Silent inflammation is a major cause and concern for heart disease and other diseases such as diabetes, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, cancer and numerous others. Silent inflammation is caused in part by a poor diet which drives an imbalance between bad or pro-inflammatory hormones and good hormones that fight inflammation.
Many research studies are consistently pointing to diet as key factor in inflammation and associated illness. While a poor diet will ignite and accelerate the many health issues discussed in this series, the correct diet can be a healing and preventative agent for the body as well.
Dr. Kota Reddy, a noted Cardiologist in Houston states that his base plan for treating heart disease (among others) is though diet. His philosophy is to eliminate or severely reduce your intake of bad fat (saturated animal fat and Omega 6 fats found in vegetable oils), sugars, starch, salt and caffeine.
Dr. Barry Sears has a similar strategy for fighting disease through diet. Dr. Sears’s strategy is to keep the body inflammation free or at minimal levels through a combination of a “balance diet” using good fats (Omega 3 fats, extra virgin Olive and Canola oils), lean proteins and complex carbs mainly from plan sources. Dr. Sears also recommends a minimum of four grams of high grade fish oil (Nordic Naturals, Zone OmegaRx or prescription) daily.
One of the things I like best about Dr. Sears anti-inflammation approach through diet is that no foods are off limits. While arguably some foods are far better than others, he uses a “block” system for carbs, fats and proteins that allows you to build a balanced meal that will fight or keep inflammation at bay. You can learn more about Dr. Sears’s research on inflammation at drsears.com.
While diet is important, here are some other strategies to remain heart healthy.
· Visit your doctor and get a complete physical and blood work up. This will serve as your base against which you can measure your progress. Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications.
· Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the best things you can do is reduce refined sugars, grains and starches. These drive insulin surges and turn sugar to fat. Be wary of protein powders, bars and other foods such as Carnation Instant Breakfast that are labeled “healthy” as many of these are loaded with simple sugars and will spike your blood sugar that results in increased fat storage.
· Take a brisk 10-minute walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week. Keep expanding your duration and number of exercise sessions as you get in better shape.
· Exercise and diet will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and will reduce your risk of dying of heart disease
· Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Visit www.cdc.gov/tobacco and www.smokefree.gov for tips on quitting.
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. He is a member of the 2015 QT2 Systems Advanced Team.