For years, doctors recommended that seniors take a baby aspirin every day to prevent heart disease. The advice seemed to make sense because aspirin is a blood thinner.
Doctors and patients figured it could stop the blood clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
The only problem is that there were no large, well-designed studies that showed this to be true. Now, dozens of trials have tested the effectiveness of daily aspirin in preventing heart attacks.
A major new review looked at 67 of them.
It was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. The analysis found that healthy people should not take a daily low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease.
Study author Dr. Lee Smith said “there is no evidence for taking aspirin in primary prevention.
“The take home message of our paper is that low dose aspirin is (only) good when you already have a cardiovascular condition.”
The researchers found that daily aspirin was linked with a 17% lower incidence of heart attack or stroke. But that was offset by a 34% higher risk of bleeding in the brain and a 47% higher risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
The bottom line?
If you don’t have heart disease, don’t take daily aspirin.
5 Natural Ways to Prevent Heart Disease
There are safer ways than aspirin to prevent heart disease. These natural solutions will help keep your arteries clear without dangerous bleeding or other side effects:
- Avocados. Research shows this fruit improves your “bad” LDL cholesterol profile in a way that statins can’t…and without side effects.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition tested three different diets on 45 subjects. Each spent five weeks on each diet. One of the diets included eating an avocado every day.
The avocado diet led to lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol and small, dense LDL. These are the two worst forms of LDL. Both are associated with plaque build-up in artery walls. That leads to atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Unlike avocados, statin drugs only lower total cholesterol—not the specific cholesterol types that actually damage arteries. They don’t target oxidized and high-density LDL the way avocados do.
- Omega-3 fish oil. A study from Harvard University looked at heart health data from more than 120,000 subjects. Researchers concluded that people who took daily fish oil supplements cut their risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease by 8%.
That may not seem like much. But an 8% drop in heart disease would save nearly 50,000 American lives a year.
It’s important to be careful when you buy fish oil supplements. Most are made with a cheap process that yields something called an ethyl ester (EE). This kind of fish oil is less bioavailable. Labels of EE fish oil often say the product is derived from “marine oil concentrate.”
Instead, look for brands that contain the triglyceride form of fish oil. It should be noted on the label. You’re more likely to find quality fish oil supplements at health food stores and online than at drug stores and supermarkets.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, omega-3 supplements can be safely consumed at doses up to 5,000 mg daily.
Check with your doctor before taking fish oil if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication.
- Lingonberry juice. Lingonberries are native to Scandinavian countries where they are used to make jams, syrups, and sauces, in addition to juice.
An animal study at Finland’s University of Helsinki found that lingonberry juice lowers blood pressure.
The study found lingonberry reduces blood pressure three ways: It reduces inflammation in the aorta… It increases levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes arteries… And it beneficially affects something called the renin-angiotensin system. It’s the body’s main regulator of blood pressure.
Lingonberry juice is available from online retailers and health food stores. It’s often sold as a concentrate that you can mix into water or seltzer. Look for unsweetened brands with no sugar added. Drink 10 ounces a day to lower blood pressure.
- Chili peppers. Researchers from Italy’s Mediterranean Neurological Institute tracked the health and eating habits of 22,811 people for eight years.
Scientists discovered that eating chili peppers four or more times a week was linked to a 40% lower risk of death from a heart attack.
The study found that hot peppers improved heart health even when subjects ate an otherwise unhealthy diet.
Dr. Marialaura Bonaccio was the study’s first author. She said someone could follow the healthy Mediterranean diet and another person could eat junk food, but for all of them “chili pepper has a protective effect.”
Scientists aren’t sure why chili peppers are so beneficial. They suspect it has something to do with capsaicin, the component that gives peppers their spicy flavor.
If you don’t have a taste for hot peppers, try cayenne pepper supplements. You can buy them in health food stores and online. They give you heart-healthy capsaicin without the mouth-burning heat.
- Meditation. Research shows it works far better than stents or drugs to increase blood flow to the heart.
A study published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology looked at 56 heart disease patients. They divided them into four groups, each getting a different kind of treatment: usual mainstream care, cardiac rehabilitation, meditation, and meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation.
After 12 weeks, heart blood flow increased 12.8% in the meditation group. It increased 20.7% in the meditation-plus-cardiac-rehabilitation group.
The rehabilitation group, which did not meditate, had just a 5.8% improvement. The group that got the usual mainstream treatments without meditation had a 10.3% decrease in blood flow.
The researchers think meditation helps the heart by reducing levels of stress hormones and inflammation. You can learn mindfulness, an easy form of meditation, by going here.
The journey to a healthy heart does not start at a pharmacy. Nature offers effective solutions without the potentially lethal side effects of drugs.
Editor’s Note: Research shows the standard mainstream medical treatments to prevent heart attacks—stents and statin drugs—don’t work. Learn what does work in our monthly journal, Independent Healing. It’s your best source for science-based health advice. Find out how to subscribe HERE.