Most people already have heart disease – they just don’t realise it. Heart disease is a condition that begins in adolescents in western countries and then ends later in life, usually after the age of forty, with a heart attack.
The popular media rarely talks about heart disease. But it remains our leading killer. It’s the biggest reason people die.
Researchers used to think that heart disease was just something that developed as people got older. But when they opened up the arteries of young Korean War casualties, they found that they had telltale plaque stains on the inside. These were the precursors to full-blown plaques.
Over time, it became clear that heart disease was a lifelong disease among people living western lifestyles. In some cases, even children could develop plaques.
The Western experience, though, was different from other cultures. Where lifestyles were traditional, heart disease appeared to be virtually absent. Missionary doctors working in Africa and China in the early 20th century struggled to find a single case of the disease.
These observations triggered further studies trying to find out what causes heart disease, and what prevents it. That’s what we explore in this post. Here are some of the things that you can do to keep your heart healthy.
Keep Your Weight Down
Keeping your weight down is the first step to having a healthy heart. Low bodyweight people tend to have far healthier cardiovascular systems than those whose body weights are elevated.
To keep your weight down, center your diet around whole foods. These will activate your natural satiety mechanisms, making you feel fuller for longer.
Smoking increases your risk of heart disease. This is something that researchers have known since the 1980s.
Pay Special Attention To Your Diet
Researchers know from population-level studies that eating a traditional diet is highly protective against heart disease, according to https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/prevention.htm. Eating foods as they come out of the ground appears to be highly protective against heart disease long-term. It’s not necessarily about eating low fat. Instead, it’s about eating the best plant-based foods that you can find.
Traditionally, populations ate whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and a small quantity of wild animal protein. They also didn’t have access to significant quantities of sugar, refined flours, farm-reared meat, or oils. Focusing your diet on the former and avoiding the latter typically leads to profound improvements in heart health.
Get A Checkup
Sites such as dralasady.com.au list some of the heart health checkups that you can have to find out whether you have active disease. These include things like electrocardiograms and exercise stress tests.
These tests are often early warning signs that something is wrong. They’re a sign that you need to change your lifestyle.
Take Some Exercise
Exercise won’t protect you against heart disease if you eat a bad diet. But it can make your cardiovascular system stronger if you eat well overall. Being physically active for around 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity can be enough to begin to experience the benefits. Try to find an activity that you love.