Researchers agree that diet plays a critical role in both the development and treatment of atherosclerosis. Here are some dietary tips to help fight atherosclerosis.
Cholesterol is the main component of atheromatous plaque.
- Many studies correlate high levels of cholesterol in the blood with atherosclerosis.
- Research indicates that atherosclerosis can be slowed down and even reversed by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
- It is especially important to lower your low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, the bad type of cholesterol.
- Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol in the blood, probably by interfering with intestinal absorption of bile acids. This forces the liver to use the cholesterol that is circulating to make more bile.
- Oat bran, oatmeal, lentils and legumes, pears, apples, citrus fruits, barley, guar gum and psyllium all contain high levels of soluble fiber.
Reduce your triglyceride levels
A high level of triglycerides, another type of lipid circulating in the blood, can also contribute to atherosclerosis.
- People with diabetes tend to have high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, which may explain why diabetics are so vulnerable to heart disease.
- Although the consumption of high-cholesterol foods is not as instrumental as a high-fat diet, high dietary cholesterol intake can increase blood lipid levels.
- Experts recommend limiting dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day.
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines and other cold-water fish lower triglyceride levels. They also reduce the tendency to form clots of blood.
Remove more fat from your diet
If you have atherosclerosis, try to limit your total fat intake to 20 to 30% of calories.
- Saturated fats must not constitute more than 10% of calories.
- Experts suggest reducing the intake of trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats.
- These trans fats are the result of hydrogenation and are known to increase your LDL cholesterol levels.
- Trans fat is found in packaged foods such as cookies, crackers and snack foods such as potato chips.
Consume more antioxidants
Studies indicate that beta-carotene and vitamins C and E can protect against atherosclerosis.
- These nutrients prevent LDL cholesterol from accumulating in the atheroma plaque.
- Regular consumption of soy protein can raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and also provide antioxidant protection.
Some dietary changes may help prevent and relieve the symptoms of atherosclerosis. If you reduce cholesterol and fatty foods, you can lead a better life and less inhibited by this dangerous problem.