Research indicates that athletes who overtrain and push their endurance to extremes have a higher risk for heart problems, notably plaque buildup in the arteries and cell death in the heart. In other words, overdoing it athletically can increase heart attacks.
This may tie in to the damage caused by oxidative stress, which occurs simply through the breathing process. Endurance athletes really push their use of oxygen, so oxidative stress may have a greater negative effect on their bodies.
Pushing It with Poor Nutrition
Back in 1977, The Complete Book of Running was published, influencing the widespread popularity of running as a healthy exercise. The book’s author, James Fixx, promoted the idea of pushing yourself through pain to reach the eventual high of running.
Seven years after the publication of his book, James Fixx died of a heart attack while running. An autopsy showed that he had atherosclerosis—arterial plaque buildup. The truth is that Fixx had a genetic predisposition for cardiovascular issues. His father died from a heart attack at the age of 43. But James believed that by pushing himself physically, he could avoid the same fate.
Moderation and Wholesome Food
By comparison, Jack LaLane was a fitness guru who penned a number of books and had his own TV show for over 20 years. LaLane’s father died of a heart attack at the age of 50, so he had the same health threat as Fixx. But LaLane lived to the ripe old age of 96.
The key differences between these two advocates of fitness were the intensity of their exercise routines and nutrition. Fixx believed in overdoing exercise and had a poor diet. LaLane promoted exercise in moderation, ate lots of fruits and vegetables, took supplements and promoted juicing big time. Exercise and good nutrition turn out to be a winning combination.
A review published in the online journal Nutrients (January 2019), shows the correlation between endurance athletes and their dietary intake. It is known that consuming plant-based food is important not only for heart health but for the overall well-being of the human body. But for athletes that push their physical limitations, a plant-based diet is critical for their cardiovascular health.
Studies show that the nutrients from plants can have a positive effect on blood pressure levels, blood sugar levels and blood-fat concentrations as well as contribute to reversing plaque buildup in the arteries. Plant-based diets also promote a healthy body weight, improved tissue oxygenation and reduced inflammation and, especially for athletes, reduced oxidative stress.
The wealth of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties are major factors in the nutritional value of a plant-based diet for protecting the heart and the body from cellular damage.
Supporting a plant-based diet, The AIM Companies™ provides an incredible selection of concentrated plant nutrition in whole-food concentrates, such as the Garden Trio: BarleyLife, Just Carrots and RediBeets.
AIM nutrition has been supporting the endeavors of athletes for years, including Lew Hollander, who in 2014 became the oldest athlete to compete in an Ironman triathlon. In his late eighties, Lew continues to push the boundaries of physical limitations with AIM nutrition on his side. As Lew says, “I love the AIM products. They have contributed to my ability to live a very active life in old age.”
Whether you are an athlete or not, AIM nutrition can help to make a healthy difference in how you feel and move through your lifetime.
The AIM Companies has been dedicated to improving the quality of people’s lives with life-changing products like BarleyLife and Herbal Fiberblend and by rewarding passionate Members with a free-enterprise compensation plan.