Atherosclerosis is a disease in which, due to certain causes, plaques are created on the walls of the arteries in our body. These plaques tighten the diameter of blood vessels and thus impede proper blood flow to all tissues and organs. If the plaques are very large, the diameter of the vessel is very narrow and it can lead to serious consequences for our health and a heart attack or stroke. Today, studies are increasingly being done to monitor how the diet affects the processes occurring in the body of a person with atherosclerosis. According to the results of some studies, it can be said that atherosclerosis is a reversible process and in many cases, it is almost completely curable.
What is the cause of atherosclerosis?
As with almost any other disease, the causes of atherosclerosis are not fully understood. However, in most cases, atherosclerosis occures due to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, smoking or inflammatory disease. In the US, every fourth of ten Americans suffers from cardiovascular diseases. The western diet is based on fatty and processed food, combined with sedentary lifestyles, which is the biggest cause of the high incidence of such diseases in the United States.
Is heart disease curable?
In early 1990, a study was done, in order to examine the impact of different types of diets on atherosclerosis and then the results from the study were published in a medical journal.
The research participants were divided into two groups: one group fed with a vegetarian diet, without cholesterol, and the fats represented only 10% of the daily energy intake. The other group was fed with a diet plan made up of the American Heart Association, which contained up to 300mg of cholesterol a day, and the fat reduction was not so great.
After one year, the results were as follows: the low-fat, vegetarian diet showed a 37% reduction in LDL, and their narrowed blood vessels expanded by an average of 82%; the other group that was fed with the American Heart Association’s diet did not show a decrease in cholesterol or an improvement in blood vessel deposits.
Tips for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.
- Eat foods that do not contain too much fat, i.e. plant foods, and do not add a lot of cooking oil.
- Instead of an unhealthy dessert, serve a plate of fresh or dried fruit.
- Exercise regularly, and drink plenty of water.
- Try to exclude the dairy products from your diet or at least reduce the amount consumed.
- Replace red meat with legumes or fish.
- Do not buy or store at home “unhealthy” temptations – sweets and fatty snacks, so as not to reach for them.
- Eat large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables because their anti-inflammatory effect is proven to work proactively on cardiovascular disease. If such diseases are already present, antioxidants, fibers and other phytonutrients present in fruit and vegetables act by reducing the risk of complications and they accelerate the healing process, i.e. they “fix“ the damage caused by such diseases (removal of fat deposits, reduction of inflammation …).
- Use whole grains rather than refined cereals.
- There is a correlation between the intake of animal proteins and increased risk of death as a consequence of cardiovascular diseases, so be careful when consuming animal products and avoid them as much as possible.