Diseases of the cardiovascular system are among the leading causes of death worldwide. The vast majority of these diseases develop against the background of sclerotic changes in blood vessels. An important role in the appearance of pathologies of the vascular wall is played by the formation of so-called cholesterol plaques. These are seals made up of cholesterol molecules. They reduce the lumen of the vessel, reducing the rate of blood flow.
Cholesterol (including its "bad" modifications) enters the human body with food of animal origin. In youth, when metabolic processes are intense, this substance is successfully removed from the bloodstream. Over time, metabolism slows down, and sometimes its disorders occur, associated with the gradual accumulation of the consequences of the harmful effects of aggressive factors, stress, unhealthy habits and various diseases. As a result, "bad" cholesterol is deposited on the walls of blood vessels, forming plaques. If untreated, the consequences can be very sad: the deterioration of blood flow is fraught with the development of pathologies such as varicose veins, angina pectoris, heart rhythm disturbances, acute heart failure, myocardial infarction and strokes.
The process of sclerosis of the walls of blood vessels can be stopped (and even reduce existing disorders) with the help of properly selected therapy. At the initial stages of the disease, diet therapy is effective, which consists, in particular, in the inclusion in the diet of products that can reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood and improve the rheological properties of the blood.
1. Barley groats
Barley grains contain the polysaccharide beta-glucan. In combination with a large amount of B vitamins and carotenoids, this substance actively reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. The composition of barley includes components that reduce blood clotting and prevent the formation of blood clots.
To protect blood vessels, it is better to use not boiled barley groats (barley), but sprouts grown from whole (unpeeled) seeds.
2. Flax seed
Flaxseed is a unique product rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Its use in food helps to remove excess cholesterol from the body and even reduce the size of existing sclerotic plaques. The best option for extracting useful substances is the preparation of an aqueous infusion of flax seeds.
It should be noted that the beneficial properties of flaxseed are well preserved in cold-pressed linseed oil.
3. Olive oil
Mediterranean cuisine is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Representatives of peoples who adhere to the Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer from cerebral vascular sclerosis. Experts believe that the reason for this phenomenon is the saturation of their diet with vegetables, fruits, seafood and olive oil.
Cold pressed olive oil is rich in omega-9 fatty acids. They are easily absorbed by the body, help cleanse the blood of excess cholesterol, normalize metabolism, increase the elasticity of the walls of blood vessels.
Like other seeds, nuts are rich in biologically active substances that contribute to the overall health of the body and slow down the aging process. To maintain the health of the cardiovascular system, walnuts and cashews are most useful: they increase the elasticity and tone of blood vessels, help lower blood cholesterol levels. Almonds contain substances that activate the process of hematopoiesis.
It should be remembered that nuts often cause allergic reactions, so their inclusion in the diet requires caution in people prone to allergies.
5. Fatty fish
Fatty marine fish (herring, mackerel, halibut, etc.) are considered one of the best sources of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These products are recommended for the elderly, as well as patients with metabolic disorders. Fish is easier to digest than meat products, contains high-grade animal proteins, vitamins and microelements (including iodine and phosphorus necessary for the body). Its regular use helps to actively fight the process of vascular sclerosis. It has been established that the inclusion of oily sea fish in the daily diet reduces the risk of developing acute heart failure and myocardial infarction.
All legumes have a pronounced choleretic effect. Their regular use in food helps rid the blood of excess cholesterol. Beans, peas, soybeans, lentils and beans are rich in proteins, which are similar in composition to animal proteins, although they are somewhat less digestible.
For those who do not like or tolerate dishes made from mature beans, green pods (shoulders) collected at the stage of milky ripeness are perfect. The required amount of this tasty product can be grown independently in the garden and even on the balcony. Varieties of asparagus beans (cowpeas) have been specially bred, the pods of which reach 50–60 cm in length and remain soft for a long time.
This exotic fruit contains a large amount of unsaturated fats, which are easily digested and help lower blood cholesterol levels. Avocados also contain B vitamins, folic acid, and copper compounds. This is one of the best foods that saturate the body with antioxidants. To maintain the health of the heart and blood vessels, one avocado per week is enough.
Read more interesting facts about the benefits of avocados in our article "Avocado benefits for health and longevity".
8. Bitter chocolate
Bitter varieties of chocolate (containing a high percentage of cocoa butter) are not liked by everyone, but they are rich in essential oils that have a beneficial effect on blood composition. A few pieces of treats will help remove excess cholesterol from the body and reduce the number of platelets.
Dark chocolate is effective in dealing with stress, increases the overall tone of the body and working capacity, normalizes the immune system and improves memory.
The danger of vascular sclerosis is associated, among other things, with the gradual process. Cholesterol plaques form slowly, and the pathology may not manifest itself for a long time. That is why it is necessary to periodically do tests to determine the concentration of "bad" cholesterol in the blood. It is recommended to start such surveys for men at 30–35 years old, and for women at 40–45 years old, and then repeat every 5 years.
People who are at risk for cardiovascular pathologies should be especially attentive to their health. Factors that increase the likelihood of such diseases include:
- genetic predisposition;
- eating disorders;
- the presence of chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, etc.);
- tendency to obesity;
- frequent stress;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- postmenopausal period in women.
The presence of pathological changes in blood vessels may be indicated by increasing headaches, dizziness, constant pain in the legs, fatigue, memory impairment, emotional instability, the appearance of visual illusions (“flies”, color spots), hearing or vision loss. If you notice these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
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