Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Many people don’t realize that the key to turning this around could be on their plate.

Let’s take a look at six facts that we all need to know to keep our hearts healthy.

Fiber boosts heart health

In order to boost heart health, you want to eat foods really high in fiber. The soluble fiber, in particular, is helpful, and then it acts like a sponge soaks up excess cholesterol in your body and sends it out, so eat foods like beans, peas, lentils, apples, and citrus fruits in order to lower your cholesterol.

Heart disease begins in childhood

People often think of heart disease as an exclusively adult problem, but many of the signs and symptoms can actually begin during childhood. One study found that 40% of children ages 6 through 11 have elevated cholesterol levels.

Third of the US children struggle with overweight or obesity, and more children than ever are now at risk for high blood pressure. Studies have even found that atherosclerosis or the thickening of the arteries starts in childhood.

High-fat meals damage heart health

Even though heart disease may not manifest until much later in life when you eat just one high-fat meal or one high-fat product like a milkshake, your blood viscosity goes up, meaning your blood is much thicker your triglycerides just skyrocket. So imagine if you eat like that every meal for four years of your life.

Heart disease can be reversed

In 1990 Dr. Dean Ornish published a groundbreaking study that showed that a plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle could reverse heart disease without medication without surgeries without stents.

Within weeks of starting a plant-based diet, 90% of participants’ chest pain diminished, and after just one month, blood flow to the heart improved. After a year, even severely blocked arteries had reopened.

Warning signs of heart disease

A diet high in meat and cheese can cause cholesterol and fat to build up in the arteries. These blockages don’t occur just in the arteries in the chest.

Atherosclerosis can strike any artery in the body leading to symptoms that may be early signs of heart disease such as lower back pain, erectile dysfunction, or cold hands or feet.

Eat red fruit and vegetables

The color red represents heart health awareness, but did you know that eating red fruits and vegetables also gives your heart health and extra boost.

These foods get their bright red color from antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins, protecting heart health and decreasing inflammation.

Fruits and veggies contain potassium – which can help lower your blood pressure, so dig into tomatoes, red peppers, berries, and other fruits and veggies.

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