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Without our heart, we die, so why do people insult our heart with poor nutrition?

 

Honey for the Heart: Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

© 16th June 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Tuesday, June 16th 2020 at 4:15 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020

Honey has long been celebrated for its beneficial effects on cardiovascular symptoms. A study from 2018 takes the sweet benefit up a notch by looking at the 12-month effects of tualang honey and honey cocktail on cardiovascular risk factors of postmenopausal women

Since time immemorial, honey has had widespread use as food and medicine, found perfectly preserved in ancient Egyptian tombs and in cave art some 8,000 years back.[i] Its lineup of active biological constituents includes polyphenols, which are nutritionally dense phytochemicals that boast of antioxidant properties.[ii]

Honey is no stranger to providing heart-friendly benefits, consistently appearing in studies to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It aids the body in its healthy processing of fats by decreasing the total amount of cholesterol and fats present in the bloodstream.[iii]

This benefit takes on special importance when it comes to menopause, as cardiovascular disease emerges as one of the long-term complications at this stage of life with the highest morbidity and mortality rates.[iv]

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is widely prescribed to manage menopausal symptoms, concerns over its safety and side effects have got many postmenopausal women turning to alternative solutions,[v] such as the use of honey and beehive-based therapies.[vi]

In 2018, researchers investigated the long-term effects of honey — specifically tualang honey and honey cocktail made up of honey, bee bread and royal jelly — on cardiovascular markers in postmenopausal women.

Tualang Honey Lowers Blood Pressure, Fasting Blood Sugar

The group conducted a randomized, double blinded, two-armed parallel study that compared 20 grams (g) per day of tualang honey with 20 g per day honey cocktail in postmenopausal subjects ages 45 to 65.[vii] They then assessed heart health indicators at the beginning of the study as well as six and 12 months into the intervention.

If you haven’t heard about tualang honey before, it is a Malaysian multifloral jungle honey that has become popular in medical databases in recent years for its potential health benefits.[viii] The honey is created by the rock bee, building hives on branches of tall tualang trees in Peninsular Malaysia’s northwestern region.

Tualang honey has been linked to anti-influenza, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, antitumor and antidiabetic properties, on top of its wound-healing action.[ix]

The study recruited 100 participants and randomized them into groups. The results reflected a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure, from 77.92 mmHg at the beginning to 73.45 mmHg at 12 months in the tualang honey group versus the honey cocktail group. The researchers also saw a dramatic decrease in fasting blood sugar, dropping from 6.11 mmol/L at baseline to 5.71 mmol/L at the 12month mark in the same group compared to the other.

The study concluded that tualang honey therapy yielded super effects in lowering diastolic blood pressure as well as fasting blood sugar compared to honey cocktail. The latter, however, showed remarkable effects on body mass index (BMI).

“Twelve months of TH [tualang honey] and HC [honey cocktail] supplementation in postmenopausal women helped reduce some of the cardiovascular risk factors … The underlying mechanisms of TH and HC on the observed parameters are not fully understood and they need to be further investigated,” the researchers wrote.[x]

Nature’s Gift Against Cardiovascular Disease

An increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease, also highly correlates with late-stage postmenopause.[xi] In one study, for instance, the participants had menopause for at least eight years, considered the late stage of postmenopause.[xii]

The subjects’ baseline characteristics also showed that at the mean age of 58, all of them were overweight, while over half had hypercholesterolemia and high blood pressure.

High blood pressure itself is a crucial risk factor for heart disease, with a prevalence that increases for postmenopausal women.[xiii] According to data, women have the highest high blood pressure risk five to nine years after they go into menopause.[xiv]

In previous studies, natural honey demonstrated an ability to modulate some of the risk factors present in cardiovascular disease,[xv] which is the leading cause of death in the U.S., causing one death every 37 seconds.[xvi] Honey also has protective effects against metabolic syndrome.[xvii]

Learn more from the more than 200 abstracts on GreenMedInfo.com that extol the different health benefits of consuming honey. Over 1,700 abstracts on GreenMedInfo.com also discuss cardiovascular diseases.


References

[i] Heathmont Honey, Bees, Honey history, https://www.heathmonthoney.com.au/bees/HoneyHistory.htm

[ii] Hossen MS et al “Beneficial roles of honey polyphenols against some human degenerative diseases: A review” Pharmacol Rep. 2017 Dec;69(6):1194-1205. Epub 2017 Jul 4.

[iii] Rasad H et al “The effect of honey consumption compared with sucrose on lipid profile in young healthy subjects (randomized clinical trial” Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2018 Aug;26:8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2018.04.016.

[iv] AHEM Maas et al “Women’s health in menopause with a focus on hypertension” Neth Heart J. 2009 Feb;17(2):68-72.

[v] Amato P et al “Estrogenic activity of herbs commonly used as remedies for menopausal symptoms” Menopause. 2002 Mar; 9(2):145-150.

[vi] Elia D et al “Assessment of the tolerance and effectiveness of a food supplement Serelys (Femal) for menopausal women” Genesis. 2008 Nov;135:12-15.

[vii] AB Wahab SZ et al “Long-term effects of honey on cardiovascular parameters and anthropometric measurements of postmenopausal women” Complement Ther Med. 2018 Dec;41:154-160. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.08.015. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

[viii] Sarfarz Ahmed et al “Review of the Medicinal Effects of Tualang Honey and a Comparison with Manuka Honey” Malays J Med Sci. 2013 May; 20(3): 6-13.

[ix] Sarfarz Ahmed et al “Review of the Medicinal Effects of Tualang Honey and a Comparison with Manuka Honey” Malays J Med Sci. 2013 May; 20(3): 6-13.

[x] AB Wahab SZ et al “Long-term effects of honey on cardiovascular parameters and anthropometric measurements of postmenopausal women” Complement Ther Med. 2018 Dec;41:154-160. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.08.015. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

[xi] Marchi R et al “Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in pre and postmenopausal women” Arch Endrocrinol Metab. 2017 Mar-Apr;61(2):160-166. doi: 10.1590/2359-3997000000253. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

[xii] Harlow SD et al “Executive summary of the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop + 10: addressing the unfinished agenda of staging reproductive aging” Menopause. 2012 Apr;19(4):387-95. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31824d8f40.

[xiii] Lima R et al “Hypertension in Postmenopausal Women” Curr Hypertens Rep. 2012 Jun; 14(3): 254-260. doi: 10.1007/s11906-012-0260-0

[xiv] Cho GJ et al “Postmenopausal status according to years since menopause as an independent risk factor for the metabolic syndrome” Menopause. 2008 May-Jun;15(3):524-9. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181559860.

[xv] Rasad H et al “The effect of honey consumption compared with sucrose on lipid profile in young healthy subjects (randomized clinical trial” Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2018 Aug;26:8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2018.04.016.

