(NaturalNews) The lack of natural nutrition found in our foods today is likely a leading contributor to heart disease. As health author Greg Ciola noted in his article "Whole Food Nutrition to the Rescue", our bodies are intended to be nourished by food and not from ground up rocks, petroleum by-products and coal-tar derivatives which make up more than 95 percent of all supplements.
Another example is bleached white flower. A hundred years ago we consumed only a tiny amount of such flour. Today that single item makes up 20 percent of the average American diet. Bleaching flour removes over 90 percent of the silicon, selenium and chromium and more than 75 percent of vitamin B6.
Most of the processed foods on our grocers' shelves have had vital nutrients processed out and often harmful additives processed in to enhance shelf life, taste, color and texture. Often those processed foods are then "fortified" with fake vitamins – the ground up rocks, petroleum by-products and coal tar derivatives.
Fortunately, there are several good food sources of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients vital for our hearts. Some of the best are:
Foods rich in the antioxidants that fight free radicals include fruits, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, alfalfa sprouts, and whole-grain products. Studies have shown that those who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day had a 39-percent lower risk of stroke than those who did not.
Grapes, eggplant, and red cabbage all contain anthocyanidins which help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by dilating blood vessels and keeping the blood flowing freely. Anthocyanidins are found in blue and purple fruits and vegetables.
Raw nuts (except peanuts), olive oil, pink salmon, trout, tuna, Atlantic herring, and mackerel contain essential fatty acids important for cardiovascular health.
Garlic and onions contain compounds that help to reduce serum cholesterol levels.
Some other important dietary recommendations are:
Avoid grilled and barbecued foods. Meat cooked over smoldering charcoal increases the risk of cardiomyopathy by forming compounds that contribute to inflammation of the arteries and deterioration of the heart muscle.
Avoid stimulants such as coffee and black tea that contain caffeine. Caffeine increases stress hormones, putting coffee drinkers at greater risk of heart disease.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. One study found that men who drank at least five glasses of water every day had a 51-percent lower risk of heart disease than those who did not. For women, the risk of heart disease was 35 percent lower.
Food alone may not be enough for healthy hearts and supplementation from whole food derived sources may be essential. Thanks to over-farming and mineral depletion, most of the vegetables and fruits we eat today are far less nutritious than was the case years ago. It is estimated, for example, that a bowl of spinach our grandparents ate contained 8 times as much nutrition as a bowl we eat today.
In the concluding part of this series we will look at herbs and other supplements which can help prevent and reverse heart disease.