Almost all of us would love the opportunity to live longer and proper cardiac care can help us to do just that. Unfortunately, when it comes to cardiac care and preventing a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke, there are a lot of myths. So before you go swearing off eggs for the rest of your life or downing a bottle of wine in order to ‘protect your heart,’ you may want to consider the following.
Cardiac Care Myth 1: An Aspirin a Day Will Keep the Heart Doctor Away
Aspirin therapy can be beneficial to certain high risk individuals because it helps to prevent potentially fatal blood clots from forming and blocking the arteries. As such, if you have a history of stroke or heart attack, your doctor may weigh the costs and benefits and advise you to take an aspirin on a daily basis. However, if you are taking a daily aspirin as a self-prescribed method of cardiac care, your aspirin regime can cause much more damage than good. Researchers reviewed data from 9 large scale studies, and found that not only did aspirin not reduce death risk; it actually increased the risk for potentially life threatening bleeding in the majority of individuals. Bottom line, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should avoid the long-term continual use of aspirin.
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Cardiac Care Myth # 2: A Bottle of Wine Will Keep the Heart Working Fine
Many studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption (no more than a serving or two per day depending on body size) can help to lower atherosclerosis and heart attack risk. What many people fail to take away from these studies is the ‘serving or two a day’ part which is the most important part when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol levels and heart attack risk. In other words, if you think that you can forgo alcohol during the week and then down a bottle of wine, or worse a bottle of vodka at weeks end, you are gravely misinformed. Drinking too much alcohol all at once not only damages your liver, it also causes the unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels to rise and consequently increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Cardiac Care Myth #3: Cholesterol Will Clog Your Artery Walls
Cholesterol containing whole foods such as egg yolks, liver and butter have been given an unnecessarily bad rep and many people have been told to avoid them if they want to prevent clogging up their arteries. However, recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that egg yolks have no influence on heart attack or stroke risk. What’s more, egg yolks are chocked full of nutrients and may even help you to live longer and healthier by reducing your risk for cancer, controlling your weight and preserving your eyesight. Cholesterol is essential for the health of your hair, skin and nails and more importantly perhaps, it is required for healthy brain function and a sense of mental well-being. As with most good things, you can overdo it however, and moderation is key.
Cardiac Care Myth #4: Fat is Your Heart’s Nemesis
Fats are essential to life. They provide your body with energy, balance your blood sugar levels, help maintain brain health and are vital to the production of numerous hormones. In fact, many studies have found that refined carbohydrates found in white bread, white rice and sugar products are the true enemy of the heart. This does not mean that fatty foods are a free-for-all and if you want to maintain a healthy heart and live longer, you should avoid trans- fats which are found in baked, fried and many highly processed foods. You should also avoid cooking with vegetable oils because the high temperatures cause the oils to oxidize and become rancid, and rancid oils are bad for the body. The key to consuming fats without sacrificing the health of your heart is emphasizing healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseeds, walnuts and cold-water fish.