All About Angina
|How Natural Remedies Can Help
An estimated 6.3 million Americans and 1.4 million people in the UK currently suffer from angina. Angina is a symptom of coronary heart disease and is often experienced as chest pain, usually after physical exertion like running up a stairs. In extreme cases pain occurs just by rising from a chair. If you receive an angina diagnosis, your doctor will discuss the treatment options with you. These include taking nitrate drugs and in some cases possibly surgical intervention such as heart cath and/or coronary angioplasty (see angina treatment for a full explanation). Your doctor may also discuss lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, losing weight, quitting smoking and exercising. All these activities can prevent the build up of fatty deposits and hardening of your arteries (a process called atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis reduces the amount of blood flow to the heart muscle causing angina pain. By making these healthy lifestyle changes, you can also reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 400 percent. In this article we discuss the sorts of foods to avoid and include in your diet to help your heart, as well as suggest useful remedies. Alternative treatments should never be seen as a substitute for medical treatments recommended by your doctor. Always discuss natural remedies with your doctor before taking them as some can interfere with the effectiveness of prescription drugs. When buying any supplements look for products labeled USP Verified. This means they have been tested by the U.S. Pharmacopeia and contain the purity and dosage they claim to.
Foods To Include In Your Diet
Salmon, mackerel and tuna are rich in omega 3 fats which help to thin the blood naturally (garlic and onions do the same thing).
Studies show this fruit can reverse hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) by up to 25 percent in one year. Take as a juice or fresh as a fruit.
Cocoa, found in dark chocolate, contains flavonoids which help to improve the function of the smooth muscle which lines the arteries (called endothelial) and so improves blood flow. Include 1 or 2 squares of dark chocolate a day in your diet. Not too painful this one!
Eating foods rich in soluble fiber helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) which contributes to angina. Soluble fiber is found in fruit, vegetables, linseeds (flax seeds) and oats.
Rich in vitamin E, eat one a week.
Add fresh root ginger to stir-fry's, it can help to boost circulation.
Other foods which help to control cholesterol are soya beans, brown rice, kidney beans, chick peas, buckwheat, barley, millet and quinoa.
If you want to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a vegan diet is ideal - with the addition of oily fish.
Foods To Avoid
Try not to drink more than 1 unit a day. In the long term alcohol can deplete the body of its B-vitamins. It also raises levels of a toxic amino acid called homocysteine which is linked to heart disease in women. Beer contains the vitamin B6, so it is slightly better for you than wine or spirits.
Avoid all foods containing hydrogenated fats, trans fats and fried foods (always read food labels to know the fat content).
Avoid cookies, soda drinks, cakes and deserts. They all contain refined sugar (highly processed sugar) which converts to hard fats in the body which. Unless they are used up by exercise, they end up being dumped along the arteries, eventually clogging them (see causes of angina).
Reduce your intake of animal fat, including full fat dairy produce. Also switch from a sodium based table salt to sea salt.
Taking 1-3 grams of amino acid L-carnitine daily helps to improve the function of the heart and to reduce symptoms of angina.
Taking a twice daily 100mg dose of Coenzyme Q10 can help angina patients manage more physical exertion without an angina attack. Studies also show it also helps to reduce migraines and may help treat congestive heart failure in combination with other heart medications.
Taking a daily dose (400-500iu), for at least 12 to 24 months helps to thin blood naturally.
|Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oils provide DHA and EPA essential fatty acids which act as blood thinners. Taking 3 grams a day can help alleviate symptoms of chest pain.
|Vitamin C and Lysine
A duo formula of vitamin C combined with the amino acid lysine can help reverse the effects of atherosclerosis. Supplements may be marketed as a 'combined lysine formula'.
|Vitamin B Complex
Taking a multi-B vitamin complex will help support your nervous system and reduce the effects of stress on your heart. (Emotional stress is a key trigger for angina pain in women).
Other Health Tips
Smoking: If you smoke - quit. Smoking constricts the flow of blood through the arteries. Read about reducing risk factors for angina.
Stress: Negative stress can cause your blood to thicken in the long term. Be aware of your stress levels and read about stress reduction techniques. Read our living with angina article for more information. Also, see is there an online test for stress?
Weight: If you are overweight follow a healthy low fat diet.
Exercise: Start a gentle exercise program, with your doctors permission. Read about our home cardiac exercise program, as well as a cardiac rehab exercise program.
Vascular Screening: Consider having vascular screening which tests the flow of blood through your arteries. It is even more accurate than an treadmill stress test in detecting early signs of blockages in the arteries. Some chest pain clinics offer this service.
Visit Your Dentist: Several research studies have confirmed a link between atherosclerosis and gum disease. It is a good idea to have a regular dental checkup and practice good oral hygiene.
Animals: Stroking an animal everyday can help reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Heart Disease: Read about natural remedies for heart disease. If you have any other questions related to any female conditions, see our section on womens health questions.