Question: Heart disease runs in our family. How can I make sure that I guard against it as much as I can while I am young?
16 September, 2008 – 17:32
Answer: I am glad that you are thinking along the right lines!
Too many people think that you should only start caring about your heart as you get older.
However helping your heart to stay healthy when you are young gives you a much better chance of guarding against heart disease later on in life.
As can be expected cutting out smoking, adequate exercise and a healthy diet are crucial.
Try to exercise three times a week for at least 20 minutes and make sure your diet is low in cholesterol and salt and high in fibre and unsaturated fats such as olive, canola and nut oils.
Fish oils are also good for you as they aid circulation, can help to thin the blood and can improve heart function, whilst taking a regular supplement of Vitamin E and C effectively halves the risk of ever having a heart attack.
There are plenty of herbal remedies you can choose from as well.
Garlic helps to thin the blood, so blood is less likely to clot, and it can also lower cholesterol levels.
Hawthorn may help the heart in several ways, by opening the coronary arteries, improving the heart’s blood supply, increasing the heart’s pumping force and eliminating some types of heart-rhythm disturbances.
Some evidence suggests it may also help limit the amount of cholesterol deposited on artery walls too.
The sulphur compounds in chives have antibiotic properties. Eating chives seems to lower blood levels of low-density lipoproteins, the bad cholesterol that clings to artery walls.
Finally, Evening Primrose oil contains a compound capable of reducing the rate of blood clotting, which can reduce the risk of a heart attack and ginger may help to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and prevent the internal blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes.
If you are groaning about the thought of such a health conscience diet you will be pleased to hear that there is some welcome relief. A little bit of red wine is also good for your heart.