atherosclerotic plaque

Coronary Artery Disease is the general overall term to describe various diseases that affect the coronary arteries or Heart. Diseases may include Angina Pectoris, Atrial Fibrillation or Arrhythmia etc.  Two common diseases that stand out statistically when mentioning CAD is  Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis. Both are different but are caused by the same contributing factors.  Arteriosclerosis is the hardening and thickening and loss of elasticity of walls of Arteries. This process gradually restricts the blood flow to organs and tissues by narrowing and increasing blood pressure .. Atherosclerosis is caused by the build-up of plaque and other substances on the artery wall, eventually restricting the flow of blood through the artery. In the coronary arteries, this can precipitate a Heart Attack. Heart Attacks are still the number one cause of death in Australia.  There is lots of information on the internet about how these diseases form and progress and the health issues that result from these progressions, such as – Heart Disease, Kidney disease, and Eye disease.  What is covered here is more the practical things one can do to prevent such diseases from forming.

Major contributing factors to heart disease are –

  •  Blood Glucose: It is now generally thought that High blood glucose levels ( sugar molecules )  and insulin levels damage blood vessels by scouring or sandpaper effect, causing oxidative damage. ( oxidation causes aging and inflammation of tissues )  This stress causes inflammation within the blood vessel, and inflammatory biochemicals are released as a response.   Blood vessels can lose their elasticity and thicken and may cause blood pressure to increase. Damaged tissues within the vessel attract cholesterol to the area. Cholesterol is not the culprit here, as cholesterol is used to repair the damaged cells of the artery and is present in more numbers to promote healing. Unfortunately, cholesterol molecules can also be oxidised affected by the inflammatory biochemicals.
  • Tissue Acidity: The Standard Australian diet ( SAD)   mainly consists of many carbohydrates that are easily converted into sugars in the body leading to altered PH and tissue acidity levels. The body has mechanisms typically for adjusting this, but it has been proven that as one’s age increases, the body can no longer balance or regulate the PH. Tissue acidity rises with age due to the reduction of kidney function. Consequences of increased acidity in the body can include –  calcium being leached out of bones and deposited elsewhere, contributing to artery calcification, weakening of muscle and connective tissue,  and promoting chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Weak Blood Vessels: Blood vessels and tissues become weak through lack of minerals and plant phytochemicals -Bioflavonoids and polyphenols – Lack of these nutrients promotes hardness or stiffening of blood vessels or an inability to repair tissue where normal “wear and tear ” occurs. Collagen is a clear example of this which is used to prevent wrinkles in the skin and strengthen blood vessel walls and tendons/ligaments. The building blocks of collagen are minerals,  Bioflavonoids and Polyphenols, which are derived from a suitable plant diet.  It is assumed that we are all having an adequate intake of fruit and vegetables. Still, In a survey that the Victorian Government commissioned, it was found that 75% of males who were in the nutritional study did not meet the daily recommended levels of fruit and vegetables as recommended by Dieticians. Plant food is essential for assisting the body to maintain a normal PH and for repairing tissues.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation can occur in tissues and blood vessels at any age and significantly contribute to heart disease. Some cardiologists say that this process starts early due to the high carbohydrate diet western societies consume. Inflammation damages the lining of blood vessels and raises the level of the cholesterol component LDL. High LDL levels are considered a significant risk factor in Coronary Artery Heart Disease.

So what to do about the above – what is an excellent Nutritional prevention program?

  • Have an Alkaline Diet: 80% fruit and vegetables, especially green vegetables high in magnesium. 20% of the diet should be for protein, which would vary depending on one’s occupation or activities. As a general rule,  a sedentary worker would have 80% veg on the plate at a dinner meal. In contrast, a bodybuilder or active tradesperson may have up to 70% or more depending on their circumstance—no rice, pasta, bread, bakery products, etc. There should be a variety of coloured or pigmented foods that supply Polyphenols and bioflavonoids. Examples are purple carrots, dark grapes, Kale, Beets, Cherries, Blueberries, pomegranates. The compounds in these foods assist in strengthening the walls of the blood vessels and reducing body acidity. The Alkaline diet is similar to the ketogenic diet. With its emphasis on controlling blood glucose, the ketogenic diet may be a better option for some, especially those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Controlling insulin is considered one of the main ways of preventing coronary disease.
  • Have Healthy fats: Healthy fats, like Olive oil, Ghee, Avocados and  Deep-sea fish, all help tissues repair through modulation of inflammatory factors as well as helping the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins that assist tissues in repairing. Vit E is but one example.
  • Water and juices:  ingesting purified waters, preferably reverse osmosis water, are preferable to tap water like fluoride and chlorine harm tissues and promote inflammation. Reverse osmosis can be mildly acidic, but this can be offset by daily ingestion of green drinks or lots of vegetables. Fruit juices or freshly squeezed juices are not recommended as they contain a lot of sugars.   Whole Fruits themselves are ok as they have a lot of fibre and limit the sugar we usually eat. Fruits are nature’s snacks and should be eaten between meals. Green Tea is high in  Polyphenols that are good for heart health.
  • Supplement: with Natural Anti-Inflammatories such as Grape seed extract, Curcumin, and Fish oils. These can quench inflammation and oxidative stress.  One mineral that is essential for blood vessel health is -Magnesium. Magnesium is found in green vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some fruits like bananas. In summation, the role of statins is minimal to prevent Coronary Artery disease as there are many other factors at play leading to cardiovascular events. The use of statins may lead one to a false sense of security by not looking at diet and lifestyle.  Interestingly, most people admitted to Emergency Departments with Heart Attacks have cholesterol levels within normal parameters.
  • The following supplements may be helpful to use in a preventative eating plan –
  • Kyolic Garlic has been shown to remove soft plaque from arterial walls
  • Bergamot, a product made from Calabrian Oranges, high in flavonoids, has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering effects and helps to prevent the build-up of coronary plaque
  • High-Grade cold-pressed olive oil and Olive leaf Extract have been displayed to avoid oxidisation of cholesterol and have a lowering effect.

For more information on CAD, please further post on this website

Peter Farnsworth N.D

revised 2/1/21

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