Adopting prudent lifestyle habits and eating a healthy diet are the best ways to achieve optimal cardiovascular health.
Once a woman reaches the age of 50, about the age of natural menopause, her risk for heart disease increases dramatically. In young women who have undergone early or surgical menopause their risk for heart disease is also higher. Women who have gone through menopause and also have other heart disease risk factors, such as the following, are at even greater risk:
* Elevated blood pressure
* LDL (low density lipoproteins) or “bad” cholesterol
* Low HDL (high density lipoproteins) or “good” cholesterol
* Inactive lifestyle
* Family history of heart disease
How to minimise risk:
Ensuring good hormone balance so that you get the natural protective effect of progesterone and reduce the risk of oestrogen dominance is a very good start. You can also help minimize risks of heart disease and promote circulatory health by adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:
1. Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts, cashews and macadamias. They contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Eat a moderate portion every day.
2. Whole soy protein. If you substitute whole soy protein, such as edamame or tofu, for animal protein each day, you can lower levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid linked to increased risk of heart disease.
3. Fresh garlic. This medicinal herb may help lower cholesterol levels. Use one or two raw or lightly cooked cloves a day.
4. Green tea. It provides EGCG, an antioxidant that may help to moderate inflammation and lower cholesterol. Substitute a cup of heart-healthy green tea for your morning coffee or afternoon soda.
5. Soluble fiber. It has a powerful cholesterol-lowering effect. Beans, legumes and whole grains are good sources to add to your diet – aim for one or two servings per day.