Transcript: How to Help Prevent Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Researchers launched a study of more than three million people—by far the largest ever—to uncover what we can do, other than just not smoking, to reduce our risk of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm in the first place. In terms of diet, apparently the riskiest thing we can do is eat meat.
Eating meat just a few times a month appears to significantly increase our risk, which makes sense. Another name for atherosclerosis is hardening of the arteries. That’s what all that cholesterol goop in our arteries can do—harden and stiffen the walls of our aorta, making it less pliable. And so instead of just bouncing right back after every heartbeat, our aorta is at risk for stretching, bit by bit over time, until eventually, we can end up with a balloon animal in our gut and then, sometimes, pop goes the weasel.
The most important thing, though: no smoking, which can dramatically increase our risk. Albert Einstein died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm—and he was a vegetarian. But he didn’t start eating healthy until late in his life, unfortunately, and he was a heavy smoker.
So, minimize both smoking and meat eating, and maximize fruit and vegetable consumption, and eat nuts every day—the two most powerful dietary behaviors found to reduce one’s risk. May cut our odds of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm in half.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.
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