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Steps To Save Your Heart!

Feb 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s Heart Health Month, which dovetails perfectly with Cupid.

Heart Disease, as we all know, is one of the deadliest killers of both men and women every year. For years, physicians looked at basic factors to determine the risk of one’s development of heart disease. These were factors such as blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. But recently, more and more studies have shown that there’s a more valuable predictor of the disease. This is called C-reactive protein (CRP).

Only in recent years has CRP shown to be important. It helps measure chronic inflammation and the overall health of your arteries. The higher your CRP level, the more at risk you are for heart disease, even if your other indicators look normal. “Half of all heart attacks and strokes in the US each year occur among people with essentially normal cholesterol levels,” says Paul Ridker, M.D., a professor of medicine at Harvard medical school.

A heart attack occurs when plaque ruptures inside your blood vessels. That rupturing is caused by not just the amount of plaque you have, but also the degree of inflammation. Luckily just as you can with cholesterol and body fat, you can commit to changing your CRP levels. Aside from drugs, lifestyle changes are the best way to whittle down your CRP. Here are 7 tips to help:

1. Take a Multivitamin – A study in the American Journal of Medicine showed that people who popped a multivitamin each morning for 6 months decreased their CRP by .7 mg/l.

2. Eat a Mediterranean diet – A recent study at the University of Athens found that people who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet, one rich in olive oil, had CRP numbers 20 percent lower than those who didn’t.

3. Floss Daily – A study in the Journal of Periodontology shows that the inflammatory effects of periodontal disease also cause inflammation of your arteries; signs of disease in multiple spots in your mouth can hike CRP by 14 percent.

4. Eat Salmon – In a new Harvard study people who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids (1.6g/day) had 29 percent lower CRP readings than those who ate less did.

5. Lessen your Calories – We all know the amount of damage fat do. Losing the fat by cutting calories can reduce CRP by 6 percent over an 18-month period.

6. Eat Fiber – In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the odds of having high levels of CRP dropped by 40 percent for those people who had the most fiber during the day.

7. Be Social – Social interaction may help beat another CRP booster: depression. According to a John Hopkins University study, men who were depressed had a 64 percent chance of having higher levels of CRP.

To your heart health,

Brian Winters

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