[xvi] CDC, Heart disease, Facts https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

[xvii] Nutrients. 2018 Aug 2;10(8):1009. doi: 10.3390/nu10081009. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30072671/

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Want to Defeat Coronavirus? Address Diabetes and Hypertension


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/04/13/how-to-defeat-coronavirus.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola    Fact Checked
April 13, 2020
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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • In Italy, more than 99% of fatalities from COVID-19 occurred among people who had underlying medical conditions
  • The finding came from an examination of 18% of Italy’s COVID-19 deaths, which revealed that only three people who died — or 0.8% — had no underlying conditions
  • Among Italy’s COVID-19 fatalities, 76.1% had high blood pressure, 35.5% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease
  • Underlying health conditions like heart disease and diabetes are linked to “poorer clinical outcomes,” such as admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), a need for invasive ventilation or death, among COVID-19 patients
  • To beat COVID-19, one of the best strategies is to get your underlying chronic conditions under control; even diabetes and high blood pressure can often be reversed via healthy diet and lifestyle

While the World Health Organization has put the death rate from novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at 3.4%,1 a study in Nature Medicine put it much lower, at 1.4%.2 The fact is, with many cases going unreported and untested, mild and asymptomatic cases may not be included in official COVID-19 death rate figures, which could skew the death rate significantly, making it appear higher than it actually is.

In Italy, however — the “new” epicenter for COVID-19 — the number of deaths reportedly overtook those in China by mid- to late March 2020.3

As the home to the world’s second-oldest population after Japan, Italy’s elderly population is at increased risk of death from COVID-19, but there’s another factor that also makes you more susceptible to death or serious illness if you contract COVID-19: an underlying health condition, particularly diabetes or high blood pressure.

This is why, if you want to stay healthy in this pandemic, one of the best strategies is to get your underlying chronic conditions under control; even diabetes and high blood pressure can often be reversed via healthy diet and lifestyle.

99% of COVID-19 Deaths in Italy Had Underlying Conditions

According to a study by The Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy’s national health authority,4 more than 99% of fatalities from COVID-19 occurred among people who had underlying medical conditions.

The finding came from an examination of 18% of Italy’s COVID-19 deaths, which revealed that only three people who died — or 0.8% — had no underlying conditions. On the contrary, nearly half the victims had three underlying conditions while one-fourth had one or two.5

Further, among the fatalities, 76.1% had high blood pressure, 35.5% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease.6 While the median age of those infected was 63, most deaths occurred in older people, with 79.5 being the average age of those who’ve died. Among those who were under 40 when they died, all had serious underlying health conditions.7

A report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19, released in February 2020, similarly found a higher crude fatality ratio (CFR) among people with additional health conditions. While those who were otherwise healthy had a CFR of 1.4%, those with comorbid conditions had much higher rates, as follows:8

  • Cardiovascular disease — 13.2%
  • Diabetes — 9.2%
  • High blood pressure — 8.4%
  • Chronic respiratory disease — 8%
  • Cancer — 7.6%

Underlying Conditions, Obesity Increase Risk of Poor Outcomes

Another study looking into the impact of co-existing health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes on COVID-19 outcomes found they’re linked to “poorer clinical outcomes,” such as admission to an intensive care unit, a need for invasive ventilation or death.9

The study involved 1,590 laboratory-confirmed hospitalized patients, revealing that people with a chronic condition were 1.8 times more likely to have a poor outcome compared to those with none. This jumped to 2.6 times more likely for those with two chronic conditions.10

The first review of fatal COVID-19 cases in China also found diabetes may be associated with mortality,11 as did a report of 72,314 cases by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.12

While the researchers found a mortality rate of 2.3% in the overall population, this rose to 10.5% among people with cardiovascular disease and 7.3% among those with diabetes.13 Likewise, in a Lancet study of 191 patients in China, 48% of those who died from COVID-19 had high blood pressure.14,15

Likewise, the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre released a report on 196 patients critically ill with COVID-19.16 Among them, 56 patients had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30, which is classified as overweight, 58 had a BMI of 30 to 40, which indicates obesity, and 13 had a BMI of 40 or higher which is classified as severely obese. Overall, 71.7% of the critical patients were overweight, obese or severely obese.17

This could have serious implications for the U.S., where approximately 45%, or 133 million, people suffer from at least one chronic disease.18 Among them, more than 1 in 10 have diabetes (and another 1 in 3 has prediabetes),19 while 108 million adults have high blood pressure.20 Further, 71.6% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are overweight or obese.21

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Are ACE Inhibitors Part of the Problem?

In another intriguing finding, researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland noted that in three studies of patients with COVID-19, the most frequent underlying conditions — heart disease, diabetes and hypertension — are those often treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.22 Writing in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, they explained:

“Human pathogenic coronaviruses (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus [SARS-CoV] and SARS-CoV-2) bind to their target cells through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is expressed by epithelial cells of the lung, intestine, kidney, and blood vessels.

The expression of ACE2 is substantially increased in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who are treated with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers (ARBs). Hypertension is also treated with ACE inhibitors and ARBs, which results in an upregulation of ACE2.”23

In short, the ACE2 enzyme is beneficial in that it promotes tissue regeneration, and ACE inhibitors and ARBs (as well as ibuprofen) increase the formation of ACE 2. The problem is that coronavirus binds to ACE2 and uses it to enter cells, where it then multiplies. “For that reason,” study author Michael Roth said in a news release, “we suggest further research into the use of these drugs in COVID-19 patients.”24

Targeting Insulin Resistance Is Key

The likely common denominator for these diseases is our old nemesis, insulin resistance, in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed food diet. Insulin resistance not only contributes to these diseases but also impairs immune function. So, if your fasting blood sugar is over 100 it would be highly prudent to make diligent efforts to get that under control.

As your insulin and leptin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase. Eventually, you may become insulin and/or leptin resistant. Likewise, Type 2 diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance resulting in high blood sugar.

When your body is insulin resistant,25 the cells in your body do not respond well to insulin, which lowers their ability to use glucose from the blood for energy. The pancreas secretes more insulin, trying to overcome the cells’ weak response in their attempt to keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range.

As noted by Dr. Sandra Weber, president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, in The New York Times, “We know that if you do not have good glucose control, you’re at high risk for infection, including viruses and presumably this one [COVID-19] as well … [improving glucose control] would put you in a situation where you would have better immune function.”26

What and When to Eat to Beat Insulin Resistance

With regard to insulin resistance, research shows intermittent fasting promotes insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar management by increasing insulin-mediated glucose uptake rates.27 This is important not only for resolving Type 2 diabetes but also high blood pressure and obesity.

