Recently, the media reported that the number of people with cardiovascular diseases in our country is currently growing. According to the Heart Foundation, this is not necessary at all, because, with the right lifestyle and diet, at least 70% of hospital admissions due to cardiovascular diseases can be prevented. What measures you can take to keep your cardiovascular system as healthy as possible, aside from drinking green tea such as TeaBurn, we will discuss them in detail in this article.
Diseases of the cardiovascular system are the number two cause of death in the Netherlands. Earlier this month it was announced that the Netherlands has dropped a few places on the list of the healthiest countries in the world. The healthiest country at the moment appears to be Spain. In Spain, fewer and fewer people get cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet is largely responsible for this. Olive oil and nuts in particular seem to make a major contribution. Preferably mixed nuts, because each nut contains different nutrients that can keep our cardiovascular system healthy.
According to a very recent study, a plant-based diet is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. That is because this diet is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and especially active plant substances. Polyunsaturated fatty acids would also have a very beneficial effect on our veins. The researchers mention that a Mediterranean diet is almost as effective. As long as processed products and red meat are avoided. Fatty fish is recommended again because of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetables rich in nitrate, in particular, can dilate veins and improve blood flow. Nitrate can be converted in the body into nitric oxide, which is a powerful vasodilator. Examples of nitrate-rich vegetables are beets and spinach.
Doctors often talk about cholesterol as a predictor of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine is not usually mentioned, which is likely to be a much better indicator of future health problems. Too high homocysteine levels can be caused by a deficiency of micronutrients, especially vitamins B6 and B12. In the Netherlands, more than half a million people are deficient in vitamin B12. A source of vitamin B12 can be eggs. It used to be thought that eggs would be bad for the heart, but now this advice has been revised for some time. Up to 7 eggs per week would be completely safe, according to researchers.
Coffee and tea
Many people drink soda to quench their thirst. Drinking this sugar water regularly is one of the worst things you can do when it comes to the deterioration of the arteries. Instead, it is better to drink coffee and green tea, which work particularly beneficially on the cardiovascular system. People who drink 3–5 cups of coffee a day have a 15% lower chance of getting cardiovascular disease, according to researchers. Green tea also works beneficially. The antioxidants in the form of EGCG ensure this. The tea should then steep for at least 3 minutes so that the water has time to absorb these substances. If you combine a cup of coffee or green tea with dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more), you lower your chances of cardiovascular disease even further. The researchers do report that you should not eat more than 100 grams of chocolate per week, otherwise it can have a counterproductive effect. So 1 – 2 wedges a day is sufficient for health gain, more is not always better.
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The medical literature also frequently mentions the beneficial effect of garlic on our veins. The researchers recommend consuming 2 wedges (= 4 grams) of raw garlic daily for maximum effect. Especially raw garlic works powerfully.
Adding some chili pepper to your meals daily can help keep the veins in good shape, due to the capsaicin present. Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon also have a positive effect on our cardiovascular system.
Nutrition alone is not enough to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Sleeping well and getting a lot of exercise is at least as important. These two have a lot of influence on each other: when you move a lot, you sleep better, and when you sleep better, you have more energy to become active. According to the researchers, exercise primarily causes a decrease in stress, which can then positively influence sleep. Any kind of exercise is good, walking, cycling, gardening, dancing and so on. Choose exercise that suits you, then it will remain fun and you will keep it up in the long term.
Many Dutch people walk around with a magnesium deficiency. Recent studies show that having high magnesium levels is associated with a lower risk of heart problems. You can supplement magnesium or eat more foods that contain it. Magnesium is high in green leafy vegetables (spinach), nuts, avocados, whole grains, legumes, and chocolate.
Another supplement that has recently gained attention for its beneficial effect on the arteries is vitamin K. In particular, vitamin K2 in the form of MK4 and MK7 appears to have a powerful effect on the calcification of the veins. With an APG finger pulse oximeter, you can determine to what extent your veins are calcified. The process seems reversible. The good news is that our gut flora can produce and absorb the right vitamin K2 on its own. So it’s important to have a good microbiome.
A disturbance in the intestinal flora can have a very detrimental effect on our cardiovascular system. Unfavorable bacteria can produce toxins (such as TMAO), while beneficial bacteria can produce anti-inflammatory compounds. Inflammation, in particular, is an enemy of a healthy vascular system. One fatty acid that can inhibit these inflammations is butyrate (butyric acid), which is produced by specific gut bacteria.
Recently, assistant professor Erwin Kompanje was our guest to give a lecture about optimizing your microbiome for the benefit of the cardiovascular system. We recorded this lecture and it can be seen for a modest fee.