Learn How Functional Medicine Provider in Vancouver WA Can Help with Heart Disease
Functional Medicine for Heart Disease
Heart health is one of the primary reasons people seek Functional Medicine care. There are several things that contribute to risk for cardiovascular events including high blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels, plaque, and increased “bad” cholesterol (1). A cardiovascular event is anything that interrupts blood flow to your heart causing damage to the heart muscle such as heart attack, stroke, and/or heart arrythmias such as atrial fibrillation.
It is especially important to note that many people have asymptomatic atherosclerosis – there are no symptoms of the plaque buildup in their blood vessels. In one study, 49.4% of participants had at least one stenotic (hardened) vessel, and 27% had multiple stenotic vessels (2) putting them at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke without any symptoms to tell them they were at risk. Cardiovascular events are the leading cause of death in the United States. By detecting some of the key contributors to heart disease, we can address them and work on lifestyle changes to lower your risk for a cardiovascular event.
What can help lower my risk?
We can do so much for our heart health through lifestyle modification! What we put into our bodies, how we move, the stress we are under, supportive or toxic relationships, and how we sleep all impact heart health. In the world of Functional Medicine, many practitioners recommend several servings of different colored vegetables per day – eat the rainbow in veggies every day for a huge boost to your phytonutrient consumption and overall health consumption. In addition to a diet high in vegetables, eating healthy fish, fruit, and the correct fatty acids contributes to overall wellness (3) as does increased consumption of mushrooms, legumes, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, green tea, fermented foods, and seaweed (4).
If you are looking for a food plan to follow to simplify your choices in how to help your heart with food, I often recommend the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan. Our Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) Amber is tremendously helpful in guiding you through implementation of this food plan, offering support as you encounter obstacles, and giving you ideas about creative ways to eat the recommended foods. In addition to this specialized heart health food plan, research abounds for dietary recommendations to help support hearth health, and the Mediterranean diet has long been known to support the cardiovascular system and reduce risk for cardiac events (5). Research also shows that an overall healthy lifestyle including use of a Mediterranean, vegetarian, Nordic, or DASH diet helps prevent or delay cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), and metabolic syndrome (6)
What Do I Need to Avoid?
Looking for foods to cut out of your diet? There are several foods that contribute to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and the buildup of plaque including sugar, processed foods, saturated fatty acids, fried foods, refined grains, and conventional red meat (7,8). These are all foods that are part of the standard American diet (SAD). When this type of diet is consumed, it increases risk for obesity, glucose intolerance, metabolic syndrome, and inflammation putting you at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, PCOS, and cardiovascular events. A study of over 9500 people demonstrated the relationship between a standard Western diet and metabolic syndrome (9). This same study also showed the top contributing factors for developing metabolic syndrome were abdominal obesity (79.8%), elevated fasting blood sugar (77.5%), high blood pressure (62.4%), low HDL – “good cholesterol” (58.5%), and high triglycerides – a form of “bad cholesterol” (48.5%). Avoiding empty calories such as sugary beverages or energy drinks, fried foods, and processed foods can go a long way in keeping your heart healthy.
Want to Know More?
Check out the information on CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE in the link below. Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach Amber can help you implement changes to meet your goals of protecting your heart and living a healthier lifestyle!