Time restricted eating, i.e., the restriction of eating only during a six- to eight-hour window, mimics the eating habits of our ancestors and restores your body to a more natural state that allows a whole host of metabolic benefits to occur.28 While there are a number of different intermittent fasting protocols, my preference is fasting daily for 18 hours and eating all meals within a six-hour window.

If you’re new to the concept of time-restricted eating, consider starting by skipping breakfast and having your lunch and dinner within a six-hour timeframe, say 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., making sure you stop eating three hours before going to bed. It’s a powerful tool that can work even in lieu of making other dietary changes.

In one study, when 15 men at risk of Type 2 diabetes restricted their eating to a nine-hour window, they lowered their mean fasting glucose, regardless of when the “eating window” commenced.29

What you eat is also important. I recommend adopting a cyclical ketogenic diet, which involves radically limiting carbs (replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein) until you’re close to or at your ideal weight, ultimately allowing your body to burn fat — not carbohydrates — as its primary fuel.

Key Steps to Getting — and Staying — Healthy

While many people — young and old alike — are facing Type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, these conditions can be turned around, and in so doing you’ll significantly reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

Along with intermittent fasting and a cyclical ketogenic diet, the tips that follow will help you prevent and reverse obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, while helping you boost your immune system to avoid both chronic diseases and illness from infectious agents alike:

Limit added sugars to a maximum of 25 grams per day. If you’re insulin resistant or diabetic, reduce your total sugar intake to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has resolved (then it can be increased to 25 grams) and start intermittent fasting as soon as possible.
Limit net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and protein and replace them with higher amounts of high-quality healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, raw grass fed butter, olives, avocado, coconut oil, organic pastured eggs and animal fats, including animal-based omega-3s.
Avoid all processed foods, including processed meats. For a list of foods that are particularly beneficial for diabetics, please see “Nine Superfoods for Diabetics.”
Get regular exercise each week and increase physical movement throughout waking hours, with the goal of sitting down less than three hours a day.

Healthy middle-aged adults were able to improve their insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation after just two weeks of interval training (three sessions per week),30 while among people with Type 2 diabetes, just one interval training session was able to improve blood sugar regulation for the next 24 hours.31

Your body’s ability to respond to insulin is also affected by just one day of excess sitting, which leads your pancreas to produce increased amounts of insulin. Research published in Diabetologia also found that those who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat the least,32 so make sure to keep moving.

Get sufficient sleep — Most need right around eight hours of sleep per night. Research has shown sleep deprivation can have a significant bearing on your insulin sensitivity33 and immune function.
Optimize your vitamin D level, ideally through sensible sun exposure. If using oral vitamin D3 supplementation, be sure to increase your intake of magnesium and vitamin K2 as well, as these nutrients work in tandem, and monitor your vitamin D level.
Optimize your gut health by regularly eating fermented foods and/or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.
Stress management should be a regular part of your immune-support and hypertension-reduction plan, as hypertension often has an emotional component to it, especially if you’re chronically stressed or anxious. Using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is one excellent suggestion.
– Sources and References

Improve cholesterol levels and blood vessel function by eating the right amount of blueberries

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/blueberries-metabolic-syndrome-3322.html

by:  

blueberries(NaturalHealth365) Metabolic syndrome makes the “who’s who list” of bad health conditions, yet most people remain uneducated about its details.  This “syndrome” significantly increases your risk of potentially serious chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease, including a heart attack or stroke.

Fortunately, as is usually the case with good nutrition, it turns out that reducing the impact of metabolic syndrome is just one of the many benefits of eating the right amount of blueberries, on a regular basis.

For example, a 2019 study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers great incentive to eat more of this delicious fruit if you or anyone you know wants to improve heart health or is living with metabolic syndrome risk factors, including a large waist circumference, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

Can you really defeat metabolic syndrome by eating more blueberries?

Researchers of the study split 115 overweight and obese adults with metabolic syndrome (mostly older males) into one of three groups: Group 1 ate 1 cup (150 g) of blueberries per day, Group 2 ate 1/2 a cup (75 g) of blueberries per day, and group three had a placebo. There was an impressive 94.1% compliance with the food intake over the course of 6 months.

The “dietarily achievable” servings of blueberries actually came in a freeze-dried and powdered form, but the authors were so hopeful about their findings they still advised “blueberries should be included in dietary strategies to reduce individual and population [cardiovascular disease] risk.”

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Here’s why…
While just half a cup per day didn’t correlate with any beneficial biomarker improvements, the researchers found that eating 1 cup of blueberries per day yielded significant improvements in cholesterol levels, blood vessel function, and underlying nitric oxide activity – which helps blood vessels relax and plays a big role in regulating blood pressure.

All of these correlated with improvements in underlying metabolic syndrome and a predicted 12 to 15 reduction in cardiovascular risk.

This is consistent with other research pointing to beneficial health effects correlated with blueberries, including improved heart and brain health and better blood sugar control (although in this study, the insulin resistance for these participants remained unchanged – maybe not surprising, since the authors didn’t impose many limits on the participants’ diets overall, but only prior to baseline, interim, and 6-month assessments).

Wow!  Discover the impressive nutrient profile of just one serving of this delicious fruit

1 cup of blueberries (about 148 grams) boasts 3.6 grams of fiber and tons of other nutrients like vitamin K1 (28 mcg per cup), vitamin C (14.1 mcg per cup), manganese, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.

Blueberries are also a potent source of flavanoids – plant nutrients with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers believe flavanoids are one of the major heart healthy benefits of blueberries.

Blueberries are especially rich in a type of flavanoid called anthocyanin, which give blueberries its dark purplish blue color.  Just 1 cup of blueberries contains an impressive 400 mg of flavonoids.  Of course, always choose organic varieties to avoid the consumption of unwanted chemicals.

So, sprinkle some on salads, yogurt, or oatmeal, eat by the handful, or pair with nuts and dark chocolate. The choices are endless! If you can, opt for wild and/or locally sourced blueberries whenever possible, as these have a higher flavanoids profile than conventionally grown versions.

Sources for this article include:

Healthline.com
NYTimes.com
Academic.oup.com
NIH.gov
Livescience.com
NIH.gov

New Study Sheds Light on Stroke Recovery


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/03/05/stroke-recovery.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     
March 05, 2020

Honey Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

© 30th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/honey-reduces-risk-heart-disease

Got a sweet tooth that you just can’t squash? Relax! Nature has provided a healthy way to satisfy your sugar cravings. Put down the toxic white stuff and pick up a jar of pure, raw honey. Your heart will thank you for it

In a cooperative effort between researchers at the medical sciences departments of Iran’s Isfahan University and Mashhad University, honey has been shown to aid the body in healthy processing of fats by decreasing the overall amount of cholesterol and fats in the bloodstream.[i] The study was published in August 2018 in the journal of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN), Clinical Nutrition ESPEN.

