Fasting Improves Your Health

 Diet, Heart Health, Obesity, Sleep  Comments Off on Fasting Improves Your Health
Jun 192014
 

The Salk Institute published a report two years ago showing that mice who fasted for 16 hours every day were leaner, more energetic and healthier than mice who didn’t fast. Now the Intermountain Medical Center finds that the same may be true in humans.

One explanation for the Salk mice study is for two hours after eating your liver converts the nutrition in your meal into fat for later use. If you don’t eat for at least two hours, your liver then stops making fat molecules, and starts making molecules for cellular repair. However, if you keep eating every two to three hours, your liver keeps making fat molecules, and spends little time making molecules for cellular repair.

The researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center add that fasting forces your body to use up stored fat cells for energy. And fasting may trigger action from the human growth hormone (HGH) to protect lean muscle and metabolic balance.

The net result of periodic fasting are lower triglycerides, weight and blood sugar levels. And your liver is allowed more time to help repair damaged tissue throughout your body.

But why do some people find it difficult to not snack throughout the day and night?

Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University speculate that our modern lifestyle and out-of-balance circadian system may be to blame. Artificial light helps us to sleep less and eat more. And the modern lifestyle encourages larger calorie intake at night.

Unfortunately, this may lead to obesity and poor long term health. Ideally, we should eat the most calories at breakfast, and the least at dinner. Combine this with sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night promotes the health benefits indicated in this new research results.

Think about it. If you’re sleeping 7 to 8 hours each night, that’s 7 to 8 hours you’re not eating. And if your can avoid eating for at least two hours before bed time, that’s a total of 9 to 10 hours of fasting. That gives your body 9 to 10 hours to repair your body tissues, rather than producing fat molecules.

This may be one of the reason that people who sleep 7 to 8 hours a night are healthier than people who sleep less.

Try these suggestions to increase your ability to fast for 10 to 12 hours each day.

  • Eat a large breakfast of proteins, healthy fats and whole grains.
  • Make dinner your smallest meal of the day.
  • Don’t reduce your calorie intake, but try to eat them within a 12 hour period during the daylight time period.
  • Try to get a good dose of natural sunlight during the day.
  • Don’t eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Snack during the day with high protein snacks, such as nuts and seeds.
  • Limit your sugar intake, and stay away from low fiber carbohydrates.
  • Don’t drink high caffeine drinks after 2 pm.

If you can fast for 10 to 12 hours each day, you’ll significantly reduce your risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Is Your High Blood Pressure Caused by Your Toothpaste or Mouthwash?

 Blood Pressure  Comments Off on Is Your High Blood Pressure Caused by Your Toothpaste or Mouthwash?
Jan 262014
 

Researchers in London have shown that a mouthwash with a powerful antiseptic can raise blood pressure within a day after use. The researchers warn that the rise in blood pressure seen in their study can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to the article “Mouthwashes Can Raise Risk of Heart Attack and Strokes.”

One theory is that the antiseptics are killing ‘good bacteria’ responsible for relaxing blood vessels. We tend to forget that there are ‘good bacteria’ in our digestive tract. These good bacteria are needed in helping us digest food, and create vitamins our body needs for good health.

We also don’t realize trying to kill the bad bacteria may do more harm than good by killing the good bacteria along with the bad ones.

A popular germ killing ingredient in the U.S. toothpaste and mouthwash market is triclosan. The FDA, in their report “Triclosan: What Consumers Should Know,” currently states that “Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.”

Consumer Reports states that “A recent preliminary study by the University of Michigan found that in people under 18, higher urinary triclosan levels were associated with having more reported allergies and hay fever.” In addition, frequent use of antiseptics and antibiotics like triclosan may be contributing to the creation of drug resistant bacteria.

Consumer Reports also states: “Triclosan seems to be in toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis, a form of gum inflammation. But the Mayo Clinic and other oral health experts say that gingivitis can be prevented simply by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. For most healthy people who don’t have gingivitis, and certainly for young children, using toothpaste with triclosan seems unnecessary and possibly risky.”

With this new report showing the use of powerful antiseptics or antibiotics can contribute to higher blood pressures, using triclosan free toothpaste may be a wise precaution. As the Mayo Clinic stated, we can maintain good oral health simply by brushing and flossing regularly. Just use an antibiotic and antiseptic free toothpaste. You can also keep bad breath at bay by keeping your tongue clean.

