Heart attack: Improve your gut health to reduce heart attack risk – what foods to include?09/06/2021
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A heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. Factors increasing a person’s risk for this include having high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This is where a healthy gut comes into play as it could counteract a number of health conditions therefore reducing your risk of having a heart attack. How?
The adult human gastrointestinal tract harbours roughly 100 trillion bacteria with the gut microbiota playing multiple critical roles in the maintenance of one’s overall health.
In recent years, there’s been an increase in public awareness of the gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your digestive system, and the role it plays in digestive health.
But it’s not just digestive health which has put gut microbiome in the spotlight.
Studies indicate it could also help to lower a person’s cholesterol levels which reduces the risk of heart attacks.
Research has found a link between the wrong balance of gut bacteria and a number of health conditions.
An imbalance not only affects a person’s gut but can also affect other health conditions including arthritis, obesity, depression and possibly heart health.
Chemicals or processes related to gut bacteria have been tied to a higher risk of heart failure, atherosclerosis and major cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes.
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In a study published in Microbiome, gut microbiota and cardiovascular diseases was investigated.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common health problem worldwide and remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, began the study.
It added: “Over the past decade, it has become clear that the inhabitants of our gut, the gut microbiota, play a vital role in human metabolism, immunity, and reactions to diseases, including CAD.
“The gut lumen plays an eminent role in controlling the body’s cholesterol balance and is responsible for exogenous intake via cholesterol absorption.
“Aside from the complex interplay of numerous cholesterol sources in the body, many other factors can affect cholesterol balance and CAD development including our gut microbiota.”
The study concluded that further investigations into these complex mechanisms are integral to shed light on gut bacterial-mediated mechanisms, which in turn can lead to more efficacious and high-precision microbiome-based CAD preventative.
“There’s significant evidence that the gut microbiome is involved in human health in virtually all diseases,” said Dr Raphael Kellman, a physician of integrative and functional medicine and founder of the Kellman Wellness Center.
“Cardiovascular diseases, which are associated with high morbidity and mortality across the world, are no exception.”
“70 percent of the body’s inflammatory cells are actually housed in the gut-associated tissue,” added Dr Ian Barrows, a cardiology fellow at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“So, the gut bacteria have an influence on the inflammatory role of the gut and the whole body.”
Eating food that contains probiotics has been linked to healthier blood pressure which impacts a person’s heart health.
Certain probiotics can also help reduce inflammatory chemicals in the body, which may reduce heart disease risk.
One of the ways this inflammation can be managed is through our gut microflora by increasing the balance of beneficial bacteria, we can keep in check pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and parasites.
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium help produce lactic acid to maintain a balance of healthy microflora reducing the production of inflammatory molecules, improve immune function, lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart attacks.
Foods to include in your diet to help improve gut health include yogurt, kimchi, sourdough, almonds and olive oil.
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