Researchers were inspired by previous studies that demonstrated honey’s beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease symptoms. Their chief aim was to investigate whether the effect of honey consumption on overall lipids in the blood was markedly different than the effects of sucrose, or table sugar, on the blood lipid profiles of 60 young, healthy male subjects.

Good Fats Are Key to Heart Health

A lipid profile, also called a coronary risk panel, is a blood test that measures total blood triglycerides including high-density lipoproteins (HDL), often referred to as “good cholesterol,” and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), commonly known as “bad cholesterol.” In truth, there is only one “type” of cholesterol, a molecule that is incapable of dissolving in blood. In order to transport cholesterol to the various cells throughout the body, lipoproteins such as LDLs and HDLs act as cholesterol carriers.

LDLs may have earned their bad reputation due to the fact that, once they have deposited their cholesterol load, they become small enough to burrow into the linings of arteries where they can oxidize, resulting in damaging inflammation. Conversely, one of HDLs functions is to carry anti-oxidative enzymes to cells where they may help neutralize potential harm done by depleted LDLs’ oxidation.

The blood lipid profile is a primary screening tool for assessing an individual’s risk of developing coronary heart disease. The word “lipids” refers to fats and fat-like substances that are key regulators of cellular activity, such as the energetic functions of your body.[ii]

The effectiveness of this cellular transport system is dependent on having the right amount of healthy fats in your bloodstream. If an imbalance occurs, excess cholesterol may get deposited into the walls of blood vessels, eventually leading to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, that can cause heart attack and stroke due to blocked blood flow to the heart and brain.[iii]

In the focus study, 60 male subjects between the ages of 18 and 30 were randomly recruited and assigned into one of two groups: honey (experimental) and sucrose (control). Participants were included in the study if they were healthy, non-athletic and a non-smoker. Participants were excluded if they already consumed a large amount of honey in their daily life, took any sort of medication or had recently undergone major diet and lifestyle changes.

Body mass index (BMI) was measured and participants’ physical activity was self-reported via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), a survey that assesses walking time, moderate and vigorous physical activities and time spent sitting throughout a typical week.

The experimental group received 70 grams of natural honey per day, while the control group received 70 grams of sucrose per day for a period of six weeks. Fasting lipid profile, including total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL and triacylglycerol, was determined for each subject at the beginning of the trial (baseline) via a 5-milliliter blood sample, which was collected in the morning after a 12-hour fasting period.

The lab tests were repeated after the six-week intervention period was complete. All 60 participants successfully completed the trial, and in the final analysis confounding variables including age, physical activity and some nutrient intake were adjusted.

Honey Improves Cholesterol While Table Sugar Is Toxic

Participants’ baseline measurements for fasting blood sugar, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were not different between the honey and sucrose groups, indicating that there were no significant pre-existing differences between the groups at the beginning of the study. After the final blood lipid profiles were produced, researchers compiled the following findings:

  • Consumption of honey decreased total cholesterol and LDL and increased the presence of HDL in the blood.
  • Consumption of sucrose had the inverse effect, increasing total cholesterol and significantly raising LDL levels, while decreasing HDL in the blood.

In summary, total cholesterol significantly decreased in the honey group compared with the beginning of the trial, while total cholesterol increased in sucrose group. LDL cholesterol was decreased by honey consumption and increased by sugar intake. Honey also increased HDL cholesterol in the blood, while sucrose decreased the presence of this healthy fat.

The main finding of this study, noted researchers, was “the ability of natural honey to modulate some of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. with one person dying from cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds.[iv] Researchers called for further clinical trials to confirm their promising results.

Honey: Nature’s Oldest Health Food

Honey has an unprecedented history of use as a food and medicament, stemming back as far as recorded history. It has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, still perfectly preserved, and in cave art dating back some 8,000 years.[v] Honey contains many active biological constituents including polyphenols, nutritionally dense phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties.[vi]

Many studies have confirmed that polyphenols provide a protective effect against diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arterial diseases and more.[vii] There are over 200 abstracts on GreenMedInfo.com extolling the numerous health benefits of consuming pure, raw honeyBecome a member today to access our in-depth research tools and learn more about how honey is one of nature’s most miraculous foods.


References

[i] The effect of honey consumption compared with sucrose on lipid profile in young healthy subjects (randomized clinical trial). Rasad H, Entezari MH, Ghadiri E, Mahaki B, Pahlavani N. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2018 Aug;26:8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2018.04.016. PMID: 29908688

[ii] American Association for Clinical Chemistry, Lab Tests Online.org, Tests, Lipid panel https://labtestsonline.org/tests/lipid-panel

[iii] American Association for Clinical Chemistry, Lab Tests Online.org, Tests, Lipid panel https://labtestsonline.org/tests/lipid-panel

[iv] CDC, Heart disease, Facts https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

[v] Heathmont Honey, Bees, Honey history, https://www.heathmonthoney.com.au/bees/HoneyHistory.htm

[vi] Beneficial roles of honey polyphenols against some human degenerative diseases: A review.  Md Sakib Hossen, Pharmacol Rep. 2017 Dec;69(6):1194-1205. Epub 2017 Jul 4. PMID: 29128800

[vii] Beneficial roles of honey polyphenols against some human degenerative diseases: A review.  Md Sakib Hossen, Pharmacol Rep. 2017 Dec;69(6):1194-1205. Epub 2017 Jul 4. PMID: 29128800

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Breaking NEWS: Vaccine-like injection touted as better than statins for “preventing” heart disease

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/heart-disease-injection-3276.html
by:  | 2nd February 2020

heart-disease-shot(NaturalHealth365) We’ve reported on the dangers of statins many times on NaturalHealth365.  From mood dysfunction to memory loss, the world’s top-selling drug – prescribed to lower blood cholesterol in the hopes of managing or preventing heart disease – comes with many questionable side effects. Now, doctors in the United Kingdom are rushing to test a new cholesterol-lowering drug – only this one is a pricey injection.The new “heart jab” is supposed to work like a vaccine. It contains a drug called inclisiran, and the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain seems extremely hopeful about its potential impact on patients’ heart health. But is it safe long-term?

So-called “wonder jab” alleged to slash cholesterol levels is expensive and lacks support from long-term data

Inclisiran is from a class of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors. PCSK9 inhibitors – including alirocumab (Praluent) and evolocumab (Repatha) – are very new to the British health market. They allegedly work by blocking the action of an enzyme called PCSK9; by inhibiting this enzyme, the liver can remove “lousy” LDL cholesterol from the blood more quickly.

Unlike alirocumab and evolocumab, however – which require a once or bi-monthly injection – inclisiran reportedly only needs to be injected once or twice per year. The drug works by turning off genes which normally make the PCSK9 enzyme. Reported side effects include back pain, aching muscles, diarrhea, headache, and fatigue.