Food Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 Alzheimer's, Diet, Fat  Comments Off on Food Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Dec 302013
 

A research report titled “The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids” highlights the benefits of increasing our Omega-3 fatty acid consumption. It states a 4 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 is associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality risks. It further states a 2.5 to 1 ratio reduced colorectal cancer cell proliferation. Unfortunately, the western diet’s ratio is closer to 15 to 1, which means we need more Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet.

What are some of the food sources of Omega-3 fatty acids?

I listed below some of the common foods that have an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 4 or less, which indicates that they have a healthy amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are:

All the foods listed above are part of a Mediterranean type of diet, which research has shown to substantially decrease the risks of heart disease, cancers and dementia.

The western lifestyle is riddled with increased risks of heart disease, cancers and dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. One of the reasons may be our low consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids. We can improve our overall health by consuming more foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. These include scallops, tuna, crab, shrimp, oyster, herring, spinach, cauliflower, salmon, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, Romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, kidney beans, broccoli, collard greens, kale, black bean, canola oil, sardines, onion, lentils and walnuts.

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Vitamin K2 May Be the Best Medicine to Prevent Calcium Buildup in Your Arteries

 Diet, Viamins  Comments Off on Vitamin K2 May Be the Best Medicine to Prevent Calcium Buildup in Your Arteries
Dec 262013
 

Traditional methods of determining high or low risks for coronary artery disease (cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking history and diabetes) misses a significant percentage of people who are at high risks, according to a press release by Johns Hopkins Medicine titled “Study Shows Value of Calcium Scan in Predicting Heart Attack and Stroke Among Those Considered at Either Low or High Risk.” Traditional methods also assign high risk to people who are actually at low risks, states this new study.

The method used in the study is a direct measurement of calcium deposits in heart arteries as seen on a CT scan. Patients are then assigned a calcium score based on the scan.

The study found that 15% of patients considered low risks from traditional screening but with a high coronary artery calcium score were actually a high risk candidate for coronary artery disease over the next 7 years after screening. In addition, patients considered high risk by traditional screening methods were actually low risk over the next 7 years. These are the results of studying data from 7,000 screened patients.

The press release goes on to say, “Our study shows that coronary artery calcium testing holds promise as a frontline assessment for people before they develop heart disease symptoms. In the meantime, we believe that doctors should consider offering a coronary artery calcium scan to their patients to markedly improve risk prediction if they are unsure whether they should be on lifelong statin and aspirin therapy.”

In a previous post, “Are Calcium Supplements Too Dangerous Even to Prevent Osteoporosis,” it’s concluded that calcium becomes a health problem when there is insufficient amounts of magnesium and vitamin K2 in our bloodstream. This conclusion is confirmed in an article by Dr. Jim Howenstine, “Vitamin K2 Controls Removal of Calcium from Arteries…

Dr. Howenstine base his comments on the Rotterdam study on vitamin K2 (Dietary Intake of Menaquinone [vitamin K2] Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease). He states,” When Vitamin K2 is lacking the calcium remains in the blood and ends up getting deposited in the walls of arteries and other sites which is very undesirable. Thus Vitamin K2 becomes a critical nutrient for both bone and arteries.” In addition, he says, “Most healthy adults in the USA have undiagnosed Vitamin K deficiency. This has important health ramifications as it is a prime contributing cause for arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis with vertebral and other fractures (hip, wrist). The recent availability of Vitamin K2 as a food supplement can produce important health benefits.”

What are good food sources of vitamin K2?

The food with the highest vitamin K2 content is Natto, which is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with the bacteria Bacillus subtilis. It’s not common in the U.S., and most Americans can’t stand the smell or taste of Natto. Fortunately, low fat Gouda and Edam cheeses also are good sources, along with most Swiss type of cheeses. Smaller amounts of vitamin K2 can also be found in eggs and the dark meat of chicken.

Recent studies suggest that a direct measurement of your calcium buildup in your heart arteries is a better indication of heart attack and stroke risk compared to the traditional indicators of cholesterol, blood pressure, family history and diabetes. Additional research indicates that people with low levels of vitamin K2 are more likely to develop calcium plaques in their heart arteries, and have a higher risk of coronary heart disease. This makes vitamin K2 an important heart health vitamin. Some of the best food sources of this vitamin are Natto, Gouda, Edam, and to a lesser extent eggs and the dark meat of chicken.

