If you did a search in Google for “biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease” you will find a variety of answers including: cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes.
This list of six independent risk factors that can be modified or controlled are considered to be the major causes of cardiovascular disease. They have been the accepted reasons for the last few decades but leave out one major factor that has only recently been given mainstream attention: elevated triglycerides. Why has there been such a delay in getting the word out that elevated triglycerides are far more common in heart disease than high cholesterol and what can be done to improve your own health? Take a look.
Triglycerides are a form of fat that is created in our bodies as a result of eating simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are those from sugary foods or foods made with white flour and what makes them a hazard to your health is the fact that these carbs accumulate in various organs, but most commonly in the tissue of the heart. The negative effects of triglycerides on health include an increase in your risk of heart disease and stroke as well as a contribution to atherosclerosis. With the presence of these accumulated carbohydrates in the organs of the body, other health problems (insulin resistance, high blood pressure, inflammation and abdominal obesity) are also present.
The theory that fats clog arteries is still the most prominent theory, as it was in the 1980′s. What would seem more harmful to your health: a breakfast of a fried egg and bacon or a lunch of a sandwich on white bread and soda? It seems reasonable to choose the bacon and eggs as the more harmful of the two because we have been told over and over that fat clogs arteries and to mind our fat intake for a healthy heart but that sugary soda and white bread could prove even more harmful. Because simple carbs accumulate in the body’s organs and heart tissue, ingesting these foods frequently means you are clogging your arteries and your body is unable to naturally remove the accumulation without assistance. Let’s say you continually poured the olive oil you used to prepare meals down the drain of your kitchen sink following food preparation. Over time your drain would become clogged as the oil hardened and stuck to the sides of the pipes. Pouring the oil down the drain daily would soon require the assistance of a plumber to come clean the pipes in order for the drain to work properly and efficiently. Similarly, when you are ingesting foods that accumulate in your body’s organs or heart tissue (like simple carbs) your body is unable to flush the accumulation from them, just as the pipes of a drain are unable to flush the oils from cooking. During the 1980′s and 1990′s, health authorities did not focus on elevated triglycerides as a cause of cardiovascular disease but instead on saturated fat. In order to avoid saturated fat a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet was recommended in order to reduce the incidence of heart disease. This recommendation on the part of doctors not only raised triglyceride levels in patients but also raised the risk of cardiovascular disease, achieving the opposite of the goal!
While there was no malicious intent to guide patients in the wrong direction with the recommended diet that was low in fat and high in carbohydrates, it has taken too long to try to educate the public on how to avoid the accumulation of triglycerides in the body and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
So, what can you do? We’ve got three easy steps to help you lower your triglyceride intake, treat elevated triglycerides and expel them from your body.
1. Lower Triglyceride Intake: It sounds obvious and easy and it is… stop eating refined sugars and food products made from white flour. A simple swap? Choose whole grain bread instead of white. While white and whole grain bread are both made from wheat berries, white bread uses only the middle layer that is the starchy part of the berry called the endosperm. Whole grain bread uses the outer layer (the bran), the middle endosperm as well as the innermost area (the germ). Whole grain bread is higher in fiber, vitamins, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium than white bread. And, since we’re on the subject of heart health and whole wheat bread, statistics gathered by Vegetarian Times Magazine found that:
- In a 10-year Harvard study completed in 1994, men and women who ate high-fiber breads had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those whose chose bagels and baguettes.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in April of 2003 that by simply switching from white to whole wheat bread, you can lower your risk of heart disease by 20%, based on a study at the University of Washington
And that’s only for switching from white bread to wheat! Think of the benefit to your heart and body by cutting out soft drinks, overly processed foods that are high in sugar or foods made with white flour. Moderation is always the key and we are not encouraging you to not enjoy a treat now and then but considering the accumulation of triglycerides in the heart tissues and organs of the body, we do want to encourage you to be as mindful as possible for your good health.
2. Treat Elevated Triglyceride Levels: It’s no secret that we at Hanna’s Herb Shop are crazy about omegas. Blog posts, giveaways, social media outreach all over this fatty acid that your body needs, especially when you are attempting to lower elevated triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids, or fish oil, can effectively lower triglyceride levels by as much as 30 percent! Add to the benefit list of Omega-3s: reduced inflammation, improved cell function, improved brain function, younger looking skin, a stronger heart, healthy hair and nails, improved metabolism, increased mobility of joints, and an increase in your body’s ability to fight off disease causing free radicals. We love Nordic Naturals because of their purity and devotion to making a fantastic product. Treating elevated triglyceride levels to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease is as easy as supplementing with fish oil!
3. Expel Triglycerides from Your Body: Fiber is important to your digestive health and, as you saw from the Harvard study mentioned above, is also important to your heart health. There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber you would choose in order to bulk up your digestive tract, should you be constipated. Soluble fiber acts as a sponge when mixed with water and binds to triglycerides, cholesterol and lipids in the body. When using a soluble fiber daily you are helping your body to expel the triglycerides that have accumulated in your body. Fourteen grams of soluble fiber daily can reduce your triglyceride levels by about 20% in 2 months. Sources of soluble fiber, aside from products like Diet Fiber Re:Fresh are oatmeal, oat cereals, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flax seeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery and carrots.
Elevated triglyceride levels are serious and lead to cardiovascular disease and while this fact isn’t out to the public as it should be, now that you are empowered with the knowledge there is plenty you can do for your good health. Follow the three steps we have shared with you and get your good health back on track!
Learn more about arteriosclerosis and heart health in Hanna’s book, Arteriosclerosis and Herbal Chelation, a companion to her Master Formula CircuFlow, the star of our Heart Health Section and bestseller since the 1980s!<< read less