Atherosclerosis and Diet
Atherosclerosis is a diet-related condition featuring the hardening/clogging of the arteries by atheroma. Derived from the Greek word for porridge, atheroma is a fatty deposit which gradually builds up on the walls of our arteries, including our coronary arteries, as a result of high LDL and/or low HDL cholesterol levels, combined with a diet high in saturated or trans fats. Atherosclerosis is a predictor for heart attack, and stroke, as well as vascular circulatory disorders in the limbs, such as lower limb ischemia.
Although atherosclerotic heart disease gradually takes hold as we age, the condition is accelerated among smokers and those whose diets include excessive amounts of saturates and trans-fatty acids. Therefore, any diet aimed at slowing down the development of atherosclerosis should be low in total fat – especially saturated fat – and low in dietary cholesterol. It should be combined with regular cardio-aerobic exercise.Atherosclerosis: Age-Related and Diet-Related
Guide to Diet For Atherosclerosis
Here is some basic eating advice to slow down atherosclerosis by dietary means:
- Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant properties. Citrus fruit, broccoli, spinch, carrots, peppers, garlic, leeks and onions are especially beneficial.
- Eat more oily fish. Species such as mackerel, salmon and herring are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which improve cholesterol levels as well as the elasticity of the arteries.
- Eat more oats, apples and beans for their soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol intake.
- Avoid all offal, reduce your intake of red meat, and switch to lean skinless chicken/turkey or fish. Red meat, unless ultra-lean and trimmed, may be high in saturates.
- When purchasing margarine, oil, or baked/processed goods, check food labels and choose foods low in trans-fats, hydrogenated or saturated fat, and low in sodium.
- Limit your intake of eggs to 3-4 per week. Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol to moderate levels. Meaning one drink per day for women, or two for men. One drink is 12 fl oz of beer, a glass of wine or one measure of spirits.