Prior research on the drug revealed that inclisiran can decrease cholesterol by as much as 50 percent. Now, researchers, drug manufacturers, and the NHS seem so excited about this “wonder jab” that the NHS gave the green light for a new trial in Britain involving 40,000 middle-aged men and women who are taking statins and still have high cholesterol.

The very hopeful researchers claim that rolling out this drug onto the market could prevent as many as 55,000 heart attacks and strokes in the coming decade. Unfortunately, there are several valid points of contention with this new drug, and with the new trial that’s been shuttled so quickly down the pipeline:

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Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

  • No one knows whether inclisiran and the other PCSK9 inhibitors are safe long-term.
  • Inclisiran is about 100 times as expensive as statin drugs.
  • The PCSK9 enzyme is involved in multiple bodily processes – and nobody yet knows what kind of widespread consequences there will be, if any, of shutting the enzyme down.
  • Inclisiran does appear to reduce cholesterol levels – but there’s no proof it reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • It’s not entirely clear that improving your cholesterol levels is the key to improving heart health anyway! Several recent papers provide evidence which challenges the long-held belief that high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. In fact, the true culprit appears to be chronic inflammation – which is something that inclisiran doesn’t influence.

Prevent heart disease and improve your heart health with these 5 nutrients

Does the world really need another expensive drug, anyway? If you’re of the millions of people around the world diagnosed with or at risk for heart disease, then be sure you’re getting these five nutrients into your diet regularly:

As we’ve previously reported, these and other nutrients work synergistically to optimize heart health. Studies show that these nutrients (from both food and supplements) decrease many risk factors associated with heart disease, including systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, heart failure, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.

So before asking your doctor about the latest and “greatest” drugs, try evaluating your plate, first – a move that many health experts are urging the public to do.

Sources for this article include:

Yahoo.com
CDC.gov
Dailymail.co.uk
AJMC.com
BMJ.com
NaturalHealth365.com
NIH.gov

Protect your heart health with quercetin

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/heart-health-blood-pressure-3300.html

heart-health(NaturalHealth365) Flavonoids – compounds found in certain fruits and vegetables – are known for their ability to protect us from toxins, environmental radiation and (ultimately) the oxidative damage that causes disease.  Over the past decade, one flavonoid in particular has been studied for its immune-boosting, heart health and anti-aging benefits, with multiple studies showing quercetin’s ability to increase life span.Recently, a new meta-analysis dug into the incredible heart benefits of quercetin, finding that supplementation was effective at lowering blood pressure.  But, beyond that, it also offers a number of other health benefits that lower the risk of heart disease, such as reducing excessive amounts of cholesterol and reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.

Why quercetin is crucial to heart health

Evidence continues to accumulate showing that eating more foods that contain quercetin or adding a quality supplement to your diet can offer a wide range of health benefits.

In a meta-analysis published in Nutrition Reviews, researchers concluded that quercetin is effective at lowering blood pressure. After pooling results, they found that taking quercetin was associated with an average 2.86 mmHG reduction in patients’ diastolic blood pressure and a 3.09 mmHG reduction in their systolic blood pressure. Not only did it help reduce blood pressure across pooled results, it did so without causing unwanted side effects, as well.

In addition, other studies have backed up this recent conclusion.  While some studies found that taking high amounts of quercetin helped reduce blood pressure, others discovered that even taking lower levels of its supplemental form could result in improved blood pressure numbers.

Researchers believe that it works by reducing the “stickiness” of platelets and helping artery linings stay healthy, keeping them relaxed to reduce pressure and improve overall blood flow.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of headaches, dementia, heart disease and cancer.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

More great news about the health benefits of quercetin

One study showed that in men between the ages of 65 and 84, those who had the highest intake of flavonoids like quercetin were 68% less likely to die from heart disease than those who had the lowest intake. Similar studies have backed up the idea that quercetin offers dramatic cardiovascular protection.

One study on quercetin’s impact on cholesterol found that taking 100 mg of the supplement daily significantly improved cholesterol levels, and it also improved blood sugar – which is another risk factor for heart disease. A larger study found that quercetin not only reduce “bad” cholesterol, it increased the levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol.

To reap the heart health benefits of quercetin, you can add more foods to your diet that contain this flavonoid or take a supplement. Foods that contain quercetin include deeply colored vegetables, dark leafy greens, legumes, cocoa, green tea, olive oil, deeply colored berries, and beans.

However, if you’re considering a quercetin supplement and you’re already on blood thinners, it’s essential to discuss this with your integrative physician.

Sources for this article include:

LifeExtension.com
LifeExtension.com
NaturalHealth365.com

Daily Aspirin — Healthy or Harmful?


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/02/17/daily-aspirin.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked

daily aspirin

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Prophylactic aspirin use in adults over the age of 70 is potentially harmful, primarily due to the increased risk of bleeding in this age group. Long-term low-dose aspirin therapy nearly doubles your risk for gastrointestinal bleeding
  • In adults younger than 40, there is insufficient evidence to judge the risk-benefit ratio of routine aspirin for the primary prevention of heart disease
  • While daily aspirin is still recommended for people with heart disease to lower the risk of another heart attack or stroke, previous studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of this approach as well
  • You may be able to achieve the same kind of cardiovascular protection by donating blood. The bleeding caused by aspirin may be part of why it lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke, as bleeding will lower your iron level. People taking seven aspirins per week have been shown to have 25% lower mean serum ferritin than nonusers
  • Other aspirin alternatives include nattokinase and lumbrokinase, both of which are potent thrombolytics, comparable to aspirin without the serious side effects. They break down blood clots and reduce the risk of serious clotting by dissolving excess fibrin, improving circulation and decreasing blood viscosity

In decades past, a daily low-dose aspirin regimen was frequently recommended as a primary prevention strategy against heart disease. However, the evidence in support of it was rather weak, and kept getting weaker as time went on.

I stopped recommending daily “baby aspirin” use for the prevention of heart disease over two decades ago, due to the growing evidence of harmful side effects.

The primary justification for a daily aspirin regimen has been that it inhibits prostaglandin production,1 thereby decreasing your blood’s ability to form dangerous clots. However, in more recent years, most public health authorities have reversed their stance on the practice of using aspirin for primary prevention.

‘Baby’ Aspirin No Longer Recommended as Primary Prevention

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reversed its position on daily low-dose aspirin as primary prevention for heart disease in 2014,2 citing clearly established side effects — including dangerous brain and stomach bleeding — and a lack of clear benefit for patients who have never had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease.

In 2019, the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology updated their clinical guidelines on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease,3 spelling out many of the controversial findings on prophylactic aspirin use.

