Heart disease is an umbrella term for several conditions that have a negative impact on the heart. Some of these conditions are diseases of the blood vessels like coronary artery disease, issues with the heart rhythm, as well as congenital defects of the heart or heart defects one has been born with.
Another similar term used is cardiovascular disease and it refers to problems caused by narrowed and blocked blood vessels which can elevate the chance of angina, stroke, and heart attack. Heart complications with the heart’s muscle, rhythm, or valve are also a type of heart disease. According to experts, the best way to avert the occurrence of heart disease is to lead a healthy lifestyle, that is, to follow a healthy diet comprised of nutritious foods, to be physically active, limit the intake of alcohol, quit smoking, and learn how to manage stress.
When it comes to diets that are good for the heart, a recent study published in the American Journal of Hypertension by Oxford University, introducing more yogurt to one’s diet has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular illness among men and women diagnosed with high blood pressure.
The Main Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- Sex- on average, men have a greater chance of heart disease; but, the risk in women elevates after menopause
- Age- aging is known to maximize the risk of narrower and damaged arteries and weaker heart muscle
- Smoking- nicotine can tighten the blood vessels while the carbon monoxide can harm the inner lining and make them more prone to atherosclerosis
- Unhealthy diet- diets abundant in salt, fat, cholesterol, and sugar have been linked to heart disease
- High levels of cholesterol- deposits of cholesterol multiply the chance of plaque deposits and atherosclerosis
- Genetics- if one’s parent has developed a heart disease at an earlier age (before 55 for men and 65 for women), the risk in them is bigger
- Specific chemo drugs and radiation- they are known to increase the chance for heart disease
- Hypertension- when one’s high blood pressure is not adequately treated, it can thicken the arteries and make the blood vessels narrower
- Obesity- being overweight puts one at a higher risk of cardiovascular illness
- Diabetes- this condition increases one’s chances of heart disease significantly
- Sedentary lifestyle- when one is not physically active, they have more chance of heart disease than people who lead an active lifestyle
- Chronic stress- when one does not learn adequate stress management techniques, they are at a greater risk of heart-related issues
Prevention is Crucial
Once you learn the risk factors for heart disease, you should try and implement the necessary lifestyle adjustments for a healthier and longer life. To illustrate, begin exercising for at least half an hour on a daily basis, consult your physician to learn how to control diseases like diabetes and hypertension, lose weight if necessary, minimize the intake of salt and fat, and cease smoking if you are a smoker.
Groundbreaking Study: Yogurt Is Good for Your Heart
Nowadays, dairy products have been a controversial topic. Hence, health organizations recommend them as pivotal food for healthy bones while a great part of experts consider dairy to be harmful and unnecessary. When it comes to dairy products, it is important to mention that not every dairy is one and the same and there are various types based on how the cows were raised and the methods of processing. Also, the health effects that dairy has or does not have are also conditioned by the individual who consumes them.
The researchers tested people who have been diagnosed with hypertension or around 56,000 women between 30 and 55 years of age and more than 18,000 men between 40 and 75 years of age. During the 80s, they submitted a survey comprised of 61 questions regarding their diets in the year before and also they included their medical diagnoses. The questionnaire was updated every four years up to 2006. Due to the elevated chance of cardiovascular problems in people who suffer from high blood pressure, the aim of the research team was to find the link. As there was an earlier research that pointed out an association between the consumption of dairy and minimal chance of cardiovascular complications, their study investigated a specific dairy product, i.e. yogurt.
What Type of Food Is Yogurt?
Yogurt is a nutritious and tasty food source because it is abundant in calcium, potassium, and protein, as well as minerals and vitamins, whereas it has a low-calorie count. This cultured milk product is thickened and soured with lactic acid-producing cultures which are added to the milk. The lactic acid, made by the culture, solidifies the milk protein by making the milk thicker and adding the sour flavor. Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are the probiotics used for the production of yogurt.
What the End Results Showed?
According to the findings of the study, those who ate more than two yogurt servings on a weekly basis had a 20 percent reduced risk of heart disease or stroke in the future, explains Tamim Alnuweiri from Well and Good. She adds that the percentage was 30 in women and 19 in men. The co-author of the study, Justin Buendia, asserts that this is both a proof of the individual positive effect yogurt has in the prevention of heart disease and its effect as part of diets plentiful in whole grains, veggies, and fruits.