• Brian "B-Rob" Robinson

Foods That Fight Series- Cardiovascular Disease


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (aka CDC) claims that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States taking one life every 36 seconds.


Today I am going to briefly discuss what cardiovascular disease is, three foods that research suggest may help a person with cardiovascular disease, and how I eat these three foods today.


What is Cardiovascular Disease?


Cardiovascular disease is often referred to as heart disease but refer to many conditions pertaining to the heart, arteries, and blood vessels. Most of these conditions include arrhythmia, heart valve problems, heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries).


Many lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, but some common factors include diabetes, inactivity, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, high blood pressure, stress, and cigarette smoking.


Research suggest that there may be some natural foods that can help control, prevent, or even reverse cardiovascular disease. I have chosen three foods that research shows can have a positive effect on combating cardiovascular disease.



Salmon


Salmon is rich in protein, omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA), vitamin D, and vitamin B-2 (riboflavin). The benefit of salmon or other fatty fish, like tuna and mackerel, over other forms of lean meat proteins is that the omega-3 fats in salmon or fatty fish may help reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and blood vessels. The DHA and EPA contained in the omega-3 fats in salmon and fatty fish may reduce markers of inflammation and improve artery function.



Avocado


Most people give bananas all the credit for potassium, but half of an avocado has more potassium than a whole banana. This is good because potassium is said to help lower blood pressure and reduce stress due to its role of regulating serotonin. Avocados are also rich in omega –3 fats which, according to Harvard Health, have several positive biological effects in the body. Also, there are numerous studies suggesting one avocado per day as part of a moderate-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet has beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart-healthy fatty acid profile.



Walnuts


Walnuts are a good source of fiber, magnesium, copper, and omega –3 fats. Studies suggest that the walnuts, when incorporated in your diet only a few times a week, may significantly decrease total cholesterol by lowering LDL cholesterol concentrations. Study results also reported that eating walnuts provides greater benefits for certain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory markers.


Your Action


What can you do with this great information I just gave you? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Provided you don’t have any allergies or health related issues with the three foods mentioned here and your doctor is okay with you eating these, your mission is to find exciting and healthy ways to eat these foods. Here are some of my favorite ways:


Salmon: I eat my salmon grilled. Although the most common way I eat my salmon for convenience is over brown rice with some olive oil drizzled over it. I dash it with a little salt and pepper and enjoy. For tuna, I eat it mostly as tuna salad over brown rice also with olive oil drizzled over it


Avocado: I like my avocado in the form of spicy guacamole eaten with eggs and toast for breakfast. Here is a good article for other ways to eat avocado https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/23-ways-to-eat-avocados .


Walnuts: Instead of chips, grab some walnuts. I like to keep a bag of walnuts around for snacking throughout the day. I also like cooked oatmeal topped with chopped walnuts.

I hope this information has enlightened and helped you. Please “heart” this blog and feel free to comment with other ways you eat the foods listed here and other helpful information.


Brian "B-Rob" Robinson is a Certified Sports Nutrition Coach, Certified Life Strategies Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Youtuber, and co-founder of LEANWellonline. His website is thisisbrob.com and his YouTube channel is thisisb-rob.




Sources:

Ramel A, Martinez JA, Kiely M, Bandarra NM, Thorsdottir I. Moderate consumption of fatty fish reduces diastolic blood pressure in overweight and obese European young adults during energy restriction. Nutrition. 2010 Feb;26(2):168-74. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 May 31. PMID: 19487105.


Panagiotakos DB, Zeimbekis A, Boutziouka V, Economou M, Kourlaba G, Toutouzas P, Polychronopoulos E. Long-term fish intake is associated with better lipid profile, arterial blood pressure, and blood glucose levels in elderly people from Mediterranean islands (MEDIS epidemiological study). Med Sci Monit. 2007 Jul;13(7):CR307-12. PMID: 17599024.


Wang L, Bordi PL, Fleming JA, Hill AM, Kris-Etherton PM. Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Jan 7;4(1):e001355. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001355. PMID: 25567051; PMCID: PMC4330060.


Publishing, H. (n.d.). An avocado a day may keep cholesterol at bay. Retrieved September 26, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/an-avocado-a-day-may-keep-cholesterol-at-bay


Kris-Etherton PM. Walnuts decrease risk of cardiovascular disease: a summary of efficacy and biologic mechanisms. J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4 Suppl):547S-554S. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.182907. Epub 2014 Feb 5. PMID: 24500935.


Banel DK, Hu FB. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):56-63. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27457. Epub 2009 May 20. PMID: 19458020; PMCID: PMC2696995.