Importantly, studies have found that prophylactic aspirin use in adults over the age of 70 is potentially harmful, primarily due to the increased risk of bleeding in this age group. As noted in one 2009 paper,4 long-term low-dose aspirin therapy nearly doubles your risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

Older people are, of course, more likely to be at high risk for heart disease, and thus more likely to be put on aspirin therapy. In younger adults, the risks are less clear-cut.

As noted in the AHA guideline, in adults younger than 40, “there is insufficient evidence to judge the risk-benefit ratio of routine aspirin for the primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.”5

That said, the conventional recommendation to avoid a daily aspirin regimen only applies to primary prevention of heart disease in those with no history of heart problems, or those with low or moderate risk for heart disease. As reported by the AHA:6

“The new recommendation doesn’t apply to people who already have had a stroke or heart attack, or who have undergone bypass surgery or a procedure to insert a stent in their coronary arteries.

These individuals already have cardiovascular disease and should continue to take low-dose aspirin daily, or as recommended by their health care provider, to prevent another occurrence …”

Is Aspirin Regimen Safe for Heart Disease Patients?

While daily low-dose aspirin continues to be recommended for patients who already have heart disease, there’s evidence suggesting it may not be an ideal solution for them either.

For example, the WASH (warfarin/aspirin study in heart failure) study7 published in 2004 — which assessed the risks and benefits of aspirin and the blood thinner warfarin in heart failure patients — found those who received aspirin treatment (300 mg/day) actually had the worst cardiac outcomes, including worsening heart failure. According to the authors, there was “no evidence that aspirin is effective or safe in patients with heart failure.”

Similarly, a 2010 study8 found older heart disease patients who had a prior history of aspirin use had more comorbidities and a higher risk of recurrent heart attack than those who had not been on aspirin therapy.

Aspirin has also not been proven safe or effective for diabetics, who are at increased risk for heart disease and therefore likely to be put on an aspirin regimen.

For example, a 2009 meta-analysis9 of six studies found no clear evidence that aspirin is effective in preventing cardiovascular events in people with diabetes, although men may derive some benefit.

Another 2009 study10 that examined the effects of aspirin therapy in diabetic patients found it “significantly increased mortality in diabetic patients without cardiovascular disease from 17% at age 50 years to 29% at age 85 years.”

On the other hand, it did lower mortality in elderly diabetic patients who also had cardiovascular disease. A meta-analysis11 published in 2010 also concluded aspirin did not reduce the heart attack risk in diabetic individuals.

 

Why Phlebotomy May Be a Better Option Than Aspirin Therapy

While the benefits of low-dose aspirin may outweigh the risks for some people, I believe you may be able to achieve similar cardiovascular protection by doing therapeutic phlebotomies.

There’s evidence to suggest that the bleeding caused by aspirin may in fact be part of why it lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke, as bleeding will lower your iron level. Aspirin’s ability to lower inflammation may be another factor at play.

As shown in a 2001 study,12 people taking seven aspirins per week had 25% lower mean serum ferritin than nonusers. The effect was most marked in diseased subjects, compared to healthy ones. As explained by the authors:

“Atherosclerosis, a primary cause of myocardial infarction (MI), is an inflammatory disease. Aspirin use lowers risk of MI, probably through antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Because serum ferritin (SF) can be elevated spuriously by inflammation, reported associations between elevated SF, used as an indicator of iron stores, and heart disease could be confounded by occult inflammation and aspirin use if they affect SF independently of iron status …

Aspirin use is associated with lower SF. We suggest this effect results from possible increased occult blood loss and a cytokine-mediated effect on SF in subjects with inflammation, infection, or liver disease.”

Most people, physicians included, fail to appreciate that — aside from blood loss, including menstruation — the body has no significant way to excrete excess iron. There are very minor amounts lost through normal bodily processes, but not enough to move the needle on overall iron levels.

Between supplementation, fortification and the iron that occurs naturally in foods, it’s very easy to end up with excessive levels. In fact, most adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for excess iron and need regular blood testing for ferritin.

Excessive iron causes significant oxidative stress, catalyzing the formation of excessive free radicals that damage your cellular and mitochondrial membranes, proteins and DNA. It is a potent contributor to increased risks of cancers, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases. You can learn more about the ins and outs of excess iron in “Why Managing Your Iron Level Is Crucial to Your Health.”

While dangerous, iron overload is easy and inexpensive to treat. All you really need to do is monitor your serum ferritin and/or gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) levels, avoid iron supplements, and be sure to donate blood on a regular basis.

By doing this, you can avoid serious health problems, and donating blood is a far safer way to lower your iron stores than taking aspirin and losing blood via internal bleeding.

Aspirin Linked to Lower Risk of Death

Interestingly, a 2019 study13 found prophylactic aspirin use may lower the risk of all-cause cancer, gastrointestinal (GI) cancer and colorectal cancer mortality among older adults.

The study included 146,152 individuals with a mean age of 66.3 years who participated in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. The median follow-up time was 12.5 years. Those taking aspirin at least three times a week had a:

  • 19% lower risk of death from all causes
  • 15% lower risk of death from any cancer
  • 25% lower risk of death from GI cancer
  • 29% lower risk of death from colorectal cancer

Having a higher body mass index (BMI between 25 and 29.9) lowered these percentages by 1%, with the exception of colorectal cancer. In this group, colorectal cancer death decreased by 34%.

No observable benefit of aspirin use was found in underweight individuals (BMI below 20), which led the researchers to hypothesize that “the efficacy of aspirin as a cancer preventive agent may be associated with BMI,”14 although this theory needs to be confirmed in future studies. The authors also warn that prophylactic aspirin therapy for cancer prevention would need to be weighed against the increased risk of bleeding.

Other Health Risks Associated With Long-Term Aspirin Use

Overall, there’s a lot of evidence against long-term daily aspirin therapy. The risk of internal bleeding is one significant concern, which is further magnified if you’re taking antidepressants or blood thinning medications such as Plavix.

Using aspirin in combination with SSRI antidepressants has been shown to increase your risk of abnormal bleeding by 42%, compared to those taking aspirin alone,15 and taking aspirin (325 mg/day) with Plavix has been shown to nearly double your risk of major hemorrhage and significantly increase your risk of death, while not affecting your risk of recurrent stroke to any significant degree.16

Aside from damaging your gastrointestinal tract,17,18 routine aspirin use has also been linked to an increased risk for cataracts,19 neovascular (wet) macular degeneration,20 tinnitus21 and hearing loss in men.22

Nattokinase Reduces Clot Formation Without Side Effects

Aside from donating blood to lower your iron level (provided it’s elevated), nattokinase is another far safer alternative to a daily aspirin regimen. Nattokinase, produced by the bacteria Bacillus subtilis during the fermentation of soybeans to produce natto,23 is a strong thrombolytic,24 comparable to aspirin without the serious side effects.

