Do you know what atherosclerosis is? Besides being a word that is exceedingly difficult to pronounce, it basically means that your arteries are clogged up and your blood cannot flow freely. This leads to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
This would be a term if we were studying medicine right? What does food have to do with it?
Actually food has everything to do with it. People talk about arteries clogging up all the time. Arteries and veins are responsible for the blood flowing through your body. It carries nutrients and antibodies and is vital for the proper functioning of various parts.
There are foods that cause plaque to build up and block passageways and there are foods that naturally fight this off. Atherosclerosis is not the only reason why the royal red liquid is not reaching the destination that it is supposed to.
I am sure that you are assuming that these would be just like our regular plumbing – you just pour down a capful of Drainex or Mr Muscle and the acid will kill all the build up that is there and unlock the blockages…not quite!
The earliest humans did not have salt in their diet.
Just before you think that I am going all paleo and medieval on you, I am requesting you to indulge me a bit.
So back to the part of humans having virtually no salt in their diet and then you realise that the evolutionary process kept us a bit ill equipped because our bodies are designed to only allow us to consume one milligram of salt each day. Our present MTV generation has been exceeding those restrictions by miles and to top it, we have also cut down on the physical activities that we could or should be doing. Our lives are now all about acquiring the latest labour saving devices which is a real shame when a good bit of honest labour could set many things straight for us.
Anyway, I am getting excited and drifting all over. Back to the salt part!
When you consume excess salt, it retains fluid in the body which in turn raises blood pressure. The veins can’t handle the increased pressure and start becoming thicker and harder to cope with the pressure. As they grow thicker, they constrict the space between them and reduce the flow to a trickle or sometimes just burst which is not a really good sign. Now certain foods that we eat cause the body to produce cholesterol which is a wax-like substance. Cholesterol ties up with fat, calcium and other components of the blood to form plaque which in turn starts forming a build-up within arteries.
Although recent conflicting reports seem to suggest that the cholesterol build-up is a myth and has to be debunked, science and proper research that has been around for ages show that it still should be taken seriously. Foods rich in saturated fats like whole milk and cream, ice cream, butter, high fat cheese and processed meats like bacon or sausages are right at the top of the list of what you’ve got to avoid. And they are placed right besides trans fats which is a manmade solid fat that is created by pumping hydrogen into oil.
Trans fats are used by commercial kitchens to add flavour to their products and increase their shelf-life. They are found in cookies, cakes, products from most fast food chains, margarine or fried and frozen foods.
So far we seem to have crossed out more than half of my regular diet!
So what can we eat? Actually, the proper question is what do we eat to create that harmonious balance in our body? Spices like cinnamon and turmeric, vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers and bok choy which are rich in B vitamins and lower homocysteine which is an amino linked to heart disease. Carrots and tomatoes are full of carotenoids and lycopeine which are really important antioxidants.
Beets, spinach and lettuce are great sources of nitrates which get converted to nitric oxide during digestion. This gas is extremely important because it helps the arteries fight plaque build-up, contraction and blood coagulation which in turn prevent strokes from taking place. Adding fish to the diet, especially ones rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines and mackerel are known to reduce inflammation, triglyceride levels and prevent plaque from outwearing its welcome.
So the secret is not starving but eating right and you will instantly feel a world of difference. How could you not? You would have all the good stuff swirling around your body at top speeds!
Foods that improve circulation