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.
Why do runners do it? What makes them take a perfectly good day and decide to take an hour to run when you can get great health benefits from walking as well? There must be some reason they do it? There are actually many reasons, here are a few, including some that are a little less known:
The best known benefit to running is the cardiovascular boost runners get. Part of how it improves cardio health is that running lowers your blood pressure and helps maintain elasticity in your arteries. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, do you need any other reason to go buy those new running shoes? (more…)
Although the newly released MyPlate icon is a great tool for many, it’s not specific for any single population. For individuals who are looking for more in depth and culturally specific food recommendations, useful tools similar to the MyPlate icon are becoming available.
The most recent addition is the New African Heritage Diet Pyramid. The pyramid better resembles the traditional food pyramid that has recently been replaced by the plate, but no matter its appearance, it’s a helpful tool to better plan a well-balanced diet.
Individuals of African American decent may find this pyramid particularly useful. As diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are not true components of African American heritage, Oldways and a team of experts have developed this new pyramid to appropriately identify ways to incorporate foods from traditional diets of the African Dispora in a way that promotes nutritious eating and healthy living.
Sporting my mo for the cause.
For the last eight years, November has been hijacked by the folks from “Movember,” a mustache-themed not-for profit that uses the month to raise awareness for prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.
What started out with humble beginnings in 2003 has blossomed into an amazingly powerful fund raising campaign. According to Movember’s CEO Adam Garone, his organization managed to raise $81 million in 2010, which makes it the largest prostate cancer fund raiser in the world. All by the power of the flavor savor.
Since Movember is all about raising awareness about health issues that affect men, let’s take a look at some of the most concerning and what we can do to prevent or minimize our chances of suffering from them. (more…)
After 14 years in the lab, scientists have revealed a new breed of broccoli, and if the studies continue to back the claims, this broccoli may really be super for the body.
Super broccoli was created at the Institute for Food Research in Norwich, England. It’s a cross breed of traditional British broccoli and a wild, bitter Sicilian variety that has no flowery head yet a big dose of the nutrient glucoraphanin. The potency of glucoraphanin in this new breed is what is making it so super.
Broccoli naturally contains glucoraphanin, however super broccoli contains two to three times the normal amount. Glucoraphanin works by breaking down fat and preventing it from clogging arteries. There have also been many studies that are pointing to glucoarphanin being a preventative agent for heart attacks and certain cancers. The nutrient is used naturally by plants to combat insects, and in humans it may stimulate the body’s natural chemical defenses, possibly making the body more efficient at removing dangerous compounds.
If you are genetically predisposed to a health condition, it may make you feel hopeless. According to a new study, you may be able to beat genetics with a healthy diet.
The researchers found the gene that is the biggest indicator for whether or not a person will be predisposed to heart disease can be modified simply by eating a good amount of fruit and raw vegetables.
“We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it,” said Dr. Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator for the study, and a cardiovascular disease researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. “But it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could significantly weaken its effect.”
“Our research suggests there may be an important interplay between genes and diet in cardiovascular disease,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Ron Do. (more…)
by Kelsey Murray
Women around the world, rejoice! Chocolate is once again being named as a healthy food for people to eat. This time, research shows that the tasty treat is good for your heart health.
Recently, five studies have shown a connection between high chocolate consumption and a significant reduction – 37 percent – in a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Consuming chocolate also caused a 31 percent reduction in one’s risk for diabetes and a 29 percent decrease in one’s risk for stroke.
Of course, everything is better in moderation, so don’t take these new studies as an excuse to go to your local candy store and stock up on hundreds of chocolate bars.
“Although over-consumption has harmful effects, the existing studies generally agree on a potential beneficial association of chocolate consumption with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders,” said Adriana Buitrago-Lopez of the University of Cambridge.
Susanne Eman wants the definition of beauty to expand.
Eman, weighing in at around 727 pounds, wants one day to be the fattest woman in the world, beating the current record of 1,600 pounds. To reach her goal, Eman is consuming over 20,000 calories per day.
Although the obese woman consumes an absurd amount of calories and has to use a motorized scooter in the grocery store, she insists she is perfectly healthy.
“I go for a waddle and do stretches and exercises every day. My muscles need to hold up to my weight, so I have to stay strong,” Eman told the Daily Mail. “I take my blood pressure once a week, and every day, after I exercise, I take readings of my other vitals. I use a pulse oximeter to measure the concentration of oxygen in my blood stream.”
If any of Eman’s readings were abnormal she would call her doctor immediately, she said. She truly believes that what she’s doing is healthy, but has arranged for her sister to take care of her two sons, Brendin and Gabriel, if anything were to happen.
While he was certainly not our heaviest president, that distinction goes to William Taft who tipped the scales past the 300 mark, Bill Clinton did struggle a little with a few extra pounds. Sure, he may be more known for his ravenous sexual appetite, but Clinton also had a reputation for his love of McDonald’s.
Even though President Clinton was seen jogging with secret service by his side, he was also known for devouring donuts. It’s no wonder that he continued to have weight problems. Early in Bill Clinton’s first term, Hillary asked renowned cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish to work with White House chefs to devise a menu for the President. Even with these changes, Clinton continued to have issues with his weight through both terms.
In 1999, the White House physician noted at Clinton’s annual physical that he put on 18 pounds since a checkup from two years earlier. The president was asked to focus on exercise and a low-calorie diet. (more…)
Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.
Saturated fat was recently in the news at the Institute of Food Technologists expo when experts revealed, again, that the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease is inconclusive. Both the public and professionals are now confused, since diets low in fat, particularly saturated fat, have been the mainstay of scientific consensus for more than 30 years. Saturated fat, a solid fat mainly found in animal foods, includes cheese, whole milk, butter, and fatty cuts of meat. It, together with liquid poly- and mono-unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, grains and fish, make up all naturally-occurring dietary fat.
Back in the 1970s, the American Heart Association and other authorities said to reduce all fat to 30 percent of total calories and saturated fat to 10 percent or less. The recommendation was drawn from epidemiologic studies that compared the diets among different countries, in particular, the Seven Countries Study. Those studies showed a correlation between total fat intake and rates of heart disease. That, along with the National Diet-Heart Study of the 1960s, form the basis of the message that reduction in saturated fat lowers blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.