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New Study Suggests Full-Fat Organic Dairy May Reduce Heart Disease Risk

 Diet, Fat, Heart Health  Comments Off on New Study Suggests Full-Fat Organic Dairy May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Dec 122013
 

A new study published in PLOS One, Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition, reports organic milk has a substantial and healthier omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio than regular milk. The reason is that organically raised cows eat more omega-3 rich grasses than conventional cows that are fed mostly corn based feeds.

Recent indications are that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable sources like corn and safflower have a “higher risk of death from all causes, as well as from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease,” compared to an average diet, according to a BMJ article, Study Raises Questions About Dietary Fats and Heart Disease Guidance. Time magazine also reported a similar finding in their article, Omega-6 Fats Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease.

That’s why researchers are trying to find foods that have a higher omega-3 fat content. Whole milk has been identified as a food that increases the risk of heart disease due to its high saturated fat content. This new study, however, is suggesting that organic whole milk may be heart healthy. It suggests that the higher omega-3 content of organic whole milk offsets the bad effects of the saturated fats.

The Los Angeles Times has quoted the lead author of the new study, Charles Benbrook, in their report, Organic Whole Milk Provides Best Heart-Health Benefits, as stating that “Consumers are going to get the full measure of this benefit in organic milk if they buy whole milk.” He suggests that organic whole milk can help reduce the risk of heart disease with a more healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The problem with reduced fat or fat free organic milk is that some of the healthy omega-3 fats are also removed along with the saturated fats. To get the full benefit of the increased levels of omega-3 fats in organic milk, you have to drink the full fat version.

The study looked at organic milk from the Organic Valley brand. Milk was selected from 14 commercial milk processors from 7 U.S. regions – Northwest region, California, Rocky Mountains, Texas, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast regions. They analyzed samples from each processor once a month for 18 months.

If you still prefer vegetable sources of omega-3 fats, your best choices are ground flax seed and chia seeds. Walnuts, soy foods, pumpkin seeds and canola also are good sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, according to the Cleveland Clinic, Plant Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Good animal sources include the cold water ocean fish like sardines, salmon, herring and tuna. If you’re a milk lover, you should now consider drinking organic whole milk to get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

If you drink milk, this new study suggests you consider switching to organic full fat milk to receive heart health benefits of an increased level of omega-3 fatty acids. Other animal sources of omega-3 fats are cold water ocean fish. You can also get large amounts of these healthy fats from vegetable sources like ground flax seeds and chia seeds along with walnuts, soy foods, pumpkin seeds and canola. Whatever source you choose, it’s best to increase your omega-3 intake to offset the negative health effects of omega-6 fatty acids.

A hidden conclusion of this study is that you may not be eating a heart healthy diet by unselectively choosing vegetable source fats. If the fats that you’re consuming have an unhealthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, you may be risking an increased risk of heart disease. To offset the negative health effects of omega-6 fats, you need to include good sources of omega-3 fats. If you’re drinking milk, organic whole milk may be better for you than regular low fat milk.

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New Study Confirms That Flu Vaccine Can Reduce Risk for a Heart Attack

 Heart Health  Comments Off on New Study Confirms That Flu Vaccine Can Reduce Risk for a Heart Attack
Aug 222013
 

You probably thought that the flu vaccine was only good for cutting your chances of getting influenza. But for over 10 years, researchers have known of a link between influenza and heart disease.

According to Mail Online, a new study published in the journal Heart confirms that for middle-aged men, a flu vaccine can cut their risk of a heart attack in half, or about 45%.

It’s not completely understood how a flu vaccine helps your heart health. But one possible explanation, as indicated in an article published on HowStuffWorks, is that the vaccine helps your immune system fight off infections at an early stage. This in turn prevents your body from activating an inflammatory response.

When our arteries become inflamed, our blood may thicken, and blood clots may form. Both of these changes in our circulatory system can lead to a heart attack, especially if our arteries are already narrowed with plague. By preventing the inflammation from occurring, the vaccine helps reduce our chances of getting a heart attack from a viral infection.

So you now have another reason to get your flu vaccine every year. It not only cuts of chances of getting the flu, it also cuts your risk of a heart attack, at least for middle-aged men.

