Heart Disease Starts in Teenagers!

Most people will know that heart disease (including stroke) is the most common cause of death. You may think of heart disease as something that affects older people. But recent studies on 18-year-olds have shown that the initial stages of heart disease start at this early age in many people. I don’t mention this to scare you, but rather to highlight that our modern diet and lifestyle is not ideal. A poor diet and a lack of exercise are two reasons why our young people are getting damage to their heart and arteries. But the good news is you can reverse cardiovascular changes by improving nutrition and by exercising.

Eat Plenty of Good Fats!
Often when we think of the Heart Foundation “Tick” on foods we think of low-fat foods. However,
there are many good fats that have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. One of these is fish oils. Fish oils can reduce the chance of having a heart attack. If you do have a heart attack, fish oils reduce your chance of dying from it by 50%. That is a huge reduction in risk of dying. That is why I think nearly everyone should be taking a quality fish oil at an effective dose. But make sure you get a quality fish oil, as low quality brands can be rancid and cause problems.

Antioxidants Rule!
Antioxidants can reduce the risk of heart disease. For example, cholesterol only blocks arteries
when it gets oxidised. So taking plenty of antioxidants helps you keep your cholesterol in a good
form so the body can use it to make energy, hormones, maintain healthy skin and all the good things that cholesterol should be doing. Good sources of antioxidants include fresh vegetables, green tea, and numerous substances that the body makes such as CoEnzyme Q10.

Magnesium: Super Mineral?
Some recent research indicates that most NZ’ers are low in magnesium. This is a problem, because low levels of magnesium have been implicated in causing heart disease. In fact, the Ministry of Health have issued warnings to doctors to be aware of some medicines that can reduce magnesium levels, because some of these patients are ending up in hospital with serious heart conditions.

There are lots of great nutrients that can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Magnesium, fish oils and CoQ10 are certainly on my “must take” list now I’m over 50. If you want to know what are the best nutrients for you, and what are compatible with your medicines, then come in and chat to our Integrative Medicine teams at Massey and Torbay Unichem Pharmacies.