”Heart disease accounts for about one-third of all adult deaths, but dietary changes would help prevent it“.
One of the main reasons why British people have a much higher incidence of heart disease than the populations living in most other countries around the world is our unhealthy diet. Most deaths from heart disease, a condition in which deposits of fat build up on the lining of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.
Studies comparing the rates of heart disease between countries with different eating habits show clearly that those people who eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet have a much greater risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Public education can change an unhealthy diet. Many Americans have altered their diets in response to the threat of heart disease. They have reduced their consumption of saturated fats and increased their intake of fiber. The result has been a dramatic decline in the incidence of coronary heart disease.
Table of Contents
In developing countries, most diet-related heart problems are caused by extreme malnutrition. For example, thiamine-deficient diets may cause beri-beri, a condition which sometimes results in enlargement of the heart and failure of its normal pumping action.
Heart disease that is caused by a nutritional deficiency is rare in the UK. Anorexia nervosa, however, may lead to death due to cardiac arrest, as a result of damage to the heart muscle through starvation.
Although death rates from heart disease have fallen over that last 20 years, it is still the number one killer worldwide. Compared to Japan, Costa Rica, Italy, and Uruguay, death rates have fallen steeply recently due to changes in diet.
ESKIMOS, Even though Eskimos eat more fat in their diet than any other population around the world, they have a very low incidence of coronary heart disease. This is because most of the fat they eat comes from dish and seal blubber, which are polyunsaturated. The advantage of polyunsaturated fish oils is that they have a protective effect on the circulation. They lower the level of harmful cholesterol in the blood and reduce the tendency of blood to form clots. These actions help to keep the walls of the arteries clear, including those that supply blood to the heart muscle.
BRITONS. The population in Northen Europe, including Britain, eat a lot of fat in their daily diet. However, in contrast to the Eskimo diet, most of this fat is saturated. The fat in the British diet comes mainly from red meats, dairy products, and processed foods. Saturated fats are harmful because they encourage the build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of arteries around the body by raising the level of cholesterol in the blood. Cutting down the total consumption of fat, and substituting polyunsaturated of saturated fats where possible, is far healthier for your heart.