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Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths. Every 36 seconds, someone dies of heart disease. Coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease, is the most common type of heart disease.
There are many ways to protect your heart. The foods you eat (and don’t eat), the amount of exercise you do and whether you smoke, all have a very real effect on your chances of becoming a heart disease statistic.
Recently, research has uncovered an intimate connection between heart health and the health of another organ, one that performs at least one hundred vital functions throughout the body.
It turns out that, by protecting your liver, you may also significantly lower your risk of coronary artery disease.
Research connects the liver to coronary artery disease
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland are exploring the connections between genetic factors affecting both heart disease and liver disease.
For example, they’ve found that a lot of the genetic activity regulating cholesterol and glucose takes place in the liver.
“Overall, our findings expand the list of genes and regulatory mechanisms acting in the liver and governing the risk of CAD (coronary artery disease) development,” says Associate Professor Kaikkonen-Määttä.
There’s not a lot that you and I can do about the genes we’re born with. But research has indicated that lifestyle choices can influence the expression of genetic factors.
This research certainly gives us reason to pay attention to the fact that, in the United States, 4.5 million of us are being diagnosed with liver disease each year. In 2018 there were nearly 3 million liver-related deaths. Roughly half were due to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disease caused by eating excess calories and causing fat to build up in the liver.
It also gives us a wake-up call. We should be practicing lifestyle habits that will protect both the heart and the liver. Here’s how to get started…
7+ things that will protect your liver AND your heart
Maintain a healthy weight. At least half of people with obesity go on to develop NAFLD. So this is the first place you should start.
But DON’T fall for fad diets. Stay away from diets that boost fat intake, like the ketogenic diet. According to studies done with mice, the keto diet can lead to NAFLD.
Go Mediterranean. Dr. Hugo Rosen, a liver disease specialist and chair of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, suggests eating a well-balanced diet that features high-fiber foods, vegetables, fruits, fish, lean meats, nuts, eggs, seeds and unrefined oils.
Get moving. Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise can improve liver health, whether you’ve already developed NAFLD or are looking to prevent it.
Eat more berries. Eating a cup of blueberries per day could lower your risk of heart disease by up to fifteen percent. Also, one study found that adding blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries to your diet will lower levels of ALT, an enzyme associated with liver damage.
Try tomatoes. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene — known to reduce the risk of CAD — and potassium, essential for heart health. Tomatoes also contain chlorine and sulfur which help detoxify the liver.
Try herbs. Silymarin, more commonly known as milk thistle, has been used to support and detoxify the liver since the time of the ancient Greeks.
And here are even more supplements that help keep your liver clean and functioning well.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!
Fad diets could contribute to liver disease known as a ‘silent killer’ HSC News (University of Southern California)
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Good for your heart, good for your liver, too Joseph Galati, M.D.