Thursday, July 05, 2018 by Bridgette Wilcox
Staving off heart disease is simpler than you think. A recent study has found that the simple act of brisk walking for just 22 minutes a day is a great measure to prevent coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease), which happens when plaque builds up in the arteries. Even more riveting: The new study also debunked the long-held belief that saturated fat is the main culprit for clogging arteries.
In an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, expert cardiologists stressed that coronary heart disease is attributed not to dietary saturated fat, but to a chronic inflammatory condition that can be regulated by making healthy lifestyle choices that include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress reduction.
When it comes to exercise, the experts said that one does not have to make extreme changes to their daily physical activity. In fact, they noted that “regular brisk walking may also be more effective than running in preventing coronary disease,” saying that just 150 minutes of the low-intensity exercise a week can significantly increase life expectancy. At the same time, the experts stressed that a healthy diet is not necessarily one that is low in fat, as many people tend to assume. In their report, the experts highlighted the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which involves copious amounts of extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, and nuts, all of which rank high in terms of fatty acids. Their research found that such a diet actually decreased “cardiovascular events” in high-risk subjects by 30 percent.
Reducing stress is the third key factor in preventing coronary heart disease. According to the researchers, chronic stress could negatively impact one’s inflammatory response, putting one at great risk of coronary heart disease — which they said is a result of chronic inflammation. Making time for relaxation and leisure, engaging in different breathing techniques, doing things you are passionate about, and practicing meditation and aromatherapy are all favored techniques for fighting stress.
Even as modern medicine continues to suggest new procedures to combat coronary heart disease, this new research shows that the most efficient preventive measures may be the most simple ones. In their report, the researchers urged a paradigm shift when it comes to the treatment and prevention of the dreaded affliction.
“Coronary artery disease is a chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 minutes a day and eating real food. There is no business model or market to help spread this simple yet powerful intervention,” they said.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, coronary heart disease kills around 370,000 Americans every year, making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Older people are more vulnerable to the disease, with an increased risk starting at age 45 for men and age 55 for women.
Young people, however, are not immune to the disease, especially if they have the other risk factors associated with it. Those with a family history of coronary heart disease are more vulnerable to it, particularly if close relatives were diagnosed at younger ages. It is therefore vital to know one’s family medical history, as one’s risk can still be reduced if other risk factors are controlled. Being overweight or obese, as well as having high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and diabetes puts one at risk for coronary heart disease. Lack of physical activity and smoking also contribute to one’s heart disease risk.
This means that apart from exercising regularly, reducing stress, and eating healthy, losing weight, and quitting smoking may also help you greatly in preventing coronary heart disease.