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Improve Your Blood Vessel Health With Greek Style Coffee

 Blood Pressure, Diet  Comments Off on Improve Your Blood Vessel Health With Greek Style Coffee
Apr 242013
 

Frequent consumption of Greek style coffee is shown to improve blood vessel health or endothelial function, according to a research report published in Vascular Medicine and titled “Consumption of a Boiled Greek Type of Coffee Is Associated With Improved Endothelial Function: The Ikaria Study.”

There have been many conflicting studies trying to determine if coffee is heart healthy or not. Some studies have shown that coffee has adverse effects on blood cholesterol and blood pressure, and is associated with arterial stiffness. This study, however, indicates that frequent or chronic consumption of Greek style coffee improves blood vessel health.

Endothelial dysfunction or stiffness of your arteries is typically an early sign of arteriosclerosis, which is a plaque buildup in your arteries. Arteriosclerosis can lead to a heart attack and death. So anything that improves endothelial function, especially in old age, is worth investigating.

So what is special about a Greek style coffee that makes it heart healthy?

  1. It is made with Arabica beans, which has half the caffeine than Robusta coffee beans.
  2.   It is brewed in hot water, but not boiled. The lower temperature brewing method also helps reduce the caffeine levels.
  3. The Arabica beans brewed with the Greek method also has higher concentrations of antioxidants. This is probably the result of the coffee brewing in the water, rather than having steaming water dripping through coffee grinds as most Americans do.

There are four types of Greek coffee, which varies in sweetness. Sketos is the unsweetened version. Metrios uses 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving, and glykos uses 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving. You can also have a super-sweet version, which uses 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

To make Greek coffee, the Greeks use a special pot called a briki, but you can also use a small sauce pan. Put cold water in the pot and add 1 heaping teaspoon of finely ground Arabica coffee per serving in the water. If you want to drink one of the sweetened versions of Greek coffee, you should add the sugar at this time. Turn the heat on to medium, and stir the coffee about 5 times. Don’t stir again. Heat until a foam, called kaimaki, rises to the top, which should occur before it reaches a boil. After the foam rises to the top, you can take it off the heat and serve. Pour the coffee into cups without disturbing the foam. If you would like to follow the Greek tradition of drinking coffee, serve your coffee with a glass of cold water.

In summary, new research has shown that Greek style coffee improves blood vessel health. Greek coffee uses finely ground Arabica beans, which has half the caffeine than Robusta beans. The Greek style of brewing also increases the concentration of antioxidants in the coffee, compared to the hot, dripping method that most Americans use.

So consider making your coffee the Greek way, and hopefully you will live as long as the people of Ikaria.

Sources:

About.com:  How To Make Greek Coffee
International Coffee Organization: Caffeine

New Understanding How Red Meat Promotes Arteriosclerosis

 Diet, Heart Health  Comments Off on New Understanding How Red Meat Promotes Arteriosclerosis
Apr 092013
 

New research by the Cleveland Clinic has found another reason why consuming a lot of red meat increases your risk of heart disease. Researchers are now convinced that the association between red meat and arteriosclerosis is more complex than just consuming bad fat. A chemical compound in red meat called carnitine, and the type of gut bacterial flora that you have also play an important role.

Large amounts of diet sourced carnitine are found in red meats and pork. For most people, dietary carnitine isn’t necessary since your liver and kidneys also produce carnitine from the amino acids lysine and methionine.

How Does Dietary Carnitine Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease?

The cardio health problems associated with dietary carnitine comes when certain bacteria in your intestines convert it into a chemical called trimethylamine-N-oxide or TMAO. TMAO is known to increase your risk of developing arteriosclerosis or clogged arteries that can lead to heart attacks and death.

By eating large amounts of red meat over a long period of time, you increase the population of the type of intestinal bacteria that converts carnitine into artery clogging TMAO. The sequence of events starts with frequent consumption of red meat which leads to a large population of a specific type of gut bacteria that produce TMAO which then leads to arteriosclerosis and possibly a heart attack and death.

So the risk of developing arteriosclerosis from red meat consumption is a team effort between carnitine and a specific type of intestinal bacteria that converts it into TMAO. Interestingly, vegans and vegetarians produce less TMAO when they consume carnitine compared to big meat eaters. That is because vegans and vegetarians have less of the specific type of gut bacteria that produce TMAO than human carnivores do.

