Breaking News: Health Experts Reverse Stance on Aspirin
For years, adults over the age of 60 were recommended to take a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke. However, in the last month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has reversed its long-standing stance. The organization is no longer advising people over the age of 60 to use aspirin as a preventative measure.
Instead, the new recommendation is that aspirin should only be taken by those who have had a previous heart attack or stroke.
So, what should you do if you’re currently taking aspirin to protect heart health? Here’s what you need to know about this reversal along with safe and effective aspirin alternatives.
Aspirin increases the risk of internal bleeding
All medications have risks. While taking a daily aspirin may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in certain individuals, it may also increase the risk of internal bleeding.
This is one of the main reasons why the task force is changing its recommendations. Older people are at a higher risk of falls. If someone over the age of 60 were to fall and hit their head, taking aspirin may increase the risk of a brain bleed.
Aspirin has also been linked to an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
While aspirin has become the go-to preventive measure to lower the risk of heart disease, there are many other ways to improve cardiovascular health. As we’ve come to better understand the cardiovascular system, along with more tools readily available to prevent heart disease, the need for daily aspirin has declined.
Here are some aspirin alternatives for those who want to improve their heart health without the use of an over-the-counter drug.
Eat a heart healthy diet
Just as certain foods increase the risk of heart disease, there are also foods that can decrease the risk of poor heart health. Even if you've eaten a bad diet for years, it's never too late to fine-tune your diet to be healthier and more heart friendly.
Start by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods are good sources of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Plant-based foods also contain compounds that may prevent cardiovascular disease.
Some of the best fruits and veggies for heart health include berries, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and walnuts.
Other dietary tips to keep your heart healthy include:
By incorporating these changes into your diet, you can chew your way to better health.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Did you know that eating fish twice a week may reduce your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues? Fish is high in unsaturated fats, known as omega 3 fatty acids. These healthy fats not only benefit heart health, they also reduce the risk of heart disease.
Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can damage the blood vessels, which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. They have also shown to reduce blood clotting, decrease triglycerides, and to slightly lower blood pressure.
Omega-3 rich fish include salmon, cod, sardines, mackerel, herring, and lake trout.
Turmeric is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries to treat all sorts of ailments. Turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both of which play a role in protecting heart health.
Studies have found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has prescription-grade anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation increases the risk of heart disease and other chronic health issues
Turmeric has also been found to reduce oxidative stress on vascular tissues. This protects the cardiovascular system by preventing cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Additionally, turmeric may reduce bad cholesterol levels and help to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting.
To reap the benefits of turmeric, try sprinkling the herb on your food. You can also add it to a smoothie or enjoy a hot cup of golden milk.
Ginger is another herb that has a rich history of medicinal uses. Research has found that ginger may have anti-diabetic properties. It not only drastically reduces blood sugar levels, it may also lower heart disease risk factors.
Ginger may also lower bad cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. One study found that ginger extract had similar effects to a prescription cholesterol-lowering drug.
There are many ways to enjoy ginger. A cup of hot ginger tea is perfect during the cooler months. Enjoy iced ginger tea or ginger lemonade during spring and summer. Ginger also works well in many dishes, including soups!
While aspirin has become the go-to option for protecting heart health, the recent recommendation reversal has many people rethinking. The good news is that there are many other alternative options to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular issues.
From eating a heart-healthy diet to cooking with turmeric and ginger, maintaining heart health has never been easier.
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