Millions of Americans have some form of heart disease, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack, and cardiomyopathy. Millions more are at risk of developing heart disease. Sedentary lifestyles, dangerous diet decisions, and smoking increase the risk. To avoid heart disease requires diligence and discipline. If you do not currently have any cardiovascular problems, you can make the changes necessary and never have them. See your doctor regularly, exercise regularly, do not smoke, and make better food choices. If, however, you already have some form(s) of heart disease, you MUST take positive action. Reversing heart disease is possible if the condition is discovered early enough. That is the primary reason for regular checkups. Getting regular exercise strengthens the entire circulatory system. Avoiding smoking and other destructive behavior decreases the chances of heart disease getting worse. It may not be reversible if there is enough damage, but proper diet can stop the advancement of damage to the heart. As for diet, there are foods that reverse heart disease. These foods should be a regular part of your eating plan: Blueberries- Blueberries are not only a delicious fruit. They are a "super food", very rich in vitamin C, fiber, and anthocyanins. These are the antioxidants which give blueberries their dark color. A general rule of thumb for heart-healthy fruit is: The darker the color, the better it is for you. Soy Protein- Soy is vitamin-and-mineral-rich. Regularly including soy in your diet increases fiber and lowers triglycerides. Soy is also an excellent source for polyunsaturated fats. Those are the good fats, which lower bad cholesterol (LDL). The most common form sold is tofu, which is made from soy beans. It actually has almost no flavor in itself, but takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. It can be a superior meat substitute, and a fabulous source of protein. Salmon- Salmon is a tasty fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 has been found to be very effective in breaking down LDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Salmon is versatile, and a good source of protein and vitamins. Oatmeal- Oats, in general, are also good fiber. Oatmeal is a delicious LDL-lowering food. Put some blueberries on it and you have a heart-healthy breakfast. Spinach- The rule of thumb for vegetables is basically the same as fruit: The darker the color, the better it is for you. Of the foods that reverse heart disease, spinach is also a "super food". Fresh spinach added with lettuce, makes an excellent heart-healthy salad. Cooked spinach (do not add salt!) with a little cider vinegar is a very healthy side dish. Spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Reversing heart disease , or slowing it's progress can add years to your life. And those may be the best years of your life, because you are healthier. Changing our lives can be hard. But these changes can save your life. Get in the habit of reading labels. Avoid high-sodium foods. Eat right. Exercise daily. Find some positive way(s) to handle stress. Be healthy!
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