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Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.

Tag Archives: heart health

Eat the fat, not the sugar!

I am always amazed when I read health news. It seems as soon as one study comes out, the next research contradicts the previous one.  I read an interesting but controversial article where the researchers (three cardiologist from Britain) say that saturated fat does not clog your arteries and that the “clogged pipe” model of heart disease is “plain wrong.”  They go on to say that in people over 60, the number one risk factor for heart attacks is inulin resistance, driven by a number of dietary factors, especially increased sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  In other words, its not the saturated fat in your burger that causes the problem, it is the bun, fries and sugary drink that you wash it down with, that you should be concerned with. Remember inflammation is a driver of cardiovascular disease and pro-inflammatory ingredients are the sugars, refined carbs and industrial seed oils found in processed foods.  I will have a bit more on this next time!

Foods that fight inflammation..!!

We all know that what you eat greatly affects your health.  Inflammation is a big driver in cardiovascular disease and other diseases as well, such as Rheumatoid arthritis.  Foods that are high in simple sugars such as desserts or soda’s, can increase inflammation in our body.  This can then increase the pain in our joints and contribute to other problems that may appear mundane in nature, however might become serious over time. There are many foods that fight inflammation and here are a few; olive oil, spinach, kale, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, fatty fish such as salmon, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  There are many more, but I haven’t enough time to list them all.  Finally, the Mediterranean diet is a good way of eating, as it is higher in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.  These foods can literally reduce the inflammatory markers in your blood and keep you healthier and reduce pain symptoms.  Bon appetit…!!

Over the counter meds and heart attack

Do you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Naproxen, Diclofenac, etc.) on a regular basis?  I just read a study that found taking these over-the-counter meds on a regular basis, may increase your risk of a heart attack by as much as 30 percent.  Apparently they can influence platelet aggregation, cause blood clots, cause arteries to constrict, increase fluid retention and raise blood pressure.  Even though they are readily available drugs, they are not necessarily without risk especially if you have cardiovascular disease. It is a stark reminder that these drugs are not harmless.  There are supplemental alternatives for these painkillers. Talk to your Chiropractor on how to get pain relief from safer and more natural resources.

Breakfast & Reducing Health Risks!!

Did you know that breakfast may be better for you than you may have previously known. The American Heart Association has recently released a scientific statement that breakfast is good for the heart.  The AHA guidelines recommend eating breakfast every day, eating more calories earlier in the day and eating less calories in the later day.  This can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.  If you are among the 30% of American adults who skip breakfast, now may be the time to start eating that morning meal.  Apparently, starting the day without those essential nutrients is not a good idea.  Eat smart, healthy and your body will appreciate it!!!

Fish Oil & Heart Risks

WOW…did the holidays sneak up on this year or what?  Now that the cholesterol laden season has finally passed, I wanted to give you some more good news about fish oil and heart health.  A recent study found more evidence that omega-3 oils reduce heart problems. Those that took omega-3 fish oils had an 18% less risk of having a heart problem.  Even those who were already at risk for developing heart problems seemed to benefit from fish oil.  Remember that bad lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet choices and no exercise all help increase the risk of cardiovascular events. For the New Year, analyze your eating habits, back off on some bad vices and increase your exercise, even a little bit, and add fish oil to your diet…!!

Inflammation and carbs may drive cardiovascular disease!

In a follow-up to my last blog, several years ago I talked about a very large study on statins (cholesterol meds) that showed being on them gave you about a 1-2% less chance of dying from a “cardiovascular incident” than those people not taking them.  I would never tell a patient or friend to not take their meds but I would ask them to take a close look at the scientific evidence in light of the current trend of physicians to load patients up with meds that barely work and have significant side effects.  The current thinking on cardiovascular disease is that cholesterol is not a significant driver of cardiovascular disease but bad carbohydrates and inflammation are.  This is evidenced by the newest statins that were discontinued from study because even though they lowered cholesterol, those taking them died more often, or as often, as the control group from a cardiovascular incident.  Take a good close look at your diet and eating habits and be proactive and look for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the bad carbs.  It may save your life without the side effects!

