atherosclerosis

  1. Is this what could be narrowing your arteries?

    Remember when we thought that stomach ulcers were caused by too much stress... and spicy food?

    It was a reasonable theory -- but certainly not the first time that mainstream medicine has gotten things wrong!

    Of course, the REAL culprit turned out to be a nasty strain of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (a.k.a. H. pylori) that can burrow into your stomach lining, causing not only ulcers but also stomach cancer.

    And, unfortunately, your stomach isn't the only place that H. pylori can wreak havoc -- because according to a new study, this pathogen may also threaten your HEART!

    In the study out of South Korea, researchers tested over 450 patients for H. pylori infection and checked their coronary arteries for abnormal narrowing (a.k.a. "stenosis"). None of them had a previous history of coronary heart disease.

    That narrowing turned out to be TWICE as common among those infected with H. pylori as it was among those not infected.

    Now, stenosis is just one of the signs that atherosclerosis -- a condition that hardens your arteries -- is underway.

    And when it happens in the arteries that supply blood to your heart, your risk of a heart attack SOARS.

    What does that have to do with rogue bacteria that live in your stomach?

    Well, the theory is that H. pylori may create a perfect storm of conditions that gets the ball rolling on atherosclerosis.

    Previous studies have suggested that H. pylori can mess with the way your body metabolizes fats and can even lower your HDL ("good") cholesterol.

    And sure enough, those infected with H. pylori in the new study had significantly higher triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol than those who weren't.

    What's more, living with an H. pylori infection may also ramp up inflammation and oxidative stress throughout your body, causing direct damage to the lining of your arteries.

    And if H. pylori has taken up residence, chances are good that you won't even know it -- because while HALF of us have this bug in our bellies, the vast majority of those infected don't have ANY symptoms!

    That means H. pylori could silently be setting you up for atherosclerosis while you're none the wiser.

    So, whether you're living with coronary heart disease... or just want to prevent it... getting tested for H. pylori isn't a bad idea.

    That's especially true if you have telltale symptoms like heartburn, bad breath, and abdominal discomfort.

    And if it turns out you DO have H. pylori, think twice before you swallow an antibiotic, which is the standard treatment. Many strains of H. pylori have become to resistant to common antibiotics, which means that the drugs will kill off your GOOD bugs while sparing this intruder!

    Studies have shown that everything from probiotics to raw garlic and even green tea can show H. pylori the door – naturally.

  2. The garden secret to healthy arteries

    Aging sure is full of ironies.

    All too often, your body up and does the OPPOSITE of what you want it to do.

    Your hair thins, but your waistline thickens... and your bones go soft while your arteries harden.

    And while there's no magic elixir that'll turn back the clock on aging, a new study shows that something packed with bone-strengthening nutrients can actually keep your arteries flexible, too.

    It's probably something you have in your vegetable bin right now.

    I'm talking about cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage!

    In the study, Australian researchers looked at the vegetable intake of nearly 1,000 older women to see if it would correspond with the thickness of their neck (a.k.a. "carotid") arteries (which they measured using sonograms).

    Now, when it comes to your carotid arteries, which deliver oxygen-rich blood to your brain, you don't want them to get thicker at all -- because that's an early indicator that atherosclerosis (a.k.a. “hardened arteries”) is underway.

    And when atherosclerosis stiffens and narrows these arteries, it sends your risk of a stroke sky high.

    In the study, researchers found that those who ate the MOST veggies overall had LOWER artery wall thickness than those who ate the LEAST.

    And when they zeroed in on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, the benefits were even more pronounced.

    For each additional 10 grams of cruciferous vegetables the women ate each day, they had carotid artery walls that were 0.8 mm less thick.

    Now, that may not sound like a huge reduction, but it's actually pretty significant -- because even just a 0.1 mm decrease in thickness translates to an 18-percent decrease in the risk of stroke and heart attack.

    And considering that there are about 150 grams in one cup of vegetables, 10 grams is a ridiculously small amount to achieve such a big impact!

    Now, ALL vegetables contain nutrients and plant compounds that are known to lower the risk of atherosclerosis.

    But only cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called "sulforaphane," which packs a strong punch against atherosclerosis by lowering inflammation and regulating lipid metabolism.

    Sulforaphane has even been shown to slash your risk of multiple cancers!

    And cruciferous vegetables are also loaded with calcium, vitamin K, and magnesium, which are essential for strong bones.

    So, if you want your bones to be solid... and your arteries to be supple... fill your plate with crunchy cruciferous veggies.

    Of course, chomping on broccoli and cauliflower isn't for everyone.

    If you're looking for more choices, try their cruciferous cousins arugula, kale, turnips, radishes, and watercress.

    But if you just don't enjoy the taste of these veggies, you can pick up sulforaphane supplements at your local health food store or online.

  3. Eating breakfast lowers the risk of atherosclerosis

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day... for your arteries? Good evening. Maybe you're already wrapping up the day... or maybe you're just getting around to preparing dinner... but I've already got my mind on breakfast. Now, I know that you may not consider yourself a "breakfast person." And there are lots of reasons as to why that...
  4. Natural treatments can improve atherosclerosis

    Proven supplements like magnesium and grape seed extract have been shown to stop and possibly reverse atherosclerosis.
  5. The delicious road to artery health

    Want an easy way to help keep your arteries clear? Try a little cocoa.
  6. An oily slope for "bad" fat

    Polyunsaturated fats, which include almost all vegetable oils and no animal fats, are unhealthy and lead to atherosclerosis purgatory.

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