Tuesday, April 30, 2013
You will recall that the Mediterranean Diet has been consistently shown to be the most "heart healthy" diet.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet:
- 2 servings of "oily" fish per week
- nuts (almonds and walnuts)
- lots of fruits and veggies
- low fat or nonfat milk products
- red wine
- low quantities if red meat
- *** frequent exercise
It's still much too early to begin prescribing this therapy for patients. However, given that many patients suffer from difficult to control BP, a simple change in diet to include foods high in inorganic nitrites may be shown to be helpful in the future.
Monday, April 29, 2013
The importance of these two studies is not that red meat or eggs can lead to heart disease, but the take home message is that the bacteria in our gut play a possible important role in our development of heart disease.
While we know that controlling blood glucose levels, blood pressure and lipid levels are very important in reducing an individuals risk for the development of atherosclerosis, there remains a significant residual risk. Dr Hazen's work has begun to show us that measuring TMAO in the blood, may help us predict further cardiovascular risk. Even more so, further research in this field may lead to new pathways for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
For now, it is important to understand that more research on this topic will definitely be undertaken. Also, a well balanced Mediterranean diet with liberal/limited portions of animal based products is still the most heart healthy way to eat.
I will continue to report back to you on this topic whenever new data is released.
Last week, I attended a symposium on the topic and came away more determined then ever to help fight this problem.
If kids continue to gain weight and get less exercise, there is the possibility that given obesity's co-existing cardiovascular conditions (atheroslcerosis, HTN, high cholesterol, DM, stroke and sleep apnea) --our children's generation may be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parent's generation. Humbling!!!
A recent study just reported two interesting facts:
- kids who were raised in homes where there was significant parental pressure to finish the food on their plate were at increased risk of being overweight
- the more a parent placed restrictions on certain food items, the more interested the child become in consuming that food
- Be careful not to encourage your child to over eat. Instead, encourage kids to learn to listen to their own bodies.
- Encourage kids to eat all foods in moderation
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Red Meat and Heart Disease: What's more dangerous saturated fat in the meat or the bacteria in your gut?
Research now shows a possible new link between red meat consumption and the development of heart disease.
It has been known for some time that high consumption of saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the new study recently published in the journal Nature Medicine, has accumulated evidence for a surprising new explanation of why red meat may contribute to heart disease.
Dr Hazen has found that the compound carnitine, which is found in red meat, is broken down by bacteria in the intestine to a metabolite called TMAO. TMAO leads to an enhanced capacity to deposit cholesterol in the cells of our artery walls.