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Women's Heart Health

Posted on by Evergreen Nutrition
Image Women's Heart Health

Up until relatively recently men were believed to be at greater risk for heart disease. Women seemed to have built-in protection. However, we now know that women are getting cardiovascular disease (CVD) in increasing numbers and severity. Studies in 2012 linked Metabolic Syndrome with increased risk of CVD in both men and women, but the rate was higher for women.

RISK FACTORS THAT AFFECT WOMEN

Obesity, high homocysteine levels, increased cortisol levels and exogenous estrogens increase the risk of Metabolic Syndrome. The term Cardiometabolic Syndrome refers to risk factors for CVD resulting from Metabolic Syndrome which increases the risk of atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, heart attack, stroke and hypertension. The damage is done via high blood pressure, increased adipose tissue (unhealthy fat) and widespread inflammation. In addition, Metabolic Syndrome is a factor in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

YOU CAN LOWER YOUR RISK

Fortunately, we can significantly lower the risk of cardiometabolic-related heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices. Regular exercise, especially high intensity weight training, and a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet are important. Also, frequently eating nuts can reduce the risk of Metabolic Syndrome as can dietary fiber. In addition, curtailing consumption of alcohol, soft drinks, unhealthy fats and sugars will reduce the risk of Metabolic Syndrome. Smoking tobacco is also a detrimental factor. Since elevated cortisol levels contribute to insulin resistance, stress-management techniques may also be helpful.

SUPPLEMENTAL HELP

The mineral CHROMIUM helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improves the metabolism of glucose, improving the conversion of glucose to energy. Chromium also concentrates in the brain and muscles, helping to reduce carb cravings and improving muscle growth and strength. It also helps to reduce overall cholesterol levels while increasing HDL and lowering LDL, the "good" and "bad" cholesterol, respectively. Chromium also has cardiovascular benefits and may inhibit hypertension caused by excessive consumption of the simple sugar sucrose.

The B-COMPLEX vitamins help to reduce homocysteine levels and decrease insulin resistance. VITAMINS A, C, D and E are also helpful as are healthy fats like FISH OIL and GLA. Also, COENZYME Q-10 is an important antioxidant for cardiovascular health.

The water-soluble fiber, GLUCOMANNAN, from the Konjac plant contributes to healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also helps to suppress the appetite and may be useful for maintaining healthy weight. If you use glucomannan, be sure to take a Vitamin E supplement. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient important for heart function and glucomannan enhances bile activity which speeds up removal of fats from the body.

ONE CONDITION MANY NAMES

  • Glucose Intolerance
  • Glucose Sensitivity
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Prediabetes
  • Syndrome X

They all refer to the same metabolic abnormalities that cause our cells' insulin receptors to become less sensitive to insulin thereby causing dangerously high levels of insulin.

ALSO MANY RISKS

Metabolic Syndrome increases the risk of:

  • Diabetes Type 2
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels
  • Elevated Triglycerides
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Fatty Liver
  • And More

FOODS CAN HELP, TOO

The good news is that lowering the risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome is within our power. A healthy diet and lifestyle will enhance our health and well-being and contribute to a long and happy life.

From Evergreen's Archive January 2015

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