Archive for the ‘heart disease’ Category

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately studying the kinds of foods we eat and their effect on cholesterol and in turn heart disease.  Just last night I read an article from a feed shared by one of my colleagues.  The article, written by an author and well-know cardiologist, states that cholesterol is not the enemy but inflammation caused by numerous substances are the real death sentence.  This same doctor has performed over 5000 heart surgeries and has been named as one of the top doctors in the country for many years.

Here’s a little history regarding how the war on cholesterol began.  Back in the late 40’s, scientists and researchers assembled in Framingham, NY to study the cause of, and hopefully find a cure for heart disease. This group, known as the “The Framingham Study” made some headway into discovering some things that contribute to heart disease. Then, in 1961, they stumbled upon cholesterol and with incomplete research decided this was the real cause of heart disease.  All other research studies fell to the wayside and the war on cholesterol began.  At this time, the big drug companies and lobbyists saw the writing on the wall and the money that could be made. Soon after, the low-fat theory was born and the Food Pyramid came into play promoting manufactured, low-fat foods filled with sugar, processed starches and unhealthy oils.

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated. The established dietary recommendations from the 60’s have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which are not only affecting older adults but to the kids of the future.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before. The numbers don’t lie.  Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. 

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended.  It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.  Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders.  However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial. 

We have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.  Pretty much everything you find in the middle aisles of the grocery store. 

 From the book of the cardiologist: The process of inflammation

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. You kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.  Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same.  I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

 This stiff brush is the continuous sugar we eat on a day to day basis.  And, it’s not only the sugar.  Add in the toxic chemicals in various areas from plastic containers to the sprays on our produce.  As our blood sugar rises from all of the processed foods, the carryover is distributed and binds with certain proteins that injure the arterial walls.  It’s kind of like taking sandpaper and scrapping the walls of your arteries.  We didn’t even get into the unhealthy oils and the unequal balance of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s.  That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.  So, stay away from the processed foods the best you can.  Choose the whole foods you enjoyed as a child and eliminate the manufactured foods in the middle grocery aisles.  In doing, you will reverse the aging process and have a better chance of minimizing arterial damage and heart disease.