Heart disease runs in my family and I already have borderline high blood pressure.
Q. Dear Terry, “Heart disease runs in my family and I already have borderline high blood pressure. I’ve witnessed how devastating heart disease can be and I don’t want the same problems to happen to me. What do you recommend for prevention?” — Kurt D., Anchorage, AK
A. Dear Kurt, Unfortunately, heart disease is far too common in our society and is the number one cause of death in America. So I think anything we can do to prevent heart disease is incredibly important, and I applaud your desire to do so.
Step one in your heart health plan should be eliminating refined sugar and carbohydrates. For more information on this, you can review my diet here or watch my webinar. For additional information, I also recommend checking out the following websites: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com and www.drperlmutter.com. You should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
I believe there are also some very important nutrients that I consider “must-haves” for your heart. The first is a mineral that many of us are deficient in, magnesium, which is crucial for the cardiovascular system. In fact, magnesium deficiency may be one of the contributing causes to cardiovascular complications. Magnesium works with calcium to keep your heart beating in a regular rhythm, and is also important in keeping blood pressure from getting too high. There are a lot of supplemental forms of magnesium out there, but I prefer one that is chelated to the amino acid glycine.
Two botanicals that I believe are necessary for the cardiovascular system are pomegranate and grape seed extract. Grape seed extract is perhaps one of the most powerful natural compounds for the cardiovascular system. This botanical reduces high blood pressure, protects the blood vessel walls from free radical damage, and prevents the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Pomegranate is a great source of polyphenols and anthocyanins – natural compounds which protect us from oxidative damage and stop cellular deterioration. It has also been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol aggregation (the clumping together of oxidized cholesterol in the arteries), lower blood pressure, and boost the activity of enzymes that protect LDL from oxidation.
Lastly, there are two B vitamins that I think are very necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system: B1 (as benfotiamine), and B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate). Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. Deficiencies in this vitamin are very common in people with heart failure. Benfotiamine helps repair the cells inside your blood vessels and arteries, especially after damage caused by high blood sugar. Vitamin B6, in the P-5-P form, has been shown to reduce homocysteine (an amino acid associated with increased risk of heart disease). It also works to prevent ischemic heart disease, the narrowing of the arteries that leads to less blood and oxygen reaching the heart and ultimately, the painful condition called angina pectoris.
Terry . . . Naturally