How to help prevent Cardiovascular Disease by eating a low carbohydrate, high fat diet
Heart disease is a very real issue for most of us. Cardiovascular disease explains a large variety of ailments which contribute to an increased rate of heart hypertension and heart attacks. And plaques in the arteries limit bloodflow, causing raised blood pressure. Plaques are fatty deposits that build up inside arteries. They can even come loose, potentially causing blockages in the brain (this causes strokes) and in the heart (this causes heart attacks).
Our increased life expectancy means more of us are living to an age where our muscles begin to weaken. And when our muscles weaken, it isn’t only our skeletal, visible muscles that degrade. Our heart muscles start to soften too.
The best defense against cardiovascular troubles?
The most effective ways of defending against heart disease are to keep our bodies in excellent working order. Daily or a minimum of weekly exercise, a mix of high intensity and endurance workouts, not smoking cigarettes or consuming things that we are allergic to and keeping stress levels low will all decrease our risk of heart problems.
“The enemy is fat”…?
In the 1970s, we were told that fat was the enemy. It was making us fat and damaging our hearts, or so they said. In the wake of the new standards they introduced which demonized fat and advised us to have higher carb consumption, our waists got bigger and the rate of heart disease went up too.
So they investigated the effects of fat on our bodies. And they found that…
- dietary cholesterol does not cause elevated blood cholesterol in the long term, and
- many plant-based fats are incredibly good for us — and they’re widely eaten in cultures where people are slimmer and live longer than we Westerners do.
So the new enemy became saturated fat
But then… saturated fat was found to have no effect of heart disease rates outside of the West.
Now we see that natural oils and fats are good… very healthy, in fact
Yes, they’ve discovered that fish oils are as beneficial to us as natural plant oils. And now we are starting to realize that whole, unprocessed fats, even saturated ones such as bone broth or coconut oil, are actually very healthy for us.
The problem was… when we started eating fewer of the healthy fats like cholesterol found in egg yolks, we replaced these healthy fats with processed vegetable oils and trans fats. Unhealthy fats, in other words.
But even when we cut back on those unhealthy fats, we replaced them with carbs. But not healthy carbs.
We replaced our healthy fats with unhealthy fats, and our unhealthy fats with simple sugars and processed white starches. This is what is driving our spike in obesity and heart disease.
The simple answer
A high fat, low carb diet can go a long way to lowering the threat of having a drama with our heart.
To start with, by reducing our consumption of carbs we can focus on quality over quantity. Instead of the plentiful easy carbohydrates, replace them with a few whole carbohydrates and lots of low carb leafy greens and root vegetables. Doing this means we’ll get more nutrition for less calories.
Eating less calories reduces swelling throughout our bodies. We are likewise raising our blood sugar level less, which reduces inflammation everywhere, including in our arteries and heart. A less inflamed circulatory system translates into a substantially decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dietary fat is good, if…
Eating more fats is a great step to improving satiety (feeling full) and reducing our calorie intake. But we must also focus on QUALITY FATS. Whole, unprocessed, natural fats like the oils found in fish and naturally-reared meats, coconut oil, olive oil, and grass-fed butter are all powerful antioxidants. They also help nourish the immune system by carrying vitamins and minerals essential to proper immune function.
It is also important not to overcook our fats. Overcooked fats and proteins can lead to increased consumption of AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts, which in case you were wondering are bad for your heart). By eating healthier, minimally cooked natural fats, we can improve our cardiovascular health and reduce our risk of heart disease.
If you want to dig deeper into “heart healthy” eating:
- “Metabolic syndrome is a precursor to diabetes, coronary heart disease, and other serious illnesses. Patients have long been advised to eat a low-fat diet even though carbohydrate restriction has been found to be more effective at reducing specific markers, such as high triglycerides. A new study indicates that a diet low in carbohydrates is also more effective than a diet low in fat in reducing saturated fatty acids in the blood and reducing markers of inflammation.” Source: ScienceDaily’s “Low-carb Diet Reduces Inflammation And Blood Saturated Fat In Metabolic Syndrome” Click here
- “Research shows that a moderately low-carbohydrate diet can help the heart, as long as protein and fat selections come from healthy sources.” Source: Harvard School of Public Health’s “Low-Carbohydrate Diets” Click here