Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death both in the UK and worldwide. Coronary heart disease is a term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. Clogged arteries are the direct result of poor lifestyle decisions, so shunning unhealthy lifestyle habits can keep your heart healthy and stave off the risk of death.
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Poor dietary decisions is one of the primary culprits of heart disease so it is important to avoid certain items.
Research also shows that increasing your intake of specific dietary items may also provide protection.
It is well understood that foods low in a type of fat called saturated fat offer robust protection against heart disease, for example, but research also makes a surprising case for glucosamine, a natural supplement that is commonly taken to ease arthritis pain.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, analysed the diet and lifestyle of almost half a million adults aged 40 to 69 in the UK, and followed them up for an average of seven years.
They found people who regularly took glucosamine were about 15 percent less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
Commenting on their findings, the researchers said: “Habitual use of glucosamine supplement to relieve osteoarthritis pain might also be related to lower risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease] events.”
While the initial results are promising, the researchers acknowledge that further clinical trials are needed to test this hypothesis.
Proposing an explanation for the reduced risk association, the researchers said it may reduce inflammation, which is one factor in the development of heart disease.
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General dietary tips to reduce your risk of heart disease
The most effective way to protect your heart and keep the risks of heart disease at bay is to adopt an an overall heart-healthy approach to living.
Diet forms an essential pillar of this approach, and, according to the NHS, eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, which includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains, is essential.
You should also limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than six grams (0.2oz) a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure, advises the health body.
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High blood pressure causes the vessels that transport blood to your heart to lose their stretchiness and narrow.
This mechanism restricts the blood flow to this vital organ, starving your heart of oxygen, the primary cause of heart attacks.
For optimal heart benefits, you should combine a healthy diet with regular exercise, which is the best way of maintaining a healthy weight.
As the NHS points out, having a healthy weight reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure too.
“Regular exercise will make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level,” explains the health body.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood that sticks to your artery walls.
Eating foods high in saturated fats, such as processed foods, increases the levels of cholesterol in your blood.
Like high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol also block the flow of blood being transported to your heart, hiking your risk of having a heart attack.
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