Archive for health
We love bacon; crispy, delicious tasty goodness. But can that tasty goodness actually be a healthful dietary addition? Read some of the amazing facts on a recent study suggesting it may be so…and as usual-you heard it here first!
Great Friday read; I only drink wine on days of the week that end in a “y”.
This summer I will be participating in 2 great programs, both covering different aspects of the Mediterranean diet. The program in Crete is an eight-day intensive, part of the field to plate series and aimed at culinary professionals, nutritionists, dietitians and hard-core foodies. The program in Spain is for anyone interested in food and wine at any level. We’ll stay at the amazing vineyard, Prada a Tope, visit local historical sites and delve deeply into the amazing Mediterranean cuisine of the region. All the while of course soaking in the luxurious lifestyle and sampling the local vino.
I will lead several cooking classes through the selection of ingredients, preparation and serving of several different meals. The classes will be small so we can have an intimate discussion regarding what separates the Mediterranean diet from other cuisines around the world. In addition to the many well-known cardiovascular benefits of such cookery, some remarkable new evidence as to the health benefits has just come to light.
The most recent study was performed in Spain and just published in the journal Diabetes Care.1 This study examined over 7000 Spanish men and women as part of the ongoing PREDIMED inquiry into the various potential benefits to the Mediterranean diet. They looked at individuals with a genetic variant, the Transcription Factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2-rs7903146) polymorphism, which predisposes people to an increased risk of glucose and lipid abnormalities as well as the development of type II diabetes. Just having this genetic significantly increases a person’s risk of developing of developing type II diabetes. The group was studied for almost 5 years.
What the study found, was that when people with this genetic variant embraced a Mediterranean diet approach to eating their blood sugars, or blood glucose level, was like that of someone without diabetes. When a Mediterranean diet approach was rejected in favor of a more modern Western diet, the fasting blood glucose levels were diagnostic of someone with type II diabetes. The same pattern was observed for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This had a very significant, hard end point in terms of cardiovascular events. Those patients with the genetic variant who did not partake of the Mediterranean diet had roughly three times the risk of stroke compared to those with a genetic variant who did follow the Mediterranean diet.
This is a very important study because it highlights a concept and approach that is nascent but growing. It is the understanding that certain genetic markers that are associated with certain diseases do not always produce those diseases. That these diseases will not manifest unless the genes are exposed to hazardous environment. It is not necessarily the gene that causes the disease; it is the environment that allows it to become manifest. This study highlights the fact that what we choose to eat is perhaps the most intimate environment of all. In a very direct way it gives us control over whether we choose a lifestyle and diet of disease and disability or one of health and wellness.
Spain; email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For Crete: Crete Culinary Experience
1Dolores Corella, Paula Carrasco, Jose V. Sorlí, Ramón Estruch, Jesús Rico-Sanz, Miguel Ángel, Martínez-González, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, M. Isabel Covas, Oscar Coltell, Fernando Arós, José Lapetra, Lluís Serra-Majem, Valentina Ruíz-Guiterrez, Julia Warnberg, Miquel Fiol, Xavier Pintó, Carolina Ortega-Azorín, Miguel Ángel Muñoz, J. Alfredo Martínez, Enrique Gómez-Gracia, José I. González, Emilio Ros, José M. Ordovás. Mediterranean Diet Reduces the Adverse Effect of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 Polymorphism on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Stroke Incidence: A randomized controlled trial in a high-cardiovascular-risk population. Diabetes Care August 13, 2013, doi:10.2337/dc13-0955
Coffee often gets a bum rap. Here at the Rx Pad we have highlighted a number of studies showing the potential benefits associated with a cuppa joe; mostly because we need our morning java to start the day. Turns out we’re hardly alone, coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the United States (US) after water, and is the principal source of caffeine intake among adults.
