Less salt may keep your arteries more flexible
Arteries tend to stiffen after age 30 and can increase risk of heart attack, stroke and memory loss because they can’t dilate (widen) when increased blood volume is necessary. Australian researchers studied 25 overweight or obese subjects with normal blood pressure and found those on a diet with lower sodium levels (2600 mg/day) had arteries that could dilate more than those on a diet with normal sodium levels (3600 mg/day).
PositiveTip: Choose to pass over the salt at mealtime and select low-sodium foods.
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can keep your arteries clean in later years
The American College of Cardiology reports that high consumption of fruits and vegetables as young adults predicts healthier arteries 20 years later. Females who ate 8-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables for a 2000 calorie diet were 40% less likely to have calcified plaque in their arteries compared to those who only ate 3-4 servings per day.
PositiveTip: Start healthy habits now and have up to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day for optimal future blood vessel health.
Teen fitness improves vascular health.
A fascinating study of young people in Finland suggests when teens are physically fit they are more likely to have better vascular health and better outcomes later in life. In this prospective study of atherosclerosis prevention, fitness was found to reduce the thickness of the lining of the aorta and increase the elasticity of the great vessels in 17 years olds.
PositiveTip: Fit and lean children should be the goal of all parents.
Heart disease in the young is often clinically silent.
Researchers have examined data from 3832 United States service members who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The average age was 26 years old. These were young, healthy, and fit for deployment--without any symptoms. However, just over one in 12 had atherosclerotic plaque buildup, an early sign of heart disease. Those who had been obese or had high cholesterol or high blood pressure when they entered the military were more likely to have these signs of early disease.
PositiveTip: Choose a healthy lifestyle early in life to help control heart disease.