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Foods That Cleanse the Arteries

Foods That Cleanse the Arteries

What you eat matters, especially when it comes to your body’s potential for a heart attack. Red meat is notoriously linked to clogged arteries or atherosclerosis. Unhealthy fats like saturated fat and trans fat as well as sugar are also linked to an increase for a heart attack. 

But what about foods that lower your risk of a heart attack? Do they exist? We’ve got great news. Yes! You can cleanse your arteries and improve your heart health by changing your diet to include heart-healthy superfoods. 

You Can’t Go Wrong with Mediterranean

There’s a reason why the Mediterranean diet is popular with all health experts and has outlived the plethora of fad diets that have emerged over the years. The Mediterranean diet is actually good for everyone, even those on special diets because the recommended foods are practically the healthiest Earth has to offer. The diet is centered around plant-based foods including fruits, veggies, herbs, nuts, beans, and whole grains. Seafood, dairy, poultry, and eggs are added in moderation. Unhealthy fats and sugar are avoided although red meat is allowed on a limited occasion. 

Eat the Rainbow

Skittles tells us to taste the rainbow, but we encourage you to eat the whole rainbow when it comes to fruits and vegetables. A heart-healthy plate consists largely of fruits and veggies in a rainbow of colors with limitations to starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes. 

Go Nuts

Nuts are the perfect healthy snack to get you through the afternoon slowdown. They’ll give you a boost of energy, and they’re good for your heart, too. Just don’t go too crazy. An ounce of nuts a day is all you need. 

Fishing for Clean Arteries

Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and herring are perfect when you want a taste of meat on your plate. You can enjoy two servings of fish a week. 

Beans and Legumes

Beans, lentils, and peas are an essential part of a heart-healthy diet. They contain proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which is why they are a great alternative to meat for vegans and vegetarians. 

Don’t Forget the Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the go-to cooking oil and salad dressing for those following a heart-healthy diet. Toss out the ranch dressing and vegetable oil and pick up this versatile food instead. 

Whole Grains

Grains should be consumed in their whole, unprocessed form, according to health and nutrition experts. Whole grains have more fiber than processed grains, and they can also help balance blood glucose levels. 

A heart-healthy diet works best in conjunction with a heart-healthy lifestyle which includes daily exercise or activity and refraining from unhealthy habits like smoking. As always, consult with your provider before beginning a new diet. 

Annual wellness visits also lower your risk of a heart attack by giving your provider a chance to perform key tests that detect silent signs of a heart problem. To request your annual exam, click here. 

Can the Flu Increase Your Chances of Heart Attack or Stroke?

Does the flu impact your risk of a heart attack or stroke? That’s the question researchers sought to answer in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Heart attacks and strokes increase during the winter months, which also coincides with flu season. Researchers suspected a link between the viral illness and the two deadly conditions. The results of their study confirmed their suspicions.

The flu increases the risk of both a heart attack and a stroke, though the timeline in which the conditions typically occur differ. Heart attacks are more likely to occur within the first 7-14 days of onset of acute flu illness while a stroke can still occur up to 30 days following the illness. The study did not share if participants had the flu vaccine. However, other research in the study found that incidences of heart attacks and strokes following the flu were lower in years in which the vaccine’s success rate was higher. 

What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

The study did not reveal exactly what causes the increased risk for stroke or heart attack. It’s safe to assume that if you are already at a higher risk for either condition, you need to take caution. The first step you can take is to get this year’s flu vaccine if you haven’t already. Although the flu vaccine doesn’t always prevent the virus it can shorten illness time and decrease the severity of sickness. 

If you do develop flu-like illness, seek a proper diagnosis and treatment from your provider as soon as possible. If you get sick when your provider is unavailable, visit an urgent care to get immediate treatment then schedule a follow-up with your regular provider as soon as possible. Keep all of your appointments with your provider during your illness and take note of any new symptoms, particularly those that occur before a heart attack or stroke. If you begin to notice these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Do not wait to get help. 

You can also prevent the flu and a subsequent heart attack or stroke by continuing to follow the social distancing guidelines in place for coronavirus. The possibility of developing both the flu and coronavirus at the same time is real and only increases your risk of serious illness or even death. We encourage those at a higher risk to continue to stay home until after the flu season. 

Many signs pointing to an increased risk for heart attack or stroke are silent and can only be detected by a provider. Your annual wellness visit is the best time for your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider to determine your risks and develop an action plan. Click here to request your annual exam today. 


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