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.

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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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"