You Are At: AllSands Home > Health > Advice > Heart disease and diet
It isn't airplane crashes or car accidents, or even murder. The number one killer in America is heart disease. If it were airplane mishaps or auto accidents, you would probably avoid those methods of travel. And if it was murder, you would certainly stay away from places in which it was most likely to happen. So, even though you might have had bad health habits, it's not too late to change your style to prevent-and even reverse-damage to your heart.

The easiest place to start is diet. Change the way you eat and what you eat. And the way to start that is to avoid fat. The typical American gets a hefty 40% of his daily calories in the form of fat. This nasty substance clogs your coronary arteries with plaque-and that causes heart attacks.

The dangers caused by dietary fat are:

a.. Clumping of red blood cells - raises blood pressure, reduces oxygen in the blood, slows circulation
b.. New plaques are created making them prone to rupture
c.. Existing plaques grow
d.. Clotting of blood becomes abnormally rapid - if a new plaque bursts, this can lead to arterial occlusion
e.. Hormone-like compounds are released - these compounds, called prostaglandins, boost the clumping effect
The American Heart Association suggests limiting daily fat intake to 30% of calories to keep plaques from forming. However, studies show that even at this rate, new plaques continue to form.

The misconception about how heart attacks occur is that old plaque grows so big it occludes a coronary artery. However, the reality is that most heart attacks occur following the rupture of newly formed plaque-which contain liquid fat and cholesterol.

This rupture leaves a wound on the artery wall-which is quickly capped with a blood clot. This clot can grow quickly, becoming so large that it occludes the artery and stops blood flow to the heart.

The bottom line-eliminate all excess fat from your diet. This means substituting fruits, vegetables, and grains for red meat, chicken, dairy products, eggs, oils, cakes and candies, and refined and processed foods.