Heart health is still a major concern for millions of Americans. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) says that about one-third of Americans, which is about 80 million, have concerns with heart health. Almost half of Americans also have cholesterol levels that may put them at risk for an unhealthy heart.
Closely tied to keeping your heart healthy is keeping your vascular system healthy, too. Vascular problems can arise when cholesterol and triglyceride levels are unhealthy, leading to unhealthy levels of inflammation. Arterial health can be further exasperated by oxidation that occurs from free radicals.
Vascular unhealth is no lightweight deal, either. Approximately 20 to 30 million Americans are at risk for various vascular problems. But that’s not all. Experts are uncovering new vascular-related problems. Dr. Thom Rooke, a vascular expert at the Mayo Clinic, concluded that about 10 million Americans may have arterial unhealth that is beyond what is known or often discussed among health professionals.
So without further ado, here are some foods that may be especially helpful in helping support vascular health.
Plants and plant-derived sterols: These foods can help keep cholesterol levels healthy, thereby supporting vascular health. In fact, all plants contain sterols, but significant amounts are found in vegetables, nuts and seeds. Pecans, avocados, pumpkin seeds, cashews, rice bran, and sea buckthorn are among the foods to include.
Phenols and polyphenols: These can help support healthy cholesterol levels, while guarding against oxidation caused by free radicals. Among the foods to include are: green tea, pomegranates, apple juice, purple grape juice, prunes, raspberries, blueberries, white cherries, strawberries, grape seeds and red grapes. The wolfberry (Goji) and sea buckthorn are also known for their heart and vascular health benefits.
Fiber-rich foods: Fiber is a must for heart and vascular health. In fact, certain fibers can bind cholesterol in the digestive tract. Psyllium seed husks, fruit pectin, galactomannan, beta glucans from oats and barley grains and chia seeds are all recommended. In fact, chia seeds are said to increase 14 times more in weight than wheat bran and 16 times more than linseed. Now that’s some impressive fiber!
Healthy Fats: Let’s not forget about healthy fats and their benefits for vascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA, EPA and ALA all have been shown to support cardiovascular health. Dairy products, too, are rich in conjugated linoleic acid or CLA and can support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cultured dairy products have an added vascular health bonus: they have dairy tripeptides which have been shown to be vascular healthy.
Then there's coconut oil. Yes; you heard correctly. Coconut oil is a good saturated fat full of mid-length fatty acid chains. A study in Lipids journal indicated that coconut oil use can result in healthy cholesterol levels and healthy arteries.
Vitamins and Enzymes: In addition to the aforementioned foods, be sure you get enough vitamin D and enzymes such as bromelain and papain. Both are beneficial to heart and arterial health and those enzymes, in particular, help with maintaining already healthy inflammation and blood-clotting responses.†
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.