Heart disease is the #1 cause of death, 665,000 deaths in U.S. each year. Dr. Li discusses the actions everyone can take to protect their heart.
WATCH YOUR BLOOD LIPIDS:
Simple blood test doctor takes during annual physical. You want high levels of good cholesterol, (HDL) and low levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), lower levels of total cholesterol, and low triglycerides.
Bad cholesterol builds up and damages the lining of your blood vessels, causing heart disease.
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
– Eat less saturated fat (red meat, butter, cheese)
– Watch out for ultra-processed foods that can contain saturated fat (palm oil, coconut oil)
– Eat healthy fats, like polyunsaturated fats, and omega3s — olive oil, seafood
– Surprising new research: shows healthy gut bacteria (microbiome) helps our body process cholesterol. Eat high fiber foods that protect gut health, like beans, chickpeas, lentils — or fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi. When gut bacteria are well fed, they help our body manage cholesterol.
WATCH YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure is the number one reason behind heart disease and stroke, and it’s a silent killer.
Normal blood pressure 2 numbers top / bottom less than 120 / 80.
High blood pressure when the number is higher than 30, bottom number higher than 80 most of the time.
Blood pressure controls flow of blood in blood vessels. Normal blood pressure, blood is like a silent stream. High blood pressure is blood jetting like white water. Damages lining (endothelium) of blood vessels.
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
– Salt makes food taste great, but causes blood pressure to rise. Go low on the sodium, stay away from salty foods like potato chips and canned soups (go for low sodium version).
– Surprising new research: shows there are foods that can help lower your blood pressure. Spinach and beets. They contain nitrogen from the soil. When you eat them, chew, your mouth microbiome (mouth also part of gut) digests the nitrogen and changes it into a form called nitric oxide that is absorbed in your stomach. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open up, and blood pressure is lowered.
WATCH YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
Healthy body can handle a little sugar but eating too much damages the lining of your blood vessels raising risk of heart disease. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) also causes inflammation, damages gut bacteria, and is associated with diabetes, obesity, and metabolic diseases.
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
– Avoid added sugar. Soda is a big source, as are candies and cakes. If you got a sweet tooth, eat it in moderation.
– Regular exercise helps our body maintain healthy blood sugar levels so stay active.
– Healthy gut bacteria helps to regulate sugar metabolism in the body, take good care of your gut.
Check lipid panel standard blood test
CRP – inflammation in your heart
If you have symptoms or risk factors, your doctor might order a Stress test – walking on a treadmill while monitoring your heart
Teens: 13-15, should see a gynecologist.
20’s: think about elective egg-freezing.
30’s: pregnancy complications can indicate future problems.
40’s: breast cancer screening begins.
50’s: ask about options for menopause symptoms.
60’s: focus on heart disease prevention.
70’s +: work on strength, endurance, flexibility & balance.