Recent research published in the journal Circulation found that some children, as young as nine years old, already have high blood pressure and significant arterial stiffness, which is a clear indication of the onset of heart problems like atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries.
As a matter of fact, high blood pressure (hypertension) and atherosclerosis are two of the most serious warning signs of future heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease. They cause damage to a childís heart and arteries, including an increased risk of atherosclerosis.
Since high blood pressure has no physical symptoms, itís often called ďthe silent killerĒ and can lead to future kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss and erectile dysfunction too.
And atherosclerosis is a condition where sticky plaque (made of fat and cholesterol) builds up over the years inside the arteries, eventually blocking blood flow and causing heart problems.
How to Prevent Future Heart Disease in Children
What can you start doing today to help protect your childrenís health, both now and in the future, from high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and even a fatal heart attack or stroke?
According to researchers, one of the best things you can do is make sure your kids are daily eating plenty of fresh produce from the healthiest list of fruits and healthiest list of vegetables.
Itís long been known that a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables is good for health in general and particularly heart health. But the most recent research shows, if you want your kids to grow up with healthy hearts, itís never too late, or too early, to start feeding them a healthy diet.
And, of course, itís also important to encourage physical activity and discourage smoking.
How many servings of fruits and vegetables do your kids need to eat in order to support better heart health? The National Institutes of Health strongly recommends that everyone, including both children and adults, eat at least five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
And guess what. The average American is getting nowhere near that recommendation.
So how can you begin to work more fruits and veggies into your own and your kidís daily diet? Here are some tasty ideas to include with meals and as healthy snacks between meals.
- Add fresh or frozen berries or bananas to plain low-fat yogurt or protein shakes.
- Spread hummus on whole wheat pita bread or 100% whole grain crackers.
- Dip baked unsalted tortilla chips in a healthy salsa.
- Instead of salty foods or sweets, choose fresh fruit, carrots or celery sticks for snacks.
- Make up a tasty dip out of low-fat salad dressing for dunking raw veggies.
- And definitely serve more salads with healthy romaine lettuce or spinach.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.