This means that developing arteriosclerosis involves not only consuming bad fats found in red meats, but also consuming carnitine which promotes the increase in a specific type of gut bacterial population that produces TMAO. So, how do you encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut?

How Can You Promote Healthy Gut Bacteria?

Healthy gut bacteria love a special type of carbohydrate called resistant carbohydrates. Resistant carbohydrates are found in high fiber fruits and vegetables like bananas and legumes. These healthy bacteria also love inulin, which is found in foods like chicory root, asparagus, onions and garlic. The reason that inulin and resistant carbohydrates are special is because they can make it into your large intestines to feed the healthy gut bacteria without first being converted into sugar and absorbed in your small intestines like simple carbohydrates are.

Summary

Developing arteriosclerosis from the frequent consumption of red meats involves not only bad fats, but also consuming dietary carnitine. Dietary carnitine promotes the growth of a certain type of intestinal bacteria that produces an artery-clogging substance called TMAO. Human carnivores have a much higher population of these bad gut bacteria than vegans and vegetarians do. That is why red meat eaters are more susceptible to heart disease than vegans and vegetarians. It is now clear that the type of bacteria that you have in your intestines has a lot to do with how healthy you are. And the type of bacteria that you have in your gut is largely determined by what you eat.

Do you want to live a relatively healthy life? Then you have to eat a diet that encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It is now clear that healthy gut bacteria thrive on high fiber fruits and vegetables. Keep your gut bacteria healthy with a proper diet, and you will keep yourself healthy.

Sources:

Cleveland Clinic: Study Offers New Understanding of Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Vegan, Vegetarian Diets
Wikipedia: Carnitine
Prebiotic Canada: Inulin

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Are Calcium Supplements Too Dangerous Even to Prevent Osteoporosis?

 Diet, Supplements, Viamins  Comments Off on Are Calcium Supplements Too Dangerous Even to Prevent Osteoporosis?
Mar 222013
 

For decades, we believed that we were doing the healthy thing by taking calcium supplements to help prevent osteoporosis in our old age. Then a published report in the British Medical Journal stated that calcium supplements do more harm than good. The researchers concluded that calcium supplements cause more heart attacks than it prevents in broken bones from osteoporosis.

Does this mean that we should dump our calcium tablets and reduce our calcium intake in the foods that we eat? Well, not so fast!

The real story behind osteoporosis, calcium intake and heart disease is a little more complicated than what many in the medical field are indicating. The real problem is not calcium supplements, but taking calcium supplements by themselves. Consuming calcium by itself can have bad health consequences, but taking calcium with its essential co-factors has many beneficial health results.

Vitamins and Minerals Require Co-factors.

As it turns out, calcium requires many other vitamins and minerals to allow it to build up our skeletal system without calcifying our muscles, arteries, joints, heart and kidneys. Take calcium without its co-factors and you start solidifying your body with hardened calcium deposits, and risk having a heart attack. But take calcium with its co-factors, and you provide your body with an essential mineral for optimum health as you age.

What are calcium’s co-factors?

Published research results on rats show that the least amount of bone loss occurs when rats are fed sufficient amounts of calcium along with vitamins K2 and D during their entire life span. But we also know that magnesium is required to activate vitamin D. So the major co-factors of calcium are

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D3
  • And Vitamin K2

Science is still trying to determine the role of vitamin K2 in bone health, but we know for sure that vitamin D is required for proper calcium utilization, and magnesium is required to activate vitamin D. We also know that magnesium plays an important role in making sure that calcium doesn’t calcify the tissues and organs throughout our body.

Other studies also have shown that manganese, vanadium, boron, silica, zinc, and copper in trace amounts are also important for bone health.

Taking calcium supplements without its essential co-factors can have negative health consequences. But with its essential co-factors (especially magnesium), calcium supplements can play an important role in preventing osteoporosis.

Is There a Problem With Calcium Supplements or Is It Magnesium Deficiency?

The big problem occurs when we take vitamin D with calcium supplements. It’s true that vitamin D is needed for proper absorption of calcium, but vitamin D also depletes our body of magnesium. That’s because vitamin D uses magnesium to transform itself into a usable form. So the more vitamin D we take, the faster we deplete our bodies of magnesium.

