Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) each day. This is an average of one death every 39 seconds. Stroke causes about one of every 18 U.S. deaths.
Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and medicine are the usual recommendations to ward off or treat heart disease. But more and more research shows that heart health and positivity are linked and that having a good attitude can go a long way toward reducing your risk of heart attacks and stroke. Continue reading “Heart Health and Positivity”
A new study shows statins may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 46%. That’s especially worrisome, considering this cholesterol-lowering drug nets blockbuster sales and remains a widely popular prescription. The good news is there is an option that not only rivals its pharmaceutical competitors, but tackles symptoms of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes: it’s called a low-fat, vegan diet.
The “side effects” you’ll see with a plant-based prescription – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes – are all good. Instead of narrowing arteries and insulin resistance, you’ll see improvements in arterial plaque, improved blood flow, and stabilized blood sugar. These three biometric markers, combined with waist circumference and body weight, hold the key to a clean bill of health.
With a dietary intervention, you’ll see results in just a matter of weeks.
Here are five numbers concerning metabolic risk factors that you (or your patients) need to know: Continue reading “Metabolic Risk Factors: Five Numbers You Need to Know”
Calcium and women’s health have long been linked, and now a recently published study in the journal Osteoporosis International has found that there is no connection between calcium supplementation and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
For the study, researchers examined 74,245 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study. Calcium supplement usage and incident cardiovascular disease among all these participants was recorded.
Researchers noted that, not only did the women who consumed calcium supplements have no increased risk of CVD, but they had lower levels of trans fat, smoked less, and were more physically active than women who didn’t take any such supplements.
“Calcium is an essential nutrient most widely used for its bone health benefits, and government data show most Americans don’t get enough,” said Duffy MacKay, N.D., Senior Vice President for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition. “We encourage continued studies on calcium’s safety and benefits, but this study should help women feel confident that calcium supplements are an appropriate choice if they are not getting enough from food alone.” Continue reading “Calcium and Women’s Health”
In our third installment of synergistic nutrients, folate and vitamin B6 share the spotlight. Alone, these two vitamins have valuable properties, but together they offer substantial heart health benefits. They work together to lower homocysteine levels, especially when combined with vitamin B12. High homocysteine levels have been linked to heart disease, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and even osteoporosis. Data from the Nurses’s Health Study determined that higher intakes of both folate and vitamin B6, above the current recommended dietary allowances, were associated with lower incidences of heart disease and breast cancer.
To get this combo in your diet, follow Popeye’s lead. Spinach! This leafy green contains both folate and vitamin B6, offering great homocysteine lowering effects. Avocado also has both vitamins and if you toss it into a salad, you are getting a very heart healthy meal. Not an avocado fan, but still want the benefits? Homocysteine Calm combines the nutrients needed to lower homocysteine levels and provide support for a healthy heart.
As if we needed yet another reason to emphasize vegetables in our diets, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a new study from the University of Oxford showing that a vegetarian diet may reduce risk of death or hospitalization from heart disease by 32%. 45,000 participants were tracked from the early 90’s until 2009, reporting their dietary and lifestyle habits as well as having their blood pressure and cholesterol measured. Vegetarians had lower blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI, on average. Even after adjusting for the difference in BMI, vegetarians STILL had lower rates of heart disease. In other words, overweight vegetarians had less heart disease than overweight meat-eaters.
Vegetables are like the one foe that heart disease just can’t get a beat on. Continue reading “Heart Disease Hates Vegetables”