Why Nitrate-Nitrite Rich Vegetables Are Healthy, While Nitrates in Meat Are Not

 Blood Pressure, Diet  Comments Off on Why Nitrate-Nitrite Rich Vegetables Are Healthy, While Nitrates in Meat Are Not
May 262014
 

Combining unsaturated vegetable oils with nitrite rich vegetables protects you from hypertension, according to research by King’s College in London. This new finding may be the reason why a Mediterranean diet is healthy.

But why are nitrates and nitrites in vegetables healthy, while nitrate preservatives in meats increase your risk of cancer?

Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, like natural vitamin C, prevent the natural vegetable source of nitrates and nitrites to convert to the cancer causing molecules called nitrosamines. In meats, however, the nitrates and animal proteins readily react to form nitrosamines.

In addition to not forming nitrosamines, the fruit and vegetable sourced nitrites and nitrates react with unsaturated vegetable oils to form nitro fatty acids. And it’s the nitro fatty acids that inhibit an enzyme called epoxide hydrolase, which regulates your blood pressure. When this enzyme is inhibited, your blood pressure lowers.

A good reason to eat a vegetable salad with healthy vegetable oils every day.

Healthy sources of vegetable unsaturated fats are nuts, olive oil, canola oil, avocados and flaxseed. Nitrate and nitrite rich vegetables include beet roots, romaine lettuce, carrots, spinach, celery, green beans and collard greens. Strawberries are the best fruit source.

Be creative. Make your own salad creations using the combination of healthy vegetable oils and vegetables mentioned above. And throw in a few strawberries to enjoy a long and healthy life.

How Olive Oil Helps Build Strong Bones

 Bone Health, Diet  Comments Off on How Olive Oil Helps Build Strong Bones
Jan 282014
 

In the last few years, medical articles claim olive oil helps build strong bones. A short article at the People’s Pharmacy website, “Olive Oil for Strong Bones,” is an example, citing research from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Some people in the comment section of these articles suggest a bias view from European researchers making this claim with financial help from the olive industry. However, there is a good medical basis for the claim.

The research claims that people who consume olive oil have high blood levels of an amino acid protein called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is “the most important non-collagen protein in bone matrix, accounts for approximately 1% of the total protein in human bone,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The Linus Pauling Institute states that osteocalcin is a vitamin K dependent protein, and may be important in bone mineralization or bone building.

Olive oil along with canola oil is a decent source of vitamin K, as can be seen in the Nutrition Data of vitamin K. With olive oil containing good levels of vitamin K, increasing blood levels of the bone building protein osteocalcin by consuming olive oil is a logical conclusion.

In addition to building strong bones, olive oil is also associated with heart health, improved cognitive function and cancer prevention, as summarized by Whole Foods.

Vitamin K is also found in higher amounts in dark green, leafy vegetable like kale, spinach and collard greens. To help increase your bone density, eat a salad with these dark green, leafy vegetables topped with extra virgin olive oil. Another reason why a Mediterranean type of diet improves your overall health.

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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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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

How To Eat Healthy With One Dietary Change

 Diet  Comments Off on How To Eat Healthy With One Dietary Change
Dec 282012
 

You can have a healthier diet simply by replacing red meat for healthier sources of protein like

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts
  • And legumes.

That is the conclusion of a study by the Harvard School of Public Health.

This conclusion supports the results of other recent studies that a Mediterranean type of diet not only reduces the risks of heart disease and cancers, but in combination with exercise also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%. A Mediterranean style of diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, fish, and extra virgin olive and canola oils with a small amount of red wine.

The Harvard study followed 37,698 men and 83,644 women for over 22 years through the use of questionnaires. One glaring statistical conclusion is that “regular consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, was associated with increased mortality risk.” What this means is that you are more likely to die prematurely or at an earlier age by regularly eating red meats.

The specific statistical results of regularly consuming red meats show that

  • One daily serving of unprocessed red meat increases your mortality risk by 13%
  • One daily serving of processed red meats, like hot dogs and bacon, increases your mortality risk by 20%
  • You increase your cardiovascular mortality risk by 18 and 21%, respectively
  • And you increase your cancer mortality risk by 10 and 16%, respectively.

You can extend your life expectancy by substituting red meat with a healthier source of protein. According to the Harvard study, you can reduce your mortality or premature death risk by

  • 7% with fish
  • 14% with poultry
  • 19% with nuts
  • 10% with legumes
  • 10% with low fat dairy products
  • And 14% with whole grains.

In conclusion, red meats and especially processed red meats substantially increase your risk of dying prematurely. You can live longer and healthier simply by replacing red meats with healthier sources of protein such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes and whole grains.

References:

Harvardgazette: "Red Meats raises red flags"

DoctorsLounge: "Eating More Foods Rich in Omega-3s May Lower Alzheimer's Risk: Study"