Cholesterol…good, bad, or myth!

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and the cholesterol feast has ended.  Speaking of cholesterol, did you know that the latest and greatest cholesterol drugs have been incredible failures?  In fact, even though these drugs have actually lowered bad cholesterol and increased the good cholesterol, they have had literally NO effect on heart health.  The drugs in question are called statins. The most recent super, duper drug is called evacetrapib, however those study participants taking it had more heart attacks than the placebo group. Strokes and heart attacks killed almost as many on the drug as those in the placebo group. Many doctors now think the cholesterol debate is being blown out of proportion.  It seems cholesterol meds are drugs looking for a problem instead of a problem in need of a drug.  The trend now is looking at inflammation and carbohydrates as the main culprit in heart disease. More on this next time!!

Heart health & cooking temperature of oils

Did you know that the temperature at which we cook some foods may put us at risk for heart disease?  Scientist know that certain populations have higher risks for heart disease and now they believe there may be a correlation to the temperature at which they cook deep fried and oily foods and not the amount of oil that is used.  When temperature gets high enough it creates new compounds and some are harmful to health.  So if you like a well seared steak or a crisp fried samosa, you may want to think again. A study showed that heating and frying with healthy oils changed them into unhealthy oil at higher temperatures which means there is a creation of chemical byproducts such as trans fatty acids glycogen end products. It seems the longer and higher you cook a food in oil, the more unhealthy it becomes. Eating an occasional meal shouldn’t have an effect however eating foods cooked this way day in and day out, may be hazardous to our health..!!

Ectopic Fat, Cardiovascular Risk

Fat Distribution

Ectopic fat is important! Have you noticed a little more chub around your waist lately? Did you know that one risk factor relative to health is exactly where this lipid  is stored on the body? Growing evidence associates the location of fat in the body, to increased risk of disease. This risk is not so much associated with how much fat we carry but where we carry it. If we carry this lipid tissue along our waist, liver, heart, pancreas or muscle, we are generally more at risk for disease. Tell tale signs include an apple-shaped fat distribution pattern, primarily in the abdomen, chest and shoulders. Even people with the same BMI measures can have different risk factors based upon where fat is located. Unfortunately ectopic fat can be present even if one is not clinically obese or even overweight. On the flip side of this coin, the presence of obesity does not necessarily mean there is ectopic fat present.

Risks

Since these lipids are more dangerous to health ( cardiovascular issues) when it is located along our waist and internal organs, there must be some risk factors. There are risk factors that we can control and some we cannot.  Controllable risk factors include, stress, sleep, activity levels and smoking. Other controllable risk factors include calorie intake higher than calorie burn, the standard western diet, night eating and high fructose corn syrup. Demographics include age, ethnicity, gender and genetics, all which are uncontrollable.

Physical and Lab Measures

There are some physical and lab evaluations that are associated with ectopic fat than can provide important details if one wishes to pursue them.  Though finding out your BMI is helpful, a better way is to get a Bio impedance analysis which uses electrical measurements to provide measurements of lean tissue, fat tissue, and fluid distribution. There are also several biochemical assessments such as salivary cortisol, C-reactive protein, ESR, hemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose and insulin as well as fructosamine and C-peptide.

All this information is fine, except what are the solutions?  Solutions include diet, exercise, lifestyle and nutrition via nutraceuticals.  I will discuss this in detail next time!

Wine and Health?

New research out of Canada has found that consuming resveratrol, a compound of red wine, may provide similar benefits to that of exercising. Resveratrol was seen as improving physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in the same manner as they improve after working out at the gym.  This may be good news for a specific population of people that cannot workout due to physical limitations or the inability to perform workouts.  Though this was a study performed on rats, it does have some promise.  Other ways to consume resveratrol besides red wine include, blueberries, grapes, dark chocolate and peanut butter.  A toast to your health!