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Atherosclerosis : Prevention
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine

Medical research done in the late eighties and nineties has shown that adopting the right lifestyle and eating the right diet can effectively prevent or at least slow the development of atherosclerotic disease.


Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially those rich in antioxidants, which are able to protect the artery walls from damage. Examples of these types of vegetables include the leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, pak choy, choy sum, spinach, red vegetables such as tomatoes and capsicums (peppers) and the 'yellow' vegetables such as carrots and squash.
Oily fish
Olive oil
Soy beans and soy products
Oat meal and other high fiber grains


One to two glasses red wine per day (but no more).
Green tea (It has a good anti-oxidant effect)


Fat. Cutting back on the fats in your diet, especially the animal fats in red meat and poultry will lower your blood fat levels. You do need some fat for energy, essential vitamins and to build and maintain cells but your fat intake should be no more than 30 percent of your daily food intake. Many people recommend even lower levels. In western countries, such as the US and Australia, where high fat intakes have been linked to heart disease, fat forms as much as 40 percent of the daily diet.
High cholesterol foods. Limiting the amount of prawns, shellfish and eggs you eat daily will help keep your cholesterol levels lower. (How much cholesterol should you have in your diet-depends on your age, physiology, exercise status, body fat levels, sex and liver function!) It is wise to have your blood cholesterol levels measured when you go for a routine medical check-up. "Normal" levels vary so talk to your healthcare provider about what is a healthy level for you.
Excess salt. Cut back your salt intake. Too much salt can elevate your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the factors that starts the atherosclerotic process. How much salt you should have will depend on your underlying health conditions, so ask your healthcare provider to recommend how much salt you should take in an average day. Remember a lot of canned and processed foods contain salt, so you will have to read the nutrient labels carefully.


Exercise regularly. Sustained exercising for more than 30 minutes per day-has been shown to protect against atherosclerotic disease. It does not have to be intense. Walking an hour, mowing the lawn or even manually cleaning the house is adequate moderate exercise from which your health can benefit.
Stop smoking and avoid all secondhand smoke by insisting on smoke free offices, homes and restaurants.
Lose weight if you are overweight.
A good rule of thumb is to measure your waist and hips. If your waist measurement is greater than your hip measurement, you need to get rid of the fat on your abdomen to prevent atherosclerotic disease.
TCM always stresses balance and harmony. Paying attention to the following points will help individuals maintain good cardiovascular health.

1. Healthy diet
According to TCM theory, the diet is closely related to spleen health, which in turn is essential for the transformation of food into qi and blood in the body. The accumulation of dampness from improper spleen function is the main cause of chest pain syndrome. Hence, it is extremely important to maintain a healthy diet and avoid fatty, greasy foods.

2. Exercise
Appropriate exercise helps promote qi and blood flow in the body. Their smooth circulation is essential to maintain cardiovascular health. However, individuals need to avoid over-exercising, as this can exhaust too much qi in our bodies. This is especially important for people who are deficient in qi or yang because over-exercising can trigger chest pain syndrome. It is a good idea to get the advice of your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regimen.

3. Emotional health
Proper relaxation and rest are also important for good cardiovascular health. Lack of relaxation and rest can lead to emotional disorders. In TCM, this is said to harm the health of the liver or spleen. The liver maintains the smooth flow of qi while the spleen is essential for transforming fluid and food. If disharmony occurs in these organs, the circulation of qi and blood will be affected which, in turn, causes blood stasis and finally leads to chest pain.