Many people think that coffee is basically caffeine and water. Although it is mostly water it contains hundreds of biologically-active compounds, and their potential health effects are wide ranging. Although the data is mostly from observational studies, it is fairly consistent in its conclusion. A daily intake of about 2 to 3 cups of coffee appears to be safe and is associated with neutral to beneficial effects for most of the studied health outcomes. From a cardiovascular (CV) standpoint, coffee consumption may reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension (HTN), as well as other conditions associated with CV risk such as obesity and depression. A growing body of data suggests that habitual coffee consumption is neutral to beneficial regarding the risks for a variety of adverse CV outcomes including coronary heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (CHF), arrhythmias, and stroke. Moreover, large epidemiological studies suggest that regular coffee drinkers have reduced risks for mortality—both CV and all-cause. The potential benefits also include protection against neurodegenerative diseases, improved asthma control, and lower risk of select gastrointestinal diseases. What should be avoided is excessive consumption and consumption of concentrated sources of caffeine such as extracts and “energy drinks.” These can cause untoward effects including anxiety, insomnia, tremulousness and palpitations, as well as bone loss and possibly increased risk of fractures.
So go ahead, have that second cuppa…
O’Keefe, J. H., Bhatti, S. K., Patil, H. R., DiNicolantonio, J. J., Lucan, S. C., & Lavie, C. J. (2013). Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Cardiometabolic Disease Cardiovascular Health, and All-cause Mortality. JACC , http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.06.035
As all True Blood fans know, never underestimate the power of the night and the moon. Well, I will leave you to draw your own conclusions, but the data supports Miss Sooki. Several studies, one in Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, and the other in The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggest that a waning moon offers superior cardiovascular protection than a waxing moon. Patients undergoing repair for an acute aortic dissction (a very serious cardiovascular condition in which there is a tear in the lining of the aorta) were less likely to die and had a shorter hospital stay. An aortic dissection killed John Ritter, of Three’s Company fame suddenly in 2003. The other study found that the waning moon just after the full moon offered statistically superior cardiovascular protection compared to a waxing moon.
The theory operates on the premise that the moon’s gravitational pull can affect the flow of fluid in the human body.A result is that, hypothetically, this should prompt kidney-stone trouble at times when the moon’s pull is strongest – at full moons and new moons. in fact a 2011 study published in Urology looked at almost 1,500 patient. they found that renal colic – pain commonly caused by kidney stones – seemed to increase significantly at the time of the full moon. Another study from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 2008 found that emergency urological admissions were higher on full-moon days. During the new moon there were less. According to a survey of 79 general practioners published in Pulse it was reported that emergency calls for all conditions increased by 3 per cent at full moon and dropped by 6 per cent during a new moon.
Consider this the ravings of a lunatic? Considering the full (supermoon) was yesterday, you may be right. According to Dutch researchers who examined over 5,400 patients in 2011; they showed that emergency admissions of psychiatric patients rose during full- moon periods. Again, the hypothesis is that the moon’s gravity affects the flow of fluids in the body. In this case it is the flow of fluid in the brain – and in individual brain cells – which in turn may alter people’s mood and behavior. Other hypothesis involve distortion of the Earth’s magnetic field which occurs when the moon is closer or perhaps the lunar light itself. The full moon’s light is up to 16 times greater than at other lunar phases. Dr Sallie Baxendale from the Institute of Neurology at University College London have reported that the number of epileptic seizures, which are related to electrical activity in the brain, falls when the moon is at its brightest.
Either way, avoid the moors on the full moon….
If you have not read the salt piece:
or the follow up info:
here’s your opportunity to catch up on all the discussion.
Also, do not forget the clock is ticking to get your free Dr. Mike Live at The Florida Blueberry Festival Cook book. Just head to the Facebook Fan Page and download from there!
Water is so essential for proper health! It is a key to maintaing ing a healthful diet and proper weight. Make sure you are drinking enough. Please view this heart month PSA and share!
February is National Heart Awareness Month, with a particular emphasis on Women’s Heart Health issues through the Go Red Campaign. Join me and the folks at the Health and Wellness Channel as we provide you series of short public service announcements with heart smart tips, important information and timely advice on a variety of health and heart related topics!
Read part 1 of a 2 part sereis from the Tampa Tribune here:
A recent study last month by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)[i] highlighted the ongoing epidemic rise in the incidence and prevalence of diabetes. In 1995, age-adjusted prevalence was ≥6% in only three states, DC and Puerto Rico. However, just fifteen years later in 2010 it was ≥6% in every state, DC and Puerto Rico. In six states and Puerto Rico more than 1 in 10 persons is diabetic. In 2010 there were estimated to be over 25 million people in the United States with diabetes; almost 19 million diagnosed and an additional 7 million undiagnosed. The increase was across every age group, every ethnicity and racial group and both sexes. It increased in every region across the United States. The largest increase was in the South followed by the West, the Midwest and the Northeast.
Although some of the increase is due to increased survival and decreasing mortality in those persons with diabetes, the major driver is the fact that there are simply more people with the disease. There are many factors which contribute to the development of diabetes. However, there is no denying that the increase in diabetes parallels the increasing American waistline. Just as exercise confers a diverse set of benefits, physical inactivity confers a number of risks including extra poundage. Combine physical inactivity with the typical Western diet and you have the recipe for diabetes.
As a cardiologist I am often asked for advice and recommendations regarding exercise and diet. A reasonable and regular exercise program has innumerable benefits, no major downsides and is clearly something most of us don’t get enough of. However, when it comes to food it seems the majority of the advice from so-called ‘health experts’ involves deprivation, elimination or just plain denunciation. And the easiest guy in the room to pick on is the fat guy. Literally.
As a chef and a food person, that just makes me furious. Since an aggressive campaign was started in the 1970s to reduce the percentage of fat in the typical American diet, Americans have in fact continued to reduce not only the percentage of fats, but saturated fats in particular. This trending decrease in fat consumption clearly does not correlate with the increase in obesity and diabetes. Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, notes simply that “(f)at is not the problem.”[ii]
Fat is essential for good health providing the substrate for a number of important compounds and hormones. In fact, there are specific essential fatty acids that are called essential because they are necessary for life. Across all forms of media we are barraged with the message to consume heart healthy omega-3s for their purported cardiovascular and general health benefits. Omega-3s are fats. Fats also act as important transport vehicles for compounds like the fat dependent vitamins A, D, E, and K. In addition, fats transport an innumerable number of flavor molecules. They provide foods with that certain mouth feel, umami, often described as the fifth taste. The current recommendations for a heart healthy diet include 25% – 35% of total calories from fat[iii]. That’s more than one third of our daily calories from fat.
The common and misguided method to direct people to healthful eating is often to simply remove the fat in an attempt to reduce the overall caloric intake. This thoughtless and flavorless approach to ‘healthy eating’ becomes neither. Simply removing the natural fats found in wholesome and delicious foods and replacing them with highly processed, adulterated and shadowy substitutions is not a thoughtful solution. Sacrificing flavor on the altar of caloric reduction by removing the fats robs us of important balance in our diet, flavor in our food and joy in our lives.
Better to spend our daily allotment of caloric currency on items of value. Fresh, balanced and foods as nature intended them prepared with craft and care are the choices for healthful living. These items provide nutrition for our bodies and food for our soul. These are always the better choice, the better value; no matter how many weapons of mass consumption they cram into a sack for a dollar or how many calories have been reduced by transforming a delectable bastion of yumminess into a zombified shadow of its former self.
[i] (Geiss, Li, Kirtland, Barker, Burrows, & Gregg, 2012)
[ii] (Marni, 2010)
[iii] (Hoogwerf & Huang, 2012)
Geiss, L. S., Li, Y., Kirtland, K., Barker, L., Burrows, N. R., & Gregg, E. W. (2012, November 16). Increasing Prevalence of Diagnosed Diabetes — United States and Puerto Rico, 1995–2010. CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), pp. 61(45);918-921.
Hoogwerf, B. J., & Huang, J. C. (2012). Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Lipid-Lowering Strategies and Reduction of Coronary Heart Disease Risk. Cleveland, Ohio (page 12): The Cleveland Clinic.
Marni, J. (2010, December 20). A reversal on carbs. The Los Angeles Times, pp. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/20/health/la-he-carbs-20101220.