It’s been shown to break down blood clots and reduce the risk of serious clotting25 by dissolving excess fibrin in your blood vessels,26 improving circulation and decreasing blood viscosity. These effects can also help reduce high blood pressure.27

As noted in a 2018 paper,28 nattokinase appears to be a promising alternative in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, and has been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality.

Lumbrokinase Is Even Better Than Nattokinase

Yet another alternative is lumbrokinase, a complex fibrinolytic enzyme extracted from earthworms. Like nattokinase, lumbrokinase boosts circulatory health by reducing blood viscosity, reducing blood clotting factor activity and degrading fibrin, which is a key factor in clot formation.29,30

Some researchers have suggested lumbrokinase could be used “as secondary prevention after acute thrombosis,” such as heart attacks and stroke.31 A 2008 study32 that explored “the mechanisms involved in the anti-ischemic action of lumbrokinase (LK) in the brain,” found it protected against cerebral ischemia via several mechanisms and pathways. As explained by the authors:

“These data indicated that the anti-ischemic activity of LK was due to its anti-platelet activity by elevating cAMP level and attenuating the calcium release from calcium stores, the anti-thrombosis action due to inhibiting of ICAM-1 expression, and the anti-apoptotic effect due to the activation of JAK1/STAT1 pathway.”

A 2009 pilot study33 that used lumbrokinase in patients with coronary artery disease and stable angina found it improved angina symptoms in 40% of patients and lowered the summed stress score by 29% (the summed stress score is a risk indicator for a cardiac event over the next 12 months34). According to the authors, “Oral lumbrokinase improves regional myocardial perfusion in patients with stable angina.”

Boosting Mitochondrial Biogenesis With Ginger

© 18th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/boosting-mitochondrial-biogenesis-ginger

Posted on: January 18th 2020 at 4:00 pm
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Is the Mediterranean Diet the Best Diet on the Planet?

© 28th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 28th 2020 at 1:15 pm

The Mediterranean Diet has been rated as the healthiest diet on the planet three years in a row, and as the meals are simple to prepare and truly delicious, it has also been ranked as the easiest diet to follow long term

The diet itself is based upon the eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as middle eastern and northern African countries.

What these cuisines have in common is the consumption of fresh, seasonal, whole foods featuring vegetablesfruitsbeansnutsherbs and spices; the predominate use of extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oils; moderate amounts of seafood and poultry; and the moderate consumption of red wine. What the Mediterranean diet specifically has avoided is processed foods, sugar, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Red meats are rarely on the menu or are used sparingly to flavor a dish.

Overall, a Mediterranean eating plan is extremely versatile. You can follow a vegetarian version very easily. You can skip breakfast and include partial intermittent fasting and benefit from ketosis several mornings per week. And as I’ll expand upon shortly, you can also limit the glycemic load (sugar-load) to enhance blood sugar control and weight loss.

For 2020, The US News and World Report rated the Mediterranean diet as:

  • The best diet overall
  • The best diabetes diet
  • The best diet for healthy eating
  • The best plant-based diet
  • The easiest diet to follow

It won similar awards in 2018 and 2019. These honors should not be too surprising, as Mediterranean countries have some of the longest life spans on the planet and they have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, cancer, and obesity than nearly all other western countries. The people of Spain, who follow the Mediterranean diet perhaps the closest, have the longest lifespan and the best health of any country in the Western world, and are anticipated to surpass Japan for longest lived country on the planet by 2030.

Considering all these benefits, I felt compelled to write a book, The Mediterranean Method, to help promote this eating plan and to make it simple to follow. The research included reading nearly 1,000 scientific journal articles, plus, my wife Nicole and I bought a sailboat in Europe with the goal to evaluate the food, lifestyle, and health habits of people living on the Mediterranean Sea. We spent 10 months sailing from Spain to Turkey during the spring and summers of 2018 and 2019. We followed the coastline along Spain, France, Corsica, western Italy, across to Greece and through the Cyclade Islands, and on to Turkey. We visited small ports, food markets, mom and pop family run restaurants, and searched for regional recipes that were easy to prepare, delicious, and healthy. What was amazing was how inexpensive and delicious the food was. And how opinionated locals were about how to prepare a dish within each region. Whether one worked in a food market, at a gas station, or drove a taxi, everyone cared about what ingredients went into local dishes and how they were prepared.

Let’s look more closely at the top three health benefits from following a Mediterranean Diet:

  • Better Weight Control
  • Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease
  • Improve Cognitive Function and Prevent Memory Loss

Better Weight Control

In 2016, Dr. Joseph Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight-loss trials with more than 1,000 subjects on various dietary regimens including low-fat, low-carb, and Mediterranean. These subjects were followed for at least 12 months, a meaningful length of time given most people lose weight in the short term and regain it later. The research found that the Mediterranean Diet was more effective than the low-fat diet, and equally as effective as a low-carb diet over the long-term. What’s more, they concluded that those following the Mediterranean Diet not only lost weight, but they had the best improvements in lipid and metabolic profile. The typical weight loss ranged from 10 to 22 pounds lost throughout the 12-months.

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart disease remains the #1 killer for men and women, even though studies have shown we can prevent 90 percent of heart disease with the right lifestyle changes–our biggest challenge is finding a diet and lifestyle that people are willing to follow long-term.

In 2003, the Greek EPIC trial showed that the closer subjects followed a Mediterranean eating plan, the lower their rate of cardiovascular events. Subsequent studies have shown that the closer people living outside the Mediterranean follow this same diet, the less heart disease and longer life they enjoy.

Then in 2018, the large-scale landmark PREDIMED study with over 7,000 subjects published in The New England Journal of Medicine affirmed the cardiovascular-fighting reputation of the Mediterranean Diet; those who followed a Mediterranean diet and added extra nuts or olive oil had 30% fewer events than those following a low-fat diet.

Data published from my own clinic has shown that in patients who follow a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the average person shrinks their artery plaque load over time (measured with carotid ultrasound testing), and amazingly, hundreds of our patients had more than a 10% regression in their arterial plaque load over an average of 2-3 years.

Enhancing Cognition and Preventing Memory Loss

The most expensive disease in the U.S. and most western countries is dementia; recent estimates are that the total bill to treat it exceeds $278 billion per year. More startling is that the rates of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are predicted to double over the next 15 years.

Yet, just as we can prevent most cases or heart disease, there is now growing evidence that we can also prevent dementia and cognitive decline with the right lifestyle changes. PREDIMED researchers tracked the impact on cognition of the dietary interventions over 6.5 years on over 500 participants and controlled for multiple lifestyle and health factors. Those randomized to a low-fat diet had lower overall cognitive scores and more progression to dementia than those in the Mediterranean diet group.

