more appetizing and even healthier.
To reduce inflammation of the artery walls, exercise is necessary in the 28 day heart disease reversal regimen.. Exercise strips the artery walls of irritants that can cause ruptures of the artery walls. Thirty minutes of daily exercise is recommended.
To reverse heart disease it is necessary to stop heart spasms and make the arteries more elastic. This can be accomplished in the 28 day program for reversal of heart disease by reducing stressors and by practicing meditation and yoga. Calm can actually relax the arteries and reduce the build-up of blockage.
Whether it is Dr. Ornish’s program or Dr. Oz’s 28 day program for reversing heart disease, program participants must have the love and support from family and friends. Such love and support are powerful factors in reversing heart disease.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.
Picture credit: Walter Groesel