Then as we deplete our bodies of magnesium, calcium starts to calcify our muscles, tissues and joints, which in turn increases our risks of arthritis and heart attacks. And that’s because magnesium is needed to prevent calcium from forming plagues throughout our body. It’s becoming more obvious that magnesium is the real key to preventing calcium from causing medical problems. It’s important for the activation of vitamin D to absorb calcium, and it’s important to prevent calcium from forming health threatening plagues.

Are Calcium Supplements Safe?

Taking calcium supplements without magnesium and other co-factors is not safe. It can lead to calcification of muscles, joints, and organs, which in turn can lead to kidney and heart problems. But with sufficient amounts of magnesium and other co-factors, calcium supplements can maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis.

So instead of throwing away your calcium supplements, make sure that you also are getting sufficient amounts of magnesium and vitamin D3 to properly utilize calcium. You should also consider taking vitamin K2 supplements to minimize bone loss as you age. The other minerals that are needed in trace amounts for good bone health can be found in most multi-vitamins, mineral water and raw sea salt.

Conclusion

All minerals and vitamins can’t function properly in our bodies alone. They all need co-factors to be properly utilized. Calcium is no exception. For calcium to do its job of maintaining bone health and preventing disease like osteoporosis, it needs magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 at the very least.

But most of all, never take calcium or vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of magnesium to accompany them. Magnesium takes calcium out of the blood and soft tissues and puts it back into our bones. By putting calcium back into our bones where it belongs,  magnesium prevents calcium from forming hard, calcified plagues in our circulatory system and tissues that can lead to arthritis, heart attacks and kidney stones.  We should try to get at least 500 mg of elemental magnesium in our diet daily to properly utilize calcium in our bodies.

Of course, you can also get natural magnesium from foods. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, some selected foods that are high in magnesium content are wheat bran and germ, almonds, spinach, cashews, legumes, nuts, oatmeal, peanuts and peanut butter, brown rice, bananas, avocados and yogurt and milk.

Sources:

Huffpost: Magnesium Is Crucial for Bones
Vitamin D Council: Vitamin D Cofactors
University of Maryland: Manganese
University of Maryland: Osteoporosis
Harvard Medical School: High Calcium Intake From Supplements Linked to Heart Disease in Men
Research Report: Effects of Vitamin K2, Vitamin D, and calcium on the bone metabolism of rats in the growth phase

A New Study Provides Additional Proof That Good Health Involves A Mediterranean Type Of Diet

 Diet, Heart Health  Comments Off on A New Study Provides Additional Proof That Good Health Involves A Mediterranean Type Of Diet
Feb 252013
 

Men in my family are riddled with heart attacks in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The south Louisiana diet of red meats, fried foods and sugary desserts that I was raised on doesn’t help. That type of diet is additive and becomes a way of life that is difficult to give up. Many of my family members live in denial convincing themselves that diet is not the cause of our cardiovascular problems. They believe that it is simply the fate of life, and that you should just live it up and eat what you want while you are here on this planet.

However, we have one more study from Spain that is making it more clear that diet is the major cause of cardiovascular disease for most people. It is also clear that a Mediterranean type of diet substantially reduces our risks of heart disease.

The researchers from Spain’s Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, assigned almost 7,500 older adults with heart risks to one of three diet groups for 5 years:

  1. Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil
  2. Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts
  3. and a control group with a diet of low-fat dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables.

The result showed that the people on the Mediterranean diet were 28 to 30% less likely to develop heart disease than the group on the low-fat diet.

The study indicates that to lower your chances of developing heart disease, you should stay away from

  • Refined breads and sugars
  • Sodas
  • and red and processed meats

Instead your diet should involve

  • Eating meat on only one or two days a week
  • Use extra virgin olive oil
  • Eat a lot of vegetables and legumes
  • And replace high-carbohydrate and high-saturated fat snacks with nuts.

If you drink alcohol, drink a small amount of red wine rather than hard liquor.

I believe that this study compliments a recent study at Oxford, which concluded that you can reduce your risks of heart disease by 32% by being a vegetarian. In my older age, I have abandoned my New Orleans lifestyle. My diet now consist mostly of fruits, spinach, kale, bok choy, steel-cut oats, chia seeds, walnuts, peanuts, beans, brown rice, avocados, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, almond and soy milks and sardines. I use very little sugar, and have given up wheat products. It’s a dietary lifestyle that I have learned to live with, and you can too.

References:

Reuters: Mediterranean diet can ward off heart disease

The New England Journal of Medicine: Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet