My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘heart attack’

2012 Poll Shows Baby Boomers Go Vegetarian for Health Benefits

More baby boomers live vegetarian lifestyle to improve health
BY ALLYSON KOERNER AUGUST 22, 2012

You’ve heard the term baby boomers, right? More than likely you’ve connected the expression with people who were born between 1946 and 1964, who are known for growing up with “Leave it to Beaver,” experiencing the Vietnam War and seeing John F. Kennedy serve as president. Well, now baby boomers may be remembered for living a vegetarian lifestyle.

According to a 2012 Harris Poll conducted for the Vegetarian Resource Group, about 2.5 million Americans over the age of 55 have adopted a vegetarian diet. The big question is “why are baby boomers choosing a plant-based diet?”

One of the main reasons is to improve health issues. The Washington Post reports that doctors say “this demographic group is heading into prime time for health issues and sees vegetarianism as a way to protect their bodies.”

It is known that strokes are more prevalent in middle-aged people; older women are more prone to osteoporosis; and the more red meat consumed, higher the risk for cardiovascular disease. So, embracing fruits and veggies over meat can help in these areas.

All sorts of research exists out there, but here’s one example showing how forgoing meat is good for the body. Harvard researchers discovered in April 2012 that the more red meat one person eats the easier it is to develop heart disease. By adding just 3 ounces of meat to your daily diet, in addition to what you already consume, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increase 16 percent.

“Vegetarianism can be used as a way to combat many conditions that plague boomers: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity. We now know, for example, that such a diet can lower your blood pressure,” John Salge Blake, Boston University’s registered dietician, said.

Some of the most famous vegetarian baby boomers include former President Bill Clinton,Sir Paul McCartney, Michelle Pfeiffer and even talented actor Sir Ian McKellen.

As you know, Clinton suffered great health risks and after having a heart attack and undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery he quickly switched over to a vegan diet. He turned his life around and reaped the health benefits of saying sayonara to animal products.

Are adults over 50 taking note from these public figures? This just could be.

For further information on baby boomers and other statistics, visit The Washington Post for the complete article.

Photo Credit: Anthony Correia / Shutterstock.com

About Allyson Koerner

Allyson Koerner is a graduate from Emerson College where she obtained her Master’s in Print & Multimedia journalism. Passionate about writing, reading and entertainment, she is looking to make her way into the journalism profession.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/08/22/2012-poll-shows-baby-boomers-choose-vegetarian-lifestyle/

Rosie O’Donnell Watches ‘Forks Over Knives’, Contacts Dr. Esselstyn

Forks over Knives logo

BY MICHAEL DESTRIES AUGUST 27, 2012

After suffering a potentially fatal heart attack several weeks ago, Rosie O’Donnell has wasted absolutely no time in giving her diet a dramatic overhaul.

The 50-year-old almost immediately starting cutting animal products out of her life; claiming on Twitter to have lost 10 pounds in the process.

“this crazy summer has taken me into uncharted territory,” she wrote today on her blog. “into mornings that begin at 7. long walks and vegetables.”

Ecorazzi reached out to Rosie over Twitter earlier to ask if she had caught the awesome documentary “Forks Over Knives.” She tweeted back that, yes, she had seen it and also chatted with the esteemed Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

As those who have seen the doc know, Dr. Esselstyn is world-renowned for his work in showing that a vegan diet can have profound effects on reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease. His recommended lifestyle reboot, as detailed in the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” has been extremely popular – and is one of the sources former president Bill Clinton relied upon for his own health transformation.

“For them to realize that this is not just the luck of the draw, that this is something that you yourself can control,” Esselstyn told the site FoodNotMeds.com. “You can become the locus of control for this disease that is the leading killer of women and men in Western civilization. It’s truly nothing more than a toothless paper tiger that need never ever exist, and if it does exist, it need never progress. This is a food-borne illness.”

Once again, we give credit to Rosie for listening to her body and making a concerted effort to reach out and educate herself. As someone that commands a cultural spotlight, here’s to hoping she continues to inform on the benefits she’s experiencing as well. Good luck, Rosie!

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/08/27/rosie-odonnell-watches-forks-over-knives-contacts-dr-esselstyn/

 

Should You Be Taking an Aspirin a Day?

We take 2 baby aspirins every night.  Laura

 

The latest research findings state that an aspirin a day can help keep skin cancer away.   “Longer, higher-intensity use, for example, led to a 46% lower risk of melanoma, a 35% lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma and a 17% lower risk of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer in the U.S. ”

Also, “Previous studies have found that aspirin users enjoyed a lower risk of colon cancer; a trial published earlier this year concluded that people who take a daily aspirin have as much as a 46% lower risk of colon, lung and prostate cancers, compared with non-users.”

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/29/can-aspirin-help-ward-off-skin-cancer/#ixzz1wNfvJZZu

Here’s what Dr. Oz has to say:  http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/aspirin-miracle-pill

Why Not Just Take a Pill and Eat What You Want?

diabetesI’ve heard this asked many times.  Well, two new studies just came out in  the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  Read on:

Pharmageddon: America’s Top Selling Drug Cause Diabetes

From:  http://drhyman.com/blog/conditions/pharmageddon-americas-top-selling-drug-cause-diabetes/

by 

IF ALL DOCTORS followed the latest cholesterol treatment guidelines, and all their patients took their prescribed statin medication, there would be 3.5 million more diabetics in America.  But wait! There is another pill (injection actually) that has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes. And it’s only about $50,000 per year per patient.  Let’s see 3.5 million times $50,000. What does that bring us to?

Pharmageddon!

We are stuck in an absurd cultural habit of thinking that medication will save us from lifestyle and social diseases.

Two separate studies in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) underscore that we have come to the end of an era of being saved by medication.  Antibiotics and vaccines were a huge advance in medicine in the 20thcentury.  But the single pill for the single ill just doesn’t work for 21st century chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Statins cause Diabetes

The latest cholesterol guidelines (ATP III) increased the number of Americans who should take statin therapy from 13 to 40 million.  Those additional 27 million are ones without heart disease, but who have high cholesterol.  This type of treatment is called primary prevention.  I have extensively reviewed the research on using statins to prevent heart attacks in people who never had them.  The data is weak and shows no benefit, except the Jupiter trial, which ONLY showed benefit if patients also had inflammation (high C-reactive protein), not just high cholesterol or LDL.   If you just had an elevated cholesterol, statins didn’t help.

I have previously written about research that showed that statins increase the risk of diabetes. This latest study examined five major clinical trials on statins including 32,752 non-diabetics over 4.9 years.  During the study period 2,749 patients (or 8.4 percent) developed diabetes.  Those on the highest doses of statins (which are increasingly prescribed by physicians) were at the highest risk of developing diabetes.

While there was a slight overall reduction in risk of heart attacks in the patients treated with statins, the authors found that you have to treat 155 people for one year to prevent just one heart attack or death. If a doctor had to prescribe antibiotics to 155 people to cure just one patient of pneumonia we would think that antibiotics weren’t very good medication.  But that is exactly the “number needed to treat” to prevent just one cardiac event.  On top of that for every 498 people treated, one more person would become diabetic.  If these drugs were not the top selling drugs in history we might accept a small risk, but if we treated everyone who “needed” them, we would have over 3.5 million more diabetics in America.

Using statins may be an acceptable risk if there was no other treatment for heart disease.  And we spend over $100 billon a year on angioplasties (which don’t benefit 95% of people receiving them), and cardiac bypasses (which reduce the risk of death in only 3% of people who receive them), while ignoring that heart disease is a lifestyle and social disease that requireslifestyle medicine and a social cure which would prevent over 90% of all heart disease.

Immune Suppressing Medication Prevents Diabetes

In another study of nearly 14,000 patients, published in today’s issue of JAMA, researchers from Harvard found that those treated with powerful immune suppressing medications (TNF alpha blockers like Remicade or Enbrel), reduced their risk of getting diabetes.

Sounds great. We have an explosion of diabetes.  By 2020 one in two Americans will either have pre-diabetes or diabetes.  The authors said “there is evidence suggesting a possible role for … immunosuppression in diabetes prevention”. But the side effects of these drugs are overwhelming infection, increased cancer risk and death.  And they cost about $50,000 per year per patient. Were the authors serious about using these drugs for diabetes, another lifestyle and social disease?

Yes diabetes is an inflammatory disease. And yes, reducing inflammation can prevent and even reverse diabetes.  But it won’t be by taking aspirin, Advil, or some high-powered immune suppressing, toxic, expensive medication.  The major cause of inflammation is our processed, high sugar, low fiber, fast food, junk food, calorie-dense, nutrient poor industrial diet and our couch potato lifestyle.  A plant based, whole foods, real food diet without sugar and flour in pharmacologic doses along with anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and a good dose of exercise can dramatically reduce the risk of and even reverse heart disease and diabetes. And they cost a lot less.

Last week a study in JAMA found that the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and death increased significantly with more than 2 hours of television watching per day.  The average American spends seven to nine hours in front a screen every day.  We have a social problem, a host of chronic diseases driven by a food industry and screen dominated culture and the breakdown of communities.  Cooking real food takes a bit more time, but people spend more time watching cooking shows on television that actually cooking.

The answer to our exploding health care costs and burgeoning chronic disease is not going to be found at the bottom of a pill bottle, but at the end of our forks and the soles of our shoes.  Please save us from Pharmageddon.

Avatar of Dr Mark Hyman

About Dr Mark Hyman

MARK HYMAN, MD is dedicated to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illnessthrough a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach called Functional Medicine. He is a family physician, a five-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in his field. Through his private practice, education efforts, writing, research, and advocacy, he empowers others to stop managing symptoms and start treating the underlying causes of illness, thereby tackling our chronic-disease epidemic. More about Dr. Hyman .

Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods

The McDougall Newsletter

Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods

Protein, fat, cholesterol, methionine (a sulfur-containing amino acid), and dietary acids, which are all superabundant in animal foods, are poisoning nearly everyone following the standard Western diet. Most people cannot fathom this, because it takes four or more decades of consumption before disability, disfigurement, and death become common from these endogenous toxins. This long latent period fools the public into thinking there is no harm done by choosing an animal-food-based diet. If the case were one of instantaneous feedback—one plate of fried eggs caused excruciating chest pains, paralysis from a stroke followed a prime rib dinner, or a hard cancerous lump appeared within a week of a grilled cheese sandwich—then eating animal foods would be widely recognized as an exceedingly unwise choice. Similar failures to appreciate slow poisonings from our lifestyle choices are seen with tobacco and alcohol use. If one package of cigarettes were followed by a week on a respirator or a bottle or two of gin caused hepatic (liver) coma then no one would indulge in these instruments of long-drawn-out death either. The difference defining the failure to take long overdue actions is that the dangers from tobacco and alcohol use are universally known and accepted, whereas almost everyone considers red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products necessary parts of a healthy diet.

The Art of Selling Slow Poisons: Distract the Consumer

Sellers of animal foods for human consumption draw in customers with the marketing strategy of “unique positioning”—each industry tries to make its merchandise stand apart from other foods by promoting a nutrient that is especially plentiful in its product. Over time this effective advertising approach has meant that the mention of calcium brings to mind milk and cheese, iron has become synonymous with beef, and eggs are well known as the “best source of high quality protein.”

Because these highly sensationalized nutrients are always plentiful in basic plant foods, illnesses from deficiencies of these nutrients are essentially unknown, as long as there is enough food to eat. Thus, there are no real nutritional advantages to choosing red meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products with an especially high density of one particular nutrient. Ironically, milk and cheese are iron deficient, and red meat, poultry, and eggs (unless you eat the shells) contain almost no calcium.

Focusing on the abundance of an individual nutrient accomplishes an even more insidious marketing goal; it diverts the consumer’s, and oftentimes the professional dietitian’s, attention away from the harmful impact on the human body of consuming all kinds of animal foods. In my 42-years of providing medical care I have never seen a patient sickened by eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, rice, beans, fruits, and/or vegetables (unspoiled and uncontaminated). However, during my everyday practice I have witnessed (just like every other practicing medical doctor has) a wide diversity of diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer, from eating fresh killed and/or collected, as well as processed and/or preserved, animal-derived foods.

A Simplified View of Animal-food Poisoning

Animal foods—be they from cow, pig, or chicken muscles or the ovum of a bird or the lactation fluids of a mammal—are all so similar in their nutritional makeup and their impact on human health that they should be considered as the same (see the comparison tables at the end of this article). In order to avoid the confusion created by the marketing strategy of “unique positioning,” lets look at different kinds of animal products mixed together to make one food; and compare them to their antithesis, starches.

If I were to blend together red meat, chicken, eggs, and cheese, which most Americans do three or more times a day in their stomachs, the end product would be a highly acidic mixture of mostly protein, fat, and water—each individual food having contributed a similar amount of each component. A blend of various starches—beans, rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes—would produce an opposite in composition.

Continued at:  http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/jan/poison.htm

Top 10 Myths About Cardiovascular Disease American Heart Association

Top 10 Myths About Cardiovascular Disease

How much do you really know about your heart’s health? It’s easy to be fooled by misconceptions. After all, heart disease only happens to your elderly neighbor or to your fried food-loving uncle, right? Or do you know the real truth – that heart disease can affect people of any age, even those who eat right?

Relying on false assumptions can be dangerous to your heart. Cardiovascular disease kills more Americans each year than any other disease. But you can boost your heart smarts by separating fact from fiction. Let’s set the record straight on some common myths.

  1. “I’m too young to worry about heart disease.” How you live now affects your risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life. As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. One in three Americans has cardiovascular disease, but not all of them are senior citizens. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems – especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.
  2. “I’d know if I had high blood pressure because there would be warning signs.” High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because you don’t usually know you have it. You may never experience symptoms, so don’t wait for your body to alert you that there’s a problem. The  way to know if you have high blood pressure is to check your numbers with a simple blood pressure test. Early treatment of high blood pressure is critical because, if left untreated, it can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious health problems. Learn how high blood pressure is diagnosed.
  3.  “I’ll know when I’m having a heart attack because I’ll have chest pain.” Not necessarily. Although it’s common to have chest pain or discomfort, a heart attack may cause subtle symptoms. These include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, neck or back. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Learn you risk of heart attacktoday!
  4. “Diabetes won’t threaten my heart as long as I take my medication.” Treating diabetes can help reduce your risk for or delay the development of cardiovascular diseases. But even when blood sugar levels are under control, you’re still at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. That’s because the risk factors that contribute to diabetes onset also make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Theseoverlapping risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and smoking.
  5. “Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.” Although people with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, you can take steps to dramatically reduce your risk. Create anaction plan to keep your heart healthy by tackling these to-dos: get active; control cholesterol; eat better; manage blood pressure; maintain a healthy weight; control blood sugar; and stop smoking.
  6. “I don’t need to have my cholesterol checked until I’m middle-aged.” The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults. You can help yourself and your family by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  7. “Heart failure means the heart stops beating.” The heart suddenly stops beating during cardiac arrest, not heart failure. With heart failure, the heart keeps working, but it doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. It can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the feet and ankles or persistent coughing and wheezing. During cardiac arrest, a person loses consciousness and stops normal breathing.
  8. “This pain in my legs must be a sign of aging. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my heart.” Leg pain felt in the muscles could be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease. PAD results from blocked arteries in the legs caused by plaque buildup. The risk for heart attack or stroke increases five-fold for people with PAD.
  9. “My heart is beating really fast. I must be having a heart attack.” Some variation in your heart rate is normal. Your heart rate speeds up during exercise or when you get excited, and slows down when you’re sleeping. Most of the time, a change in your heartbeat is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, it can be a sign of arrhythmia, an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can last long enough to impact how well the heart works and require treatment.
  10. “I should avoid exercise after having a heart attack.” No! As soon as possible, get moving with a plan approved for you! Research shows that heart attack survivors who are regularly physically active and make other heart-healthy changes live longer than those who don’t. People with chronic conditions typically find that moderate-intensity activity is safe and beneficial. The American Heart Association recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Find the help you need by joining a cardiac rehabilitation program, or consult your healthcare provider for advice on developing a physical activity plan tailored to your needs.

Learn more:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Top-10-Myths-about-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_430164_Article.jsp

Cooking With Legumes

cooking legumes

Today’s the day.  Today’s the day that I’m finally going to do something with those dried Adzuki beans I just had to get after hearing all about the health benefits of them on the Dr. Oz Show.  http://www.sharecare.com/question/health-benefits-eating-adzuki-beans  Problem is, they have to be soaked, and I’ve never had luck soaking beans.  They always end up being hard.

So, before I started, I needed directions and found this info from Dr. Weil.  Such great information I just had to share.

From Andrew Weil, MD.

Legumes, like whole grains, are a low-glycemic-index food and an important part of the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber; delicious if prepared properly; and among the most inexpensive foods you can buy – the ultimate refutation of the notion that “you have to be rich to eat healthy.”

Legumes are the seeds of the plants in the Fabaceae family – a family that includes beans, lentils, soybeans, peas, peanuts, and even alfalfa and clover. They are exceptionally healthy foods for humans and animals, with the added bonus of being excellent for the environment: their roots fix nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for petroleum-based fertilizers.

Legumes in the diet usually refers to pulses – the edible seeds of annual leguminous plants that are harvested dry for consumption. In other words, these are the dry beans and lentils you can find in the bulk bins of any natural food store.

Beans and lentils are rich in folic acidmagnesiumpotassium, B vitamins, complex carbohydrates and soluble fiber, and, at 20-25% protein by weight, are a go-to for vegetarians and vegans.

The American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society all recommend legumes as one of the most important food groups for disease prevention and optimal health. Due to their blend of fiber, protein and nutrients, legumes aid in blood sugar regulation more than almost any other food group, a key quality for diabetics and those concerned with maintaining stable insulin response.

Legumes are also heart-healthy; their high fiber content lowers cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels. A study of over 15,000 middle-aged men across the U.S., Europe and Japan for 25 years found the consumption of legumes was associated with an 82% reduction in risk of death from heart disease. Most varieties of beans and lentils are also high in folate, a vitamin that helps prevent the build-up of the amino acid homocysteine – elevated levels of which are a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Cheap, healthful, versatile and delicious, there’s a reason pulses like beans and lentils are a staple  throughout the world. Whether you enjoy them as dips and spreads like hummus, paired with nutritious whole grains such as the ever-popular beans and rice, or merely to bulk up soups, stews and salads, they deserve a prominent place in your anti-inflammatory kitchen!

General tips on cooking with legumes:
This guide is for cooking dried legumes from scratch, which is by far the most inexpensive, fresh and tasty  way to enjoy them. However, canned beans can be a good choice in a pinch. If you opt for canned, look for varieties that do not contain chemical preservatives, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove excess sodium that may have been included in the canning liquid.

Some dried beans such as black, navy and kidney beans are found in typical supermarkets, but you will have better luck finding more obscure beans, such as adzuki beans and unique lentil varieties at your local natural foods store or ethnic market. For all dried legumes:

  • Opt for organic varieties from the bulk bins of health food stores whenever possible – they have higher turnover rates, which improves the likelihood of freshness.
  • Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry place that is not in direct sunlight. Generally, if done properly, they can be stored up to one year.
  • Before preparing, it is advisable to spread them out on a light surface to check for and remove any small stones, spoiled beans or other debris. Then, place in a strainer and rinse under cool water.

Almost all legumes – split peas and lentils being the exceptions – should be soaked prior to cooking. Soaking improves digestibility and decreases cooking time. Place rinsed, dried beans in a pot and add water until it is roughly three inches above the beans. Cover the pot and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour for small beans, six hours or overnight for larger varieties. Then drain the soaking water – don’t use it for cooking, as it’s full of difficult-to-digest starches that can cause flatulence and other digestive woes.

The instructions in the list below are for stovetop preparation in a pot. But you can also use a pressure cooker for most of these beans, which can reduce cooking times by up to 80 percent. See the instructions that were included with your cooker for details on the amount of liquid needed and cooking times.

You can also cook your legumes in vegetable stock instead of water for added flavor, but do not add any salt or acidic ingredients like tomatoes or lemon juice – either will toughen the beans and greatly increase cooking time. As a general rule, wait until beans are done or nearly done cooking before seasoning.

To further reduce the gas-producing properties of beans, add a large strip of dried kombu seaweed to the pot of beans and water prior to boiling. Remove the kombu once cooking is finished. You can find kombu in your local natural foods store or in ethnic markets. Adding a slice or two of ginger or some fennel or cumin seeds can also help. Additionally, skimming and discarding the foam during boiling is also an effective means of gas reduction.

To cook: Refill the pot with fresh, cold water for cooking (three cups per cup of soaked beans is a good general rule, but optimal amounts for each legume variety are provided). Bring to a boil in a pot with a lid. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, tilt the lid slightly to allow steam to escape, and leave to cook for the designated time. Beans are done when they are tender; though if you desire an even softer texture (useful for some recipes that call for mashed beans) simply cook them longer. Try these legumes as part of a healthy diet plan:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03206/Cooking-With-Legumes.html

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