A low-carb diet is necessary for heart health, particularly in prediabetic women. It was discovered by the researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine (MU) that women with prediabetes who followed a low-carb diet experienced improvement in artery flexibility. The stiffness of their arteries is reduced, thereby eventually lowering their risk of heart disease.
In this study which was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 20 middle-aged pre-diabetic men and women were recruited and were given low-carb meals for two weeks. After two more weeks, participants were supplied with meal planning instructions. After that, the team measured their body weight and arterial stiffness using wave velocity.
At the end of the four-week study, women participants were found to have lost 4.4% of their body weight, while male participants lost 6.3%. Their stiffness measurement showed that women exhibited reduced blood flow speeds of one meter (m) per second, while men did not show any changes in this area.
Dr. Elizabeth Parks, a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU, says that:
“Our study is the first to demonstrate that weight loss can reduce arterial stiffness in as little as four weeks and that dietary carbohydrate restriction may be an effective treatment for reducing aortic stiffness in women.”
In America, it was estimated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that one out of three American adults lives with prediabetes, a condition wherein a person’s blood sugar is higher than normal, and elevated blood sugar — both of which are risk factors for arterial stiffness. Though stiffening of the arteries is part of aging, it can also be accelerated by insulin resistance, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. There were studies claiming that blood vessels stiffen more in women than men, which puts them in an increased risk for heart diseases. Furthermore, arterial stiffness has also been identified as one of the risk factors that contribute to many chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, liver disorder, kidney disorder, neurodegenerative diseases(Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases), cognitive decline, leukoaraiosis or cerebral white matter disease.
Other Ways To Reduce Or Reverse Arterial Stiffness
Aside from following a healthy low-carb diet, arterial stiffness can also be reduced naturally. Here are some of the tips you can follow:
Managing your stress levels: Stress can increase your cholesterol level and blood pressure, which cause arterial stiffness. Learn to reduce your stress levels by meditating or doing yoga.
Regular exercise: A regular exercise make the blood vessels more elastic, thus keeping them healthier.
Quitting smoking: Since smoking is one of the primary reasons behind arterial stiffness, quitting from this bad habit is your best option.
Eating more fish: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon are good for you heart. These healthy fats help reduce the levels of harmful fats and increase good cholesterol levels – both of which contribute to the reduction of arterial stiffness.
Trying flaxseed: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce arterial stiffness. and atherosclerosis, which is another contributor to the stiffening of arteries.