Doctors continue to remind us of the increased cardiovascular risk factors from eating red meat and other animal based products, and suggest we eat more vegetables to maintain good health. Environmentalists inform us how large production cattle ranches wreak havoc on the quality of our air and water, and urge us to go vegetarian. Animal rights activists protest the mistreatment of animals from dairy cows to egg laying chickens, in a concerted effort to promote total veganism.
With all of this anti-meat and animal rights campaigning, one might think eating animal products was just wrong, but new research suggests people who follow a vegan diet are at risk for developing blood clots and atherosclerosis, which are two conditions that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The vegan diet is completely free of any kind of animal products. That essentially means a vegan ingests absolutely nothing that comes from or is produced by an animal. Never are eggs, butter, sushi or chicken broth soup for the soul found on the diet list of a vegan. A diet of nuts, seeds and vegetables sounds like it could top the list of what is healthy to eat, yet this type of diet tends to be lacking in several important nutrients. Iron, zinc, vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids are difficult to acquire on a vegan diet, and these are key nutrients in helping to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a vegan diet is very low in fat and, as a result, these strict vegetarians tend to have higher levels of homocysteine and lower levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, both of which also contribute to the risk of heart disease.
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Many things come with age. Unfortunately, some of those are narrowed arteries and high cholesterol. These days, being prescribed medication for high cholesterol is almost a given, maybe even a right of passage from middle age to senior citizen-hood. But let’s face it, no one likes to take medication and many people would like to try supplements and lifestyle changes before they jump on the prescription bandwagon.
So first, let’s define a few things. When you get a lipid panel here are things you will see and what your target numbers are:
- HDL=good cholesterol Goal: Greater than 40 mg/dL for men, greater than 50 mg/dL for women
- Total cholesterol = combination of your LDL/HDL and other components Goal: Less than 200 mg/dL
- Triglycerides = Fat that your body stores Goal: Less than 150 mg/dL
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Oprah's Ultimate Weight Loss Challengers shared their weight loss progress along with many other inspired Oprah guests on the May 10, 2011 episode
It is possibly one of the most famous moments in Oprah history. What am I talking about? I’m referring to the time when Oprah wheeled out 67 pounds of fat to represent the amount of weight that she had lost. Now, in her final season, Oprah dedicated her entire May 10 episode to weight loss, food addiction, emotional eating, and the 100 Oprah viewers who have each lost at least 100 pounds.
The first viewer whose story we saw was Sandra, a 5’2″ mother who weighed 240 pounds at her heaviest. Sandra admits to being an emotional eater who used food to comfort her in moments of sadness, frustration, or doubt. When she was 40-years old, she thought she was having a heart attack. The episode turned out to be a panic attack, but her doctor told her that a heart attack was in her near future. Sandra was afraid of working out, but when she saw a sports bra on the Oprah show, she was motivated to try ice-skating as a form of exercise. She has lost 106 pounds since then. Sandra placed third in a skating competition and is much happier and healthier now.
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Tune in this Friday, January 21 to The Dr. Oz Show when the country’s most famous doctor gives you a 28-day plan to prevent a heart attack.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans; every year, more than 600,000 people die from it. This year, nearly 800,000 people will have their first heart attack and as many as 500,000 will have a recurrent attack. But you don’t have to become one of them. You have the power to heal your heart with Dr. Oz’s 28-day plan to prevent a heart attack.
By following his 28-day plant-based diet, you are practically guaranteed to lose weight, have more energy and improve the biological markers that are associated with heart attack risk.
Check your local listings for exact show times.
I remember when the government first announced its Healthy People 2010 project. The 10-year goals were created to improve the health of the nation and set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I remember thinking when the project came out, more than 10 years ago, that the goals were ambitious, yet I was thrilled that obesity and a healthy lifestyle was being talked about on such a national level.
Well, it’s 10 years later, and it’s time for another set of health goals for the United States: Healthy People 2020. This time, the goals are much more moderate, as the obesity epidemic is only getting more widespread.
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