Heart Health & Gut Health

Did you know your gut health can directly impact on your heart health?

As Scientists discover more about our gut health they are finding out about the direct relationship with killer diseases like heart failure.  A study reported in The Lancet stated that up 30% of early deaths from coronary heart disease, strokes , type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer could be avoided if people were to eat the recommended 30g of fibre per day – a key requirement for good gut health.

Let’s discover a little bit more about the linkage and what you can do to optimise your heart health.

Gut Health & Risk of Heart Disease

The first thing to note is that the balance of bacteria in our gut can directly affect some of the risk factors for heart disease – diabetes, obesity, cholesterol and blood pressure.  

A study on people with type 2 diabetes found that after just 16 weeks, 89% of those on the high-fibre diets showed signs that their bodies were regulating their blood sugar levels more effectively – compared to 50 per cent of the control group. Click here to read more about the link between Gut Health & Diabetes

A healthy balanced gut can also reduce tiredness and fatigue by breaking down lactic acid more effectively, modulating the metabolism and regulating how energy is created, stored and expended. This can improve our physical performance when exercising and contribute to us maintaining a healthy weight, therefore being less susceptible to becoming obese. Read here for more information about the link between Gut Health & Exercise.

It also can affect the levels of bad cholesterol in our blood, known as LDL, and our blood pressure. People who suffer from obesity, diabetes, high levels of LDL cholesterol, or high blood pressure are at greater risk for developing heart disease. These findings show the importance of having a healthy, happy microbiome in order to help us reduce these risk factors.

Artery Hardening & Heart Attacks

Now, let’s talk about the microbiome. The bacteria that can be found in the gut have their own genes and, similarly to human genes, they can produce proteins which can get into our bloodstream, travel around our body and affect our health.

In other words, the bacteria (or other microbes) living in our gut could affect other organs in our body, including the heart. This is why it is so important to make sure we have a happy, healthy gut – which includes eating enough fibre from a diverse range of sources, along with exercise, sleep and stress management.

A diverse and happy microbiome can be linked to better health, whereas poor diversity leads to poor gut health, which can have serious consequences. A recent study by the University of Nottingham and King’s College London used data from 617 middle-aged female twins and found that there is a clear link between poor gut diversity and arterial hardening in women.

Artery hardening happens at different rates as we age and is a well-known risk for cardiovascular disease. Most heart attacks occur when a plaque of atherosclerosis ruptures, which causes a clot to form and the artery to narrow and harden. This blocks the blood flow, causing part of the heart muscle to die.

The researchers found that the measure of artery stiffness was higher in women with a lower diversity of healthy gut bacteria. Dr. Michael Miller says this is because inflammation impairs the function of blood vessels, something believed to be influenced by certain gut microbes. Over time, inflammation impairs the function of the inner lining of blood vessels, which results in stiffness, plaque formation and the hardening of arteries.

Love your Gut with Troo

In order to nourish your good gut bacteria and prevent heart disease/heart attacks, we need to be consuming a lot more fibre. In the UK, Public Health England believe most adults consume around 18g of fibre per day and most children and teenagers average 15g, well short of the recommended target of 30g.

Here’s 5 Tips to Boost Your Fibre Intake:

  1. The easiest way is to have a Spoonful of Fibre – Literally! Troo Inulin Syrups contain over 60% prebiotic fibre and contain 8g of fibre per spoonful.
  2. Add a seed sprinkler to your table alongside your other condiments and add to sweet and savoury meals
  3. Snack on Troo Granola+ – the chocolate orange variety goes especially well with a cuppa
  4. Try to fill half your plate of your main meal with vegetables and legumes, ideally a variety of each – they are a great source of fibre and help keep you fuller for longer too!
  5. End the day with a bowl of Troo Porridge+ – containing 2 X the fibre of standard porridge oats and in a range of delicious flavours!
Troo Granola

It’s not just about what you eat…

Don’t forget, your gut health, and therefore your heart health as well, is about a lot more than what you eat. You also need to:

  • Exercise – NHS England recommend doing strengthening activities that work all the major muscles twice a week, 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week and reduce the amount of time you spend sitting or lying down.
  • Sleep – The amount of sleep that you need varies by person but is usually between 7 and 9 hours for a healthy adult. The Sleep Foundation provides extra guidance. 
  • Manage your stress levels – Mind have four simple steps for dealing with pressure and stressful situations; IDENTIFY your triggers, ORGANISE your time, ADDRESS some of the causes and ACCEPT the things you can’t change.

Sources & Further Reading:

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