Cardiovascular diseases, also known as heart diseases, are a group of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels, namely arteries and veins. Cardiovascular diseases are a name commonly used to refer to arteriosclerosis, a condition in which artery wall thickens because of a build-up of fatty materials such as cholesterol. Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise, because of the inappropriate lifestyle and diet. This group of illnesses annually kills more US citizens than cancer. It is especially frequent in women and kills more women than breast cancer. However, cardiovascular diseases are fully preventable. According to the studies, the vascular injury starts from adolescence, which means that the early prevention, even from the childhood, is very important.
Following a healthy diet can make a huge difference in one’s life and prevent many dangerous diseases, including cardiovascular ones. One scientific study found that vitamins are not effective in preventing cardiovascular diseases. However, a special dietary plan, such as Mediterranean diet, remains effective as means of prevention. Good dietary habits are something that a person should learn from the early childhood. A healthy, heart-friendly and health-beneficial diet plan should include eating a lot of foods rich in fibers, and low saturated fats and cholesterol. A diet should be abundant in plant foods, fresh fruit and should include olive oil as the principal source of fat. Dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, a couple of times per week. It is also advised to take alcohol, preferably red wine, in moderate amounts and daily.
To prevent cardiovascular diseases, one should exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Physical activity will help to control weight and reduce one’s chances of developing various conditions that may put additional pressure on heart: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Additional benefit is the stress reduction, and stress is well known as a causative agent for cardiovascular diseases. Even the simple daily activities may be good for optimum fitness level: gardening, vigorous cleaning of the house, walking up and down the stairs, walking the dog, or simply taking a walk whenever it is possible (for example, you can take a walk to the grocery store instead of driving in your car).
To avoid cardiovascular diseases, one should not smoke or use tobacco. This is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco will damage the heart and blood vessels.
One should also avoid drinking too much alcohol, but moderate use of alcohol is found to be beneficial for heart health. The dietary guidelines propose that people should have up to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.