How to Help Your Heart Stay Healthy ~ Part 2

It's Time to Wake-Up, Shackleton, the sleeping cat, by Terry Tasche

“Wake-up and Pay Attention, Kitty-Kat!” ©Terry Tasche



You just read about the bad news  and  the good news regarding heart disease and some ways to test for its risk. Now for the better news!

Remember that the acronym CRP, which stands for C-reactive protein, is one of the acute-phase proteins. The CRP levels increase during systemic inflammation. As stated earlier, research has shown that inflammation is a key indicator of heart disease.

It’s been suggested that testing CRP levels in the blood may be an additional way to assess cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. An even more sensitive CRP test, the hs-CRP assay, which stands for highly sensitive C-reactive protein, is available to determine CVD risk.

Studies also suggest that higher levels of hs-CRP may increase the risk that an artery will reclose after it’s been opened by balloon angioplasty.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some tasty foods you could eat that would counteract the effects of inflammation? Well, there are many, and they can help reduce the risk of heart disease, not to mention all the other diseases you may be able to avoid?

The same CRP acronym can help you know what foods to eat to counteract the highly negative effects of C-reactive protein (CRP, a sign of inflammation). Eating these foods can reduce the risk of needing CPR (a lifesaving technique, which stands for Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and may be necessary if the heart stops).

The CRP acronym can stand for food items to eat to help prevent destructive inflammation. For instance, these two antioxidant vegetables have the same initials (CRP) as C-reactive protein (CRP): Carrots and Red Peppers (CRP). Strawberries are also included as one of the foods that help reduce C-reactive protein, so we’ll add an “s” to our acronym, CRPs. These three items are like many helpful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. It’s good to know that antioxidants can reduce the CRP (C-reactive protein) levels thereby minimizing inflammatory damage to cells. An even easier way to remember what to eat is this: CRP can stand for Colorful Red Plants like this really red food, beets. I chopped up a can of sliced beets and added them to my chili recipe. They blended right in and could not be detected. A keen idea if you don’t like the taste of beets.

Here’s another way to remember what to eat. Inflammation is often indicated by the color red (like may be seen around a cut or burn on the skin). Likewise, the color red is seen in many of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, foods as those mentioned previously, and can help reduce or prevent inflammation.

The color red can help jog your memory so you’ll remember what to eat. So, if you find that your CRP level is high, you might consider eating some red fruits and vegetables. That makes two helpful ways to remember what to do and what to eat: 1) the CRPs acronym (Carrots, Red Peppers, and Strawberries, for example) and 2) the color red.

The CRPs acronym can also stand for other antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables like Cherries, Raspberries, Prunes, and Spinach. The choices are endless. You can think of some, too, like Cranberries, Chia, Coconut, and vitamin C.

Although the name antioxidant itself doesn’t sound appealing, the fact that they’re found in colorful carrots, cherries, red peppers, raspberries, and strawberries, etc., is delightful, because they are delectably delicious. It’s nice to imagine that with each bite you gobble, the antioxidants are gobbling up those free radicals that can cause inflammation, disease and aging. It reminds me of Pacman tirelessly gobbling lots of dots. pacmanpacmanpacmanInflammation is a slow process that may not be readily seen on the outside, but is nonetheless happening on the inside.

Other sources of antioxidants are:

  • Popcorn
  • Coffee, wine (in moderation)
  • Whole grains, nuts and seeds
  • Beans (like pinto and soy)
  • Spices like cloves, cinnamon, and oregano
  • Fruits like apricots, prunes, dates, and berries
  • Vegetables (especially dark green leafy veggies, spinach, kale, and peppers, too)
  • Vitamin supplements, like vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium (Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements, as some may interfere with prescription medicine.)

So, all that explanation to say this: pay attention to the triggers of inflammation. Eat foods high in antioxidants that can gobble up the free radicals. The result is to reduce the dangerous CRP (C-reactive protein) levels, so you won’t wind up needing CPR. Whew!

Like our cute cat, Shackleton, seen above, it may be time to wake-up, and pay attention to your health.

Here’s to healthy eating and happy living.

Copyright © Terry Tasche – All Rights Reserved


2 Responses to How to Help Your Heart Stay Healthy ~ Part 2

  1. Emily January 26, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    Terry you are a wonderful teacher. I now have carrots, red peppers, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, prunes, spinach and popcorn as permanent items on my shopping list. How empowering to think we can fight off inflammation within our bodies and not depend on an artificial means.

    • Terry Tasche January 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      Thanks, Emily! Yes, it’s so important to learn about these healthy life-sustaining foods that are available at our fingertips. I’m happy to hear that you’re availing yourself of them, because they can make such a difference in how we feel.
      Terry Tasche recently posted…CRP to Prevent CPR: Part 2My Profile

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