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What you don't eat affects your heart health as much as what you do eat. Not consuming enough nutrients can lead to conditions such as hypertension or high blood pressure.

To improve your heart health and reduce your risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, it’s important to eat right. The good news is that some of the best nutritional strategies and dietary patterns for safeguarding your cardiovascular system are simple changes that can make a world of difference.

Heart Disease and Hypertension

Heart disease is a general term that’s sometimes misunderstood. It’s also a leading cause of death in the United States. Heart attack-related increased by nearly 33% between 2000 and 2016. The key is early and prompt diagnosis and treatment.

There are many different types of heart disease, each with its own set of symptoms and treatments. A build-up of plaque in the arteries, for instance, can cause an abnormal heart rhythm, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

Hypertension — or high blood pressure — is a cardiovascular condition in which the force of blood against your artery walls is too high. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and includes your systolic pressure over your diastolic pressure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80 or less. A measurement of 130/80 or more is considered elevated — and could be a serious issue, depending on severity, leading to health problems such as kidney failure, stroke, and other issues.

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Obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, genetics, chronic kidney disease, and certain hormonal disorders can all lead to hypertension — but so can what we eat.  Given the content of many a modern diet, a person could have hypertension for years without knowing it. That's why it's essential to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Better Nutrition Can Help

While some types of heart disease require medication or surgery to treat, others can be prevented through a healthy diet and regular exercise. It’s also always important to be proactive about treating and preventing the progression, no matter what the condition. Maintaining healthy blood pressure is quite beneficial for women as well as men: research has found that women with lower blood pressure have a lower risk of suffering a cardiovascular event.

The best approach to decreasing your chances of developing heart disease is a combination of a healthy diet and vitamin therapy:

Diet:  Eating well can help control weight, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure — all potential factors in heart disease. A few dietary patterns have been shown to be especially heart-healthy. The Mediterranean diet — so named for the staple foods of countries around the Mediterranean, such as Italy, Greece, and Croatia — is arguably the best for combatting cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. High in fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil, it’s got plenty of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids —healthy fats that have various cardio-protective effects.

But you don’t need to follow a specific diet to eat for your heart. Just make sure you’re getting plenty of heart-healthy foods, including fish (especially salmon), avocados, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, legumes, and berries. Eating these can help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check.

Vitamin therapy: Vitamin therapy is a nutrient regimen of vitamins and minerals tailored to prevent and reverse specific health issues. For instance, reversing vitamin deficiencies such as magnesium and zinc is extremely helpful in preventing hypertension, heart disease, and a host of other health conditions.

But due to the broad-spectrum nature of certain nutrients, individuals encounter an array of favorable health outcomes when they do vitamin therapy, making this approach one of the best in terms of maximum ROI. Any naturopath or nutritionist can supervise a regimen.

The Benefits

There are many so ways a healthy diet can improve your health:

  • Lowering blood pressure – as mentioned earlier, good dietary patterns improve the health of blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

  • Reducing cholesterol intake – Cholesterol can block your arteries, increasing your chance of stroke and other complications. Avoiding plaque in your arteries decreases your chances of developing other diseases.

  • Lowering unhealthy fat composition – Your body adversely processes unhealthy fats. When these are replaced with healthy fats, individuals become more active, decreasing their waistline. Obesity is another risk factor for hypertension and heart disease.

  • Increasing energy levels – By giving your body the nutrients that it needs, it can function much more efficiently. The more active you are, the more resilient your cardiovascular system becomes.

  • Increasing lifespan – With cardiovascular disease being the most lethal cause of death in the U.S., avoiding an unhealthy diet can increase your longevity.

Avoid These Foods to Prevent Hypertension

While many different dietary patterns can help to lower blood pressure, some foods should be avoided. A proper salt-to-potassium intake ratio is one of the most important nutritional factors for blood pressure and weight control. A suggested ratio is roughly 1:3 — three milligrams of potassium for every one milligram of salt. High intakes of salt with a comparatively low potassium intake can lead to increases in blood pressure.

As a result, it is important to limit your intake of salty foods, such as:

  • Processed meats

  • Pickled vegetables

  • Canned soups

  • Instant ramen (due to seasoning packets)

  • Fast food

In addition, alcohol can also raise blood pressure, so it is best to limit your alcohol intake. Additionally, the type of alcohol consumed matters. Hard liquor and beer have a far more negative impact on one's health than red wine. However, excess consumption of any type of alcohol is bad for the heart.

A heart-healthy diet is important for everyone, not just those with a history of heart problems. Eating well can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

If you're looking for ways to improve your heart health, start by making simple changes to your diet, and enhance your efforts and wellbeing by including vitamin therapy. Try incorporating some of the foods discussed here into your daily meals, and see how you feel after a few weeks. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Printed with permission of the author

Book by this Author:

BOOK: Heart Disease & Hypertension

Heart Disease & Hypertension: Vitamin Therapy™ for a Healthy Heart
by Bryant Lusk

book cover of Heart Disease & Hypertension: Vitamin Therapy™ for a Healthy Heart by Bryant LuskMillions of people unknowingly suffer from one or more forms of heart disease, which can lead to low energy, low endurance, high blood pressure, heart attack, or sudden cardiac arrest. Are you one of them? This easy-to-follow vitamin therapy approach is designed to fuel your natural ability to reverse hypertension, increase energy, and prevent or reverse heart disease no matter when you start. Men and women at any age benefit from a healthy heart! 

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Hardcover and as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Bryant LuskBryant Lusk is a military veteran who grew up on the south side of Chicago. Despite the challenges of gang violence and poverty, he became a successful Safety Inspector and Quality Control Specialist with the United States Government. He spent four years in the United States Air Force. His desire to serve and protect others led him to begin writing his Share the Health book series, aiming to treat debilitating conditions. He is the author of Osteoporosis & Osteopenia: Vitamin Therapy for Stronger Bones and It’s Not the Cans: The Best Nutrient Balance for a Stronger and Healthier You. His latest book is Heart Disease & Hypertension: Vitamin Therapy™ for a Healthy Heart (Koehler, May 2022). Learn more at

More books by this Author.