Many other studies have also shown cognitive improvement and/or reduced cognitive impairment with following a Mediterranean diet, including the FINGER trial, Three-City study in France, the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), and in a group of more than 1,200 Puerto Rican adults living in the U.S.

Data published from my own clinic confirmed that the closer a person follows these dietary recommendations, the better their brain processing speed and cognitive scores, results which have continued over 12 years of follow up.

Myths Regarding a Mediterranean Diet

Despite the many health benefits of this eating plan, and the delicious food it provides, there are several misunderstandings that threaten to eliminate these benefits. Let’s clarify several right now, dealing with the top six myths.

MYTH #1. YOU CAN EAT ALL THE HEALTHY FOOD YOU WANT

There’s no need to put a hard limit on daily servings of vegetables (you won’t overdo it because you’ll naturally fill up on fiber), but it is possible, for instance, to overeat walnuts or almond butter, or use too much olive oil, particularly if you’re dipping pieces of bread into it.

MYTH #2. EATING MEDITERRANEAN MEANS EATING PASTA, BREAD AND PIZZA

You can easily overdo the portion size, even with whole grains. When you see grains and cereals on the Mediterranean diet, this doesn’t mean a giant platter of pasta, unlimited bread (even if it’s organic and whole grain), or bowls of rice (even if it’s brown rice). It’s important to control your portions of grains and cereals, and as you’ll read in a moment, of all the food components listed in the Mediterranean diet, whole grains provide the least health benefit.

Further, when you grind a grain into flour, such as bread, that processed grain has a much higher glycemic load (sugar load) than the same amount of whole grain. If we want healthy blood sugar control, we all need to limit or avoid even whole grain products that are processed into flour—such as bread, crackers, cake, and pancakes.

MYTH #3. EATING SEAFOOD ON OCCASION WILL BENEFIT YOUR HEART

Eating fish merely a few times a month won’t yield the disease-fighting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, particularly for the heart and brain. Because of the benefits from consuming long chain omega-3 fats that are found only in seafood, aim to eat seafood at least twice a week–preferably three to five times per week. Seafood includes fish, shellfish, and seaweed.

If you are vegetarian, or avoid fish and shellfish for other reasons, plan to either eat seaweed several times per week, as in a cup portion of seaweed salad, or take a seaweed DHA supplement daily.

MYTH #4. ALL CHEESES (AND YOGURTS) ARE CREATED EQUAL

Treating pasteurized cheese as a go-to food–compared, for example, with raw, probiotic-rich and vitamin K2-loaded camembert–is a mistake. The same goes for yogurt and kefir. Many of my patients are shocked when I explain that fruit-flavored yogurt has more sugar than ice cream. As with so many components of the Mediterranean diet, when choosing your foods, simple and unsweetened is best.

If you avoid dairy products, you still need some source of probiotic food source, which can easily be obtained by using coconut yogurt sources, and other pickled foods, such as sauerkraut, olives, capers, and Asian foods such as miso and kombucha.

MYTH #5. YOU CAN SKIP THE BEANS

Don’t miss out on this fiber-packed superfood that is one of the best foods for controlling blood sugar, and it’s the #1 all-time top food for blocking disease-causing oxidation. They are also loaded with fiber, protein, B vitamins, and calcium. In Mediterranean cuisine, beans are the healthy foundation for countless meals and are used often as a side dish as well.

However, 10% of people appear to be lectin intolerant–they develop major gastrointestinal symptoms when they consume beans. The process of soaking (so called sprouting) appears to help, but if you have a lectin intolerance, just like any food intolerance, then avoid beans.

MYTH #6. YOU CAN USE EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FOR ALL YOUR COOKING NEEDS

Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil for high-heat cooking, or even medium-high heat. Once it reaches 400ºF–its smoke point, the maximum temperature it can reach before it breaks down and becomes a damaged fat–extra-virgin olive oil starts losing nutritional value, not to mention its complex and delicate flavors. For medium-high heat cooking, use avocado and/or almond oil) instead.

Save flavorful extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling over foods, making dressings, and for low or medium heat cooking.

Adapting the Mediterranean Diet to the 21st Century

Despite all these clear health benefits, there are some limitations related to the Mediterranean diet that should be applied to living in the 21st century.

First, the original Mediterranean diet was followed by farmers, fisherman, and herders–men and women who were physically active for 6 to 10 hours per day. Very few can achieve this much movement today. We therefore need to modify an eating plan with a lower glycemic load to match our activity level.

Second, studies that have evaluated the Mediterranean diet have also assessed what components of the traditional eating plan had the most and least health benefit. Results from the EPIC trial showed that consuming vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and olive oil provided the greatest benefit, and eating whole grains provided the least–likely related to their glycemic load.

A more recent study, The EPIC Greek Cohort study, published in 2012, analyzed adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, and glycemic load intake. It concluded that those who adhered to a Mediterranean Diet and had the lowest glycemic load intake had the best health benefits of all. And if the subjects were overweight, the benefits of following a low-glycemic load version of a Mediterranean Diet were even greater.

This low-glycemic version has the added advantage of appealing to many people who have already shifted towards a low-carb and/or Paleo eating plan, and switching from a low-carb to a Mediterranean diet will usually increase their nutrient dramatically.

Beyond Food

Though there are many proven benefits to following a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle are not solely limited to food intake. Mediterranean people are more active than we are in the U.S., they spend more time walking and cycling to work and for daily shopping, and they spend more time outdoors and with nature.

How they eat is important as well. They enjoy long, leisurely meals typically with friends and family, which fosters close social connections, which is likely related to the fact that they have lower rates of anxiety and depression than are found in the U.S.

Summary

Let me share my version of the food and lifestyle pyramid of a low-glycemic Mediterranean diet, adapted from my book, The Mediterranean Method.

The pyramid’s foundation is the lifestyle, which features activity, social interaction, cooking, and mindful-leisurely eating.

Foods and beverages that are consumed daily include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, yogurt, dark chocolate, and water, with moderate intake of red wine and coffee or tea. Seafood, poultry, eggs, and other probiotic-rich dairy products are on the menu several times a week, although a vegetarian or vegan version without animal protein is very feasible. Whole grains are also an option, although served in small portions (and gluten free as needed).

Unlike many diets that are popular today, notice that almost no real foods are completely banned–for a special occasion, you can still enjoy special treats that fit the affair–the key is that you limit them to a special event, and that you eat real, unprocessed food.

The Mediterranean Diet is not just a short-term eating plan. It has been followed for centuries, generation after generation, tested in numerous long-term clinical studies, and been found to be the best diet on the planet for long term adherence and for healthy eating. The food is delicious, generally simple and easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. This is an eating plan that truly combines proven health benefits with delicious food–no other diet can embrace the saying as well–To Your Health & Bon Appétit!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.