Cardiovascular disease Coffs Harbour – Cardiovascular disease is a collective term for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, such as – coronary heart disease, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, stroke etc. Adverse nutritional, lifestyle and environmental exposures contribute to cardiovascular disease, and include:
Since it was first observed in the 1960s that people of the Mediterranean had lower rates of cardiovascular disease, many studies have been carried out to test the hypothesis that this is due, at least in part, to their diet – termed the Mediterranean Diet (MD). The diet is characterised by abundant plant foods (fruit, vegetables, breads, other forms of cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds), fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert, olive oil as the principal source of fat, dairy products (principally cheese and yogurt), and fish and poultry consumed in low to moderate amounts, zero to four eggs consumed weekly, red meat consumed in low amounts, and wine consumed in low to moderate amounts, normally with meals. This diet is low in saturated fat (< or = 7-8% of energy), with total fat ranging from < 25% to < 35% of energy throughout the region. Compare this to the standard western diet that is high in saturated fat, sugar, alcohol and processed foods and low in fruit and vegetables.
Studies have shown that the MD can significantly reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality for both primary and secondary prevention. Furthermore, it has been shown to be highly cost effective compared to other interventions following a heart attack. It’s not entirely clear exactly what aspects of the MD confer the most health benefits, but it’s likely a combination of factors, such as: high in antioxidants, whole foods & micronutrients, low in energy & processed foods along with the fact that food is enjoyed with other people.
There is growing evidence of the benefits of a predominantly plant-based diet in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis, amongst other conditions. This suggests that the lower meat intake in the MD, particularly red meat, could be a contributing factor for the health benefits. Overwhelming evidence is now available to suggest that Government should be providing more funding towards dietary interventions that are much more affordable and sustainable than traditional interventions, such as surgery.
There is also extensive evidence for the use of targeted nutrient therapy for a range of cardiovascular conditions that are both safe and effective.
Lifestyle and environmental factors are also really important to consider in cardiovascular disease, highlighting the need for a holistic approach in order to achieve the best results.
Nutritional, lifestyle and environmental health interventions in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease are generally safe and effective and can nearly always be used alongside conventional medicine treatments. Therefore, if you have cardiovascular disease or at risk of developing it, the evidence shows that natural medicine is well worth trialing.
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