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Heart disease is almost completely avoidable. How? Diet and lifestyle play a major role. We look at how Superfoods can help you maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk factors for heart disease.

What would you do if there was a catastrophe – say, a terrorist attack or an earthquake – that was going to kill a third of our population and you had a chance to stop it from happening? You would try to stop it, right?

Well, heart disease is that threat with 30% of New Zealanders dying annually from heart disease, it is the leading cause of sudden death in New Zealand, and it kills one New Zealander every 90 minutes. Whilst those numbers already show how serious an issue it is, the jaw-dropping statistic about heart disease is that 6 of the 8 major risk factors are completely avoidable! Dietary and lifestyle choices we make contribute to the health of our heart. And a healthy heart is something we can’t live without.

Heart disease is almost completely avoidable. How? Diet and lifestyle play a major role. We look at how Superfoods can help you maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk factors for heart disease.
What would you do if there was a catastrophe – say, a terrorist attack or an earthquake – that was going to kill a third of our population and you had a chance to stop it from happening? You would try to stop it, right?
Well, heart disease is that threat with 30% of New Zealanders dying annually from heart disease, it is the leading cause of sudden death in New Zealand, and it kills one New Zealander every 90 minutes. Whilst those numbers already show how serious an issue it is, the jaw-dropping statistic about heart disease is that 6 of the 8 major risk factors are completely avoidable! Dietary and lifestyle choices we make contribute to the health of our heart. And a healthy heart is something we can’t live without.

What is Heart Disease?

Before we get into how to avoid it, it is important to understand what heart disease is. Coronary heart disease is a gradual build-up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the blood vessels (the coronary arteries) that supply blood to the heart. These fatty deposits build up over time, clogging the arteries and decreasing the flow of blood to the heart which can be life threatening. This process, called atherosclerosis, often begins when people are young and worsens with age. There is no single cause for coronary heart disease, but there are ‘risk factors’ that increase your chance of developing it.

Risk factors you can control – healthy diet

Super foods are a packed with high levels of nutrients allowing you to easily add more vitamins and minerals into your diet. Here’s the whats, whys and how of how to incorporate the top 5 Superfoods for heart health.


What: Acai Berry

Why: Originating in the Amazon these berries are packed full of nutrients, particularly antioxidants. Certain foods we eat, chemicals we come in contact with, illnesses cause inflammation and oxidation in our body. Antioxidants protect our body from damaging effects of inflammation, an aggravating factor in heart disease.

How: You can take Acai capsules as a supplement or use Bioglan Acai+Berry powder into your cereal, juices, smoothies or baking. An easy way to boost your daily antioxidant intake.


What: Beetroot

Why: Full of nitrates, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid. Beetroot has shown anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for heart disease. The nitrates in beetroot to help relax the blood vessels which improves blood circulation and has been shown to lower blood pressure by up to 7% when taken daily.

How: Beetroot powder is naturally sweet and can be mixed with water to take as a shot. It can also be added to smoothies, juices, soups and salads.


What:  Coconut Oil

Why: This wonderful superfood is the most digestible and absorbed fat. Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat that the body burns it quickly without the negative effects on your cholesterol levels.  Coconut oil can improve your heart health by increasing your HDL (good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

How: Coconut oil is heat stable and can be used to replace other oils in all forms of cooking. It can also be used in salad dressings or smoothies


Take Control of Maintaining your Healthy Heart

Only 2 out of the 8 major risk factors for heart disease are unavoidable – age and family history. The other 6 factors below are all in your control – all the more reason to take steps to improve your heart health!

Avoidable risk factors for heart disease:

  • smoking
  • total high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity / being overweight
  • being physically inactive
  • diabetes

References:

* Ministry of Health (2015) Mortality and Demographic data 2012. Wellington: Ministry of Health
Retrieved from http://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/know-the-facts/statistics