Wondering how to live a longer, healthier life? It’s essential to focus on healthy habits to fight heart disease and stroke. In this post, we’ll cover 3 key factors that’ll help lower the risk of heart disease. We’ll also discuss how the keto diet, as explained in the Body Reboot book, can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease now and in the future.
Perfect Keto explains heart disease affects people and what takes place leading up to having a heart attack:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., with coronary heart disease (CHD) causing about 50% of deaths.
CHD is caused by a buildup of plaque in the walls of your arteries, which supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to your heart and other parts of your body.
Think of plaque as a waxy substance that builds up in layers like the plaque on your teeth. The plaques that can form in your arteries are made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances.
In a process known as atherosclerosis, the plaques keep growing bigger, and can eventually begin to narrow and block blood flow your heart and around your body.
Eventually, your heart muscle will begin to weaken which can lead to heart failure, a condition where the heart can no longer pump normally.
When the blood flow to your heart becomes blocked enough, you have a heart attack.
1. Have a healthy diet
One of the best ways to fight heart disease is by having a healthy diet. In particular, the ketogenic diet, which is a high fat, low carb diet, can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Learn more from Perfect Keto on how the keto diet fights inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance.
Some of the biggest risk factors for heart disease are:
Insulin resistance (and, if insulin resistance goes unchecked, type II diabetes)
Let’s take a look at these heart disease risk factors and see how the keto diet affects each of them.
#1: A KETOGENIC DIET REVERSES INSULIN RESISTANCE AND TYPE II DIABETES
There’s a strong correlation between insulin resistance and type II diabetes and the risk of heart disease. In fact, the AHA considers diabetes to be one of the seven major risk factors for developing heart disease.
Here’s the connection — When you have insulin resistance (or diabetes), you have too much glucose (sugar) roaming around your bloodstream.
Over time, that excess glucose can damage your blood vessels along with the nerves that control your blood vessels. This can ultimately lead to heart disease.
People who are 65 or older with diabetes have a 68% chance of dying from heart disease.
Eating a keto diet is one of the best things you can do for insulin resistance or diabetes.
By avoiding carbohydrates that turn into excess sugar in your blood, you’re protecting your blood vessels from the potential damage that blood glucose can cause, which in turn protects you from heart disease.
A keto diet is so good at reducing blood sugar levels that many people are able to come off of their diabetes medications entirely. That makes a major difference when it comes to heart disease risk.
#2: A KETOGENIC DIET MAY REDUCE INFLAMMATION
More and more research suggests that inflammation plays a big role in heart disease[*].
New studies suggest that inflammation may damage your arterial wall and cause cholesterol to oxidize in your arteries, forming plaques that drive heart disease.
Your level of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker, is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Research on keto and inflammation is still young. That said, the preliminary research is promising. Several animal studies have found that keto is great for decreasing chronic inflammation.
In one study, rats were fed a ketogenic diet for 14 days. At the end of the 14 days, they showed a significant drop in chronic inflammation, as well as decreased peripheral and brain inflammation.
Ketones themselves may have anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, beta-hydroxybutyrate — one of the main sources of fuel you use on ketosis — causes a dramatic decrease in inflammatory response.
#3: A KETOGENIC DIET IS GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND FIGHTS OBESITY
Obesity is one of the major contributors to heart disease.
The correlation comes not just from the increased body fat itself, but from factors that come along with obesity like increased blood pressure, risk of stroke, and diabetes.
Obesity is also linked to a large left heart ventricle, which is a common cause of heart failure.
If you’re looking to lose some weight, the ketogenic diet is an excellent option. You’ll not only shed extra pounds, but your hunger will also diminish so you won’t be walking around craving sugar.
A study of more than 19,000 obese patients found that a keto diet was the best way to cause rapid weight loss.
Even better, when researchers followed up with the participants a year later, close to 85% of those who lost weight had kept the weight off.
That’s very rare — most people gain weight back — and it speaks to how sustainable a ketogenic diet is. Researchers reported no adverse effects and determined that the keto diet was a safe, effective, and inexpensive treatment for obesity.
2. Stay active
Heart.org argues how important it is to be physically active. Regularly working out or at least getting out to walk can significantly reduce your chances of dealing with heart issues later in life.
Move more – it’s one of the best ways to stay healthy, prevent disease and age well. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. If you’re already active, you can increase your intensity for even more benefits. If you’re not active now, get started by simply sitting less and moving more.
Web MD further explains how exercise can strengthen your heart muscle and how something as simple as a daily walk can make a huge difference.
Your heart is a muscle, and it gets stronger and healthier if you lead an active life. It's never too late to start exercising, and you don't have to be an athlete. Even taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference.
Once you get going, you'll find it pays off. People who don't exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease as people who are active.
Regular exercise can help you:
Lower your blood pressure
Reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol
Boost your HDL “good” cholesterol
How Much Should You Exercise and How Often?
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk waking). That amounts to about 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week. If you're just getting started, you can slowly build up to that.
In time, you can make your workouts longer or more challenging. Do that gradually, so your body can adjust.
When you work out, keep your pace low for a few minutes at the start and end of your workout. That way, you warm up and cool down each time.
3. Stay at a healthy weight
For some people, staying at a healthy weight is challenging. However, as Heart.org recommends, it’s essential to prevent heart disease and other issues from cropping up.
Stay at a healthy weight for you. Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Start by eating fewer calories and moving more. You can check your body mass index (BMI). If you need help, talk to your health care team about a weight loss plan.
Just like the keto diet works well for heart disease prevention, it also can help you lose weight. The Bulletproof Blog explains how this happens, and you should get excited because unlike some diets, this diet actually works!
The keto diet forces your body to burn fat, rather than glucose, for energy. When your body can’t get glucose from bread and pasta, your liver converts body fat and fat from your diet into molecules called ketones, an alternative source of fuel. This puts you into ketosis, aka prime weight loss mode.
When you’re on keto, you’re less hungry. Ketones help control hormones that influence appetite. They suppress ghrelin, your “hunger hormone,” and at the same time they boost cholecystokinin (CCK) — the hormone that keeps you feeling full. You won’t want to snack as regularly, making it easier to go longer without food. Your body will then reach into its fat stores for energy. The result? More weight loss.
You eat a ton of good fats on keto, and fat is satiating, helping you feel full for longer. Fat also keeps your blood sugar stable, so you don’t experience energy highs and lows. When your body runs on ketones for fuel, it has a steady supply of energy in the form of body fat. When your body relies on glucose, it needs a regular hit of carbs to keep it going. Think of how you feel after eating a white bread sandwich and kettle chips for lunch. You’re ready to raid the fridge a couple of hours later. When you instead eat some grass-fed steak with butter-drenched steamed vegetables, you’ll power through your afternoon minus any distracting cravings.
Check out the Body Reboot book to learn more about the keto diet and how it not only may prevent heart disease, but other conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and more. To get a free copy of our book, all you have to do is help us cover shipping. Visit this page to get a free copy right away before they’re all gone.
Sources: Heart.org, Web MD, Perfect Keto, Bulletproof Blog
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