How to Influence a Man You Love to Improve His Heart Health

June has us thinking about BBQ season and Father’s Day.

I am sure that you have at least one special dad in your life- a father, husband, brother or friend. We care about those guys and we want them with us as long as possible. Unfortunately, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.[1]

This is becoming a growing trend around the world. In 2014, cardiovascular disease led to the premature death of an estimated 17.3 million people, and it remains the world’s most common underlying causes of death.[2] Though advances have been made in the treatment of atherosclerosis (the narrowing and hardening of arteries) current therapies are far from ideal.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of men are getting diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity – and they are all essentially the same illness. A result of poor diet, excessive stress and poor coping mechanisms to that stress.

Women make up about half of those affected, but for some reason women seem to take charge of our health and accept change to our diet and lifestyle more readily, whereas men tend to need a nudge. Those who have done WildFit know that it is always a better idea to lead by example, rather than pushing others to change. So, for a gift to the fathers in our lives, let’s all share this information for how to have healthy hearts by living it ourselves!

Here are 3 key pieces of insight for you and how to make the shift:

1) Many of the facts we take for granted about our health are actually false

In 1961, the American Heart Association launched the world’s first official recommendations to avoid saturated fats and dietary cholesterol in order to prevent a heart attack. This hypothesis caught on, even though it has never been tested in clinical trials. More concrete evidence was needed, and globally governments spent billions of dollars trying to prove the hypothesis true.

However, the results could not show saturated fats were guilty. And yet, unable or unwilling to believe the study outcomes, researchers did not talk about this data for decades. Out of nine separate recent reviews, still none could find any evidence in the data that saturated fats affect heart health or caused death.[3]

So, why is the Association so reluctant to listen to science and update its view of saturated fats? It could simply be that it is too attached to the belief that has been promoted for decades. Or, it could be due to its reliance on funding from industries who profit from the saturated fats boycott, such as the vegetable-oil manufacturers. Regardless of what their reasons are, the truth is that it is more often these same hardened vegetable oils, containing trans fats as well as inflammatory refined sugars, that are causing these heart health issues.

So what do we do? Start paying attention to what is getting results in the world around us, rather than necessarily listening to large associations who may be biased by industry. The WildFit 90 Day challenge produces results that have people reducing upwards of 10 inches around their waist- which is usually the most dangerous deep visceral fat. Most clients who were previously taking blood pressure or diabetes medication also significantly reduced or eliminated the need for them entirely. This was accomplished with simple dietary changes that encourage an abundance of good fats, high quality protein, and fresh fruits and vegetables, while simultaneously reducing grains, refined sugars and other processed foods from the diet.

2) What we do with the majority of our nutrition is more important than a few ‘treats’

Many of us are used to hearing that healthy food can be our medicine to help us heal. Rather, WildFitters understand that it is a lack of these essential foods in our diet that results in these illnesses in the first place. If you integrate lots of well sourced vegetables and fruits into your regular diet, then there will be less room for non functional foods, and therefore not have so much of a negative impact. This also means that all of your tissues will have the building blocks they need to build and maintain healthy cells.

Start by upping the quantity of home cooked meals in your life, focusing on having mainly vegetables, healthy protein and oils with most of your meals. Wildfit members have access to tons of recipes with easily sourced ingredients that take the guesswork out of meal planning. Then, when you do eat inflammatory carbohydrates, whether due to poor planning or as a ‘treat’, your body will be better able to combat the damage.

3) Healthy fat is crucial to good heart health

As mentioned above, we have been conditioned to believe that saturated fats in foods like meat, eggs, and even coconut oil are bad for us, and will make us fat while clogging our arteries. This is simply not the case. Atherosclerosis, the cause of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and potentially dementia, is the blockage of blood vessels by plaque- a sticky substance, rather than hard. Wherever plaque builds, two things can occur: a blood clot can form, or a piece of the plaque can break off and block the artery. While many of us believe that cardiac events occur wherever the biggest deposits of plaque are, the truth is that most events occur where there’s less than 70% coronary artery obstruction.[4]

Coronary artery disease is actually a chronic inflammatory condition, and the inflammation of the blood vessels is what causes the stickiness, not the fat in our diets.[5]

Current studies are investigating processed carbohydrates and toxins as being causal factors of this inflammation.

One study found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with at least 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or a handful of nuts each day, (both containing significant saturated fat) achieved a 30% reduction in cardiovascular events in over 7,500 high-risk patients. Of course this must be the case! Each of our cells has an outer layer made of mostly fat  and when we are not getting the right kinds of fat or starving ourselves of fat entirely, they stop functioning properly, which could be the cause of a number of preventable diseases and create more inflammation in your tissues.[6]

So what are the best types of fat for your cells? Cold pressed, natural oils from nuts and seeds, olives, and coconuts. Another good source is animal protein but be careful of what those animals ate. Most of our conventionally farmed animals eat genetically modified corn and soy which would kill them if they were allowed to live longer than a few months. This inflamed tissue is what we eat,  no wonder it makes us sick! The same goes for commercial eggs. Alternative? Buy wild sourced food whenever possible, or from a local farmer who can tell you exactly what their harvest or animals had to eat. More expensive initially, yes. However, as it is better quality, you will need less to feel full and save a ton on medical bills and pharmaceuticals!

So there you have it. By paying attention to your body’s own cues and following a whole foods based diet of mainly vegetables with a good quantity of the right fats, you and your loved ones can reverse the damage of cardiovascular disease in the body. It really is that simple!

Try to integrate more home cooked meals free from refined sugars and carbohydrates and watch as your body transforms. If you are a guy you’re in luck! The physical changes seem to happen a lot faster than for females. Now that you are informed, remember: the best way to invoke change is to lead by example. Be the change you want to see, and those stubborn loves in your life may be motivated to get onboard as well.

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Ariel Richards

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