Updated: Apr 16, 2019
Research into heart disease and if a baby aspirin can really help.
Daily intake of low-dose aspirin or baby aspirin has been touted as one of the leading prevention strategies against cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults over 70. The intake of low-dose aspirin for secondary prevention of CVD has been shown definitively to lower the risk of a reoccurring episode. Secondary prevention refers to your risk of a heart attack or stroke after having already having one.
However, this is not the case for primary prevention. Primary prevention refers to your risk of having a stroke or heart attack for the first time. Many, if not all individuals taking baby aspirin take it to decrease their risk of a cardiac episode for the first time. But new research is showing that sugar is the biggest player in the game of cardiovascular disease. Individuals who take in more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to those that took in less than 10% of total calories from sugar.
The problem is not sugar itself, it’s added sugar or sugars coming from things like junk food. Candy, sodas, and chips are just a few of the common foods that are laden with added sugar and empty calories. These “empty calories” provide you no nutrition and essentially make your body work for no reward. Higher amounts of sugar stimulate the liver to dump harmful fats into the bloodstream, contributing to arterial plaque which can restrict the otherwise normal flow of blood in the body. The American Heart Association latest recommendation states women consume no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day (about 6 teaspoons) and men consume less than 150 per day (about 9 teaspoons).
The importance of diet and its contribution to your risk of CVD as well as a host of other diseases should not be put on the backburner. If you are going to begin cleaning up your diet, it is easiest to start slow. Begin by limiting your intake of sugary and less nutrient dense foods, then eliminating them altogether and out of what your normal daily intake would be. Drinking more water and less of anything that’s not water is always a great place to start as well. The goal is for these foods that offer little to no nutritional value to your body to become more of a treat you reward yourself with every so often. Starting a new “normal” is never easy, but when it has a dramatic effect on your short- and long-term health, the results and how you feel will speak for itself.