The term atherosclerosis comes from Greek words Atheros (“mush”) and Skleros (“hard”). This term is used to describe the formation of fat and cholesterol deposits on the artery walls. The process of atherosclerosis or narrowing of arteries can occur in any artery in the body. When this process occurs in the arteries that supply the heart with blood, we talk about coronary artery disease the main cause of bouts of ischemia. The same process is carried out in cerebral arteries – cerebral atherosclerosis, condition which can lead to strokes.
Large cholesterol condensation in blood vessels that carry blood to the legs, can cause painful cramps in legs and feet (so-called intermittent claudication) even after short walks. Regardless of the arteries, atherosclerosis is caused by the same factors.
The main cause of atherosclerosis is the tendency to produce excess hormones during feeding – a tendency that increases with age. If high levels of insulin in the blood is maintained for a long time, a series of unpleasant processes occur: excess fluid retention, high blood pressure, accumulation of fat and increased diabetes risk.
In addition, there are other disorders that are associated with atherosclerosis: for example, high levels of insulin stimulate the liver to produce large quantities of cholesterol and triglycerides, the main “fats” contained in the blood. Increased insulin levels forces the body to produce small amounts of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) and large amounts of LDL-cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, high levels of insulin contribute to changes in the structure of cholesterol molecule, which accelerates depositing on artery walls and cause atherosclerosis. If you add other factors that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, such as smoking, you may have all chances to suffer from it.
Choosing a proper diet plays an important role in reducing atherosclerosis risk. If you follow a diet that provides the necessary amount of lean protein, contains more dietary fiber (cellular tissue), is rich in vegetables with minimum starch, balanced amounts of animal fats and vegetables, you will be able to stop the narrowing of the arteries
- Varying the kinds of protein consumed, especially using poultry meat on the menu and regularly adding seafood and freshwater fish, dairy fat, pork and lean beef and egg whites you will ensure 30% of your normal daily calorie need . Then eat enough vegetables: green, yellow and dark green leaves, rice and oats, to get 40% of daily calories.
- Limit consumption of wheat, maize and potatoes, although not necessary to exclude them completely from the diet, as starch, like sugar stimulates insulin production. Last 30% of daily calories can be obtained from animal and vegetable fats. Be sure to consume vegetable oils produced by cold pressing methods and make sure the amount of animal fat is not too large (about 10% of normal daily calories).
Do not use for dough preparation hidrogenizate vegetable oils such as margarine or solid vegetable fats, as they contribute effectively to the development of atherosclerosis. And do not fry anything! Even the highest quality fats, originally harmless to health, change their chemical structure when they are subject to very high temperatures.
Food rich in cellular tissues lower cholesterol levels, since the fibers have the ability to immobilize cholesterol in the intestine and thus may reduce its absorption. Following a certain diet, composed by the principles listed above you will now be on the right track, providing the body an increasing amount of dietary fiber.
The body uses essential fatty acids as raw material to produces an entire family of chemicals called eicosanoids. Like other families of chemicals, some eicosanoids can be considered “good” and others “bad.” Good eicosanoid, among other useful features, tend to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders (heart disease and narrowing of arteries) and high blood pressure. You can start with a diet based on the recommendations proposed above, to prepare the body for the next treatment: linoleic acid and fish oil in the ratio 1:4, 1-3 times per day.
Diets high in refined sugar and starch contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, increasing the amount of insulin levels. Exclude or reduce drastically refined starch consumption: wheat and corn flour, all kinds of sugar and all foods containing these substances.
Excessive consumption of alcohol may increase the risk of atherosclerosis. You should limit your daily consumption of alcohol at a level no more than one glass of wine.
Folic acid deficiency may increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis, as the body needs this vitamin to create an amino acid called homocysteine (contained by protein molecules that contributes to narrowing of the arteries), into another amino acid, methionine, it does not have this feature.
Insufficient vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may also influence the development of atherosclerosis so as group B vitamins and folic acid. Vitamin B6 converts homocysteine into another amino acid, also harmless, called cistationine. In the absence of vitamin B6, homocysteine sticks to artery walls, which increases the probability cholesterol deposition.
B12 deficiency also has the effect of homocysteine on artery walls, for the same reason, common to all vitamins of group B. Vitamin B12 transforms homocysteine into harmless cistationine.
Vitamin C deficiency leads to the formation of “patches” on the walls of damaged arteries These “patches” can become centers of accumulation of cholesterol that will reduce the diameter of the artery.
Daily administration of vitamin E may reduce risk of heart disease (in all likelihood, including atherosclerosis).
Calcium deficiency may contribute to atherosclerosis process due to several reasons: it can contribute to higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as predisposition for submission of platelets (special blood cells that gather on the damaged artery wall to stop blood flow by thrombus formation)
Normal amount of calcium intake can prevent such problems, but do not exaggerate. Too much calcium can have the reverse effect. Daily calcium intake should be approximately 1500 mg (contained in food or special preparations). Calcium and magnesium act as a couple and are often prescribed combined.
Chromium deficiency may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and its administration can normalize cholesterol levels, as it can increase the amount of “good” cholesterol – HDL and reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol – LDL.
Insufficient magnesium increases the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and heart rhythm disorders. Magnesium supplements can prevent calcification (narrowing) of blood vessels throughout the body. Magnesium aspartate is administered in daily doses of 200-500 mg.
Selenium is needed for synthesis of glutation peroxidaze, an enzyme that releases free radicals, selenium deficiency may increase the risk of tissue damage by free radicals. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol cells (destruction by free radicals) may also contribute to their introduction in blood vessels walls.
Daily administration of beta-carotene reduces the risk of heart disease. Increase consumption of foods containing beta-carotene, such as green vegetables and yellow vegetables and dark green leaves.
Some research has demonstrated the qualities of coenzyme Q10 in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and the ability . If the diameter of calcified arteries narrows due to congestion of cholesterol, even a small thrombus can close the artery and stop the blood flow with devastating effects.