Researchers at the National Committee for Quality Assurance looked at several measures for cardiovascular disease and diabetes prevention, treatment and risk factors among patients in 46 different commercial managed care plans and 148 Medicare plans.
The results of a European study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that virgin olive oil contained more antioxidants that a more refined olive oil. What does this mean to you? More antixoidants may offer more protection against heart disease.
In this study those taking the virgin olive oil had higher levels of polyphenols (a certain class of antioxidants), higher levels of HDL (the good cholesterol that protects your heart) and higher levels of substances that help prevent the oxidantion of the LDL (bad cholesterol). All of this means you may be able to lower your risk of heart disease and strokes by using virgin olive oils over other types of oils in your diet.
How much olive oil? The participants, all men, ate about 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil per day for three weeks. (Other particpants ate refined olive oil or a mixture of virgin and refined).
Remember when adding fats to your diet to look at your overall fat intake.
Do you know just how close your heart and your mouth really are?
Did you know that maintaining good oral care can help in preventing heart disease?
A study (Journal of Periodontology) confirmed findings that people with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of developing systemic (meaning through-out the body) disease such as cardiovascular disease
Individuals with gum disease apparently release significant levels of bacterial components (things like endotoxins) into the bloodstream where they can travel to other areas of the body. Our mouths can be a major source of chronic or permanent release of these toxic bacterial components in the bloodstream during chewing. So those with severe periodontal disease had approximately four times more harmful bacterial products in their blood.
Doesn’t that just make you want to run and floss?
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women over the age of 50 and is largely preventable.
Modifiable risk factors include smoking, obesity, abnormal cholesterol profile, elevated glucose, hypertension, and lack of exercise.
What can you do?
Reverse the above risk factors, and see your provider on a regular basis for appropriate testing. Eat a healthy diet, get exercise daily and consider medications that may be appropriate.
If you have non-modifiable risk factors such as belonging to a race or ethnic group that is at higher risk for heart disease (African American, Mexican American, Native American and native Hawaiians), and if you have a family (mother, fathers, sister, brother) history, then it is essential for you to follow the above recommendations to maximize your health and minimize your risk.
(c)2005 Barbara C. Phillips, NP
(*excerpt from “Protecting Your Health” by Barbara C. Phillips, NP)
I always like it because it gets beyond the hype that we all hear when a pharmaceutical rep comes to the office to educate us on their wares. This is one newsletter that does not even allow pharmaceutical company support, and they will often tell you what is wrong with the info we get from reps.
That said, the July issue of Prescriber’s Letter starts with some information on fish oil supplements.
It seems that mainstream medicine is finally taking Omega-3 fatty acids more seriously than before. (Western, mainstream medicine is slow and conservative!).
Here are some facts and recommendations:
- Eating fish at least once a week cuts sudden cardiac death by half (American heart association)
- Recommendations include 1 gram per day of fish oils from diet or supplements for those who already have heart disease. It seems to decrease risk for further events by 15%
- If you have high triglycerides, higher does (2-4 gram/day) of fish oils can lower those levels by up to 45%!
- Which fish is good? Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, herring, etc.
- If you don’t eat fish or enough fish, find a good fish oil supplement. Look for USP-verified seal on supplements.
- Consider the toxicity of the fish, an artificial coloring (farm raised salmon are apparently being colored), etc. Some fish oil supplements may have less contaminates it is still something to consider.
Of course the pharmaceutical companies will be coming out with prescription medication that will contain omega 3s. However, if you can get your levels down with fish oil supplements, fiber, and proper eating¦you are ahead of the game.
Fish oils also seem to have antiplatelet and anti-inflammatory properties and a mild blood pressure lowering effect – all good things.
Be aware that flaxseed and some nuts which also contain omega-3s, alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), but it seems to be different that one ones found in fish.
Alpha-linolenic acid may also help decrease heart disease and arthrosclerosis (gunky vessels) but does not seem to affect triglycerides.
In order to boost levels of ALA try eating a handful of walnuts, almonds or pecans daily. If you’d rather, have 1-2 tablespoons/day of ground flaxseed or ½ to 1 teaspoon/day of flaxseed oil.
I personally use ground flaxseed on lots of things. I sprinkle it on oatmeal or other cereals, fruit salads, yogurt and cottage cheese dishes I make with fruit, etc. I even throw some in the blender when making up smoothies.
Another side note. When you are looking for supplements, make sure you are getting more Omega-3s. Many products have both O-3s and O-6s. You need only a few 6s. You want the O-3s. And, remember not all products are equal, and if you purchase a 90 day supply for $5.00 you probably paid for nothing.
Here you have it, another tool for you to use to decrease your risk of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in women. You’re already quit smoking and are exercising – right?
Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women over the age of 50.
Yet cardiovascular disease is largely preventable with a healthy lifestyle.
**Participating in exercise, at least 30 minutes per day will reduce your blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease and strokes. Your heart is a muscle, and keeping it toned will do wonders for you.
**Know your numbers. Do you know your cholesterol profile (HDL, LDL, total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and waist circumference, among others)? Knowing these numbers can tell you where you need to take action to keep your cardiovascular risk low. This is a case in which not knowing can harm you.
**Reduce your cholesterol by eating a heart-healthy diet. That means eating a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in fruits, vegetables and grains that contain soluble fiber.