I found out from my mother that on her side of the family there was a high case of heart failure at early age. At 42, when I am physically fit, eat healthy, and abuse my body in moderation, I was starting to feel heart pains. I did not want to end up like my predecessors, who died of a heart attack at a relatively young age, even though they were fairly healthy and physically fit. I researched the subject and found a good site here, and extracted the most useful information below.
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what would it take to avoid a heart surgeon? Would you believe a multi-vitamin plus mineral pill and some omega-3 oil (canola-rapeseed, flax, fish)? Add a diet naturally high in fiber but low in processed food and hydrogenation hardened fats, and maintain a good lifestyle (in this order : 1. don't smoke, 2. control waist size, 3. manage stress well, 4. some exercise), and you will improve your general health and help prevent heart disease.
This website looks at the food, supplement and prevention side of the disease. Nutrition in medicine is my long-term interest, not my job, so this site doesn't generate money or sell anything. Here are tips and ideas that should with little effort improve your health, your 'distance from disease'.
Science shows that a heart healthy diet is one with relatively unprocessed foods, with veggies and fruits, and rice or grains that retain much of their original kernel-structure. Such 'whole' foods became scarce in Western diets. If you can't recognize part of the original food, the item is processed or refined. Some eggs, liver or fish are probably also vital for most of us.
In food processing, as when making noodles or flour, we lose 60 to 95% of most of the heart healthy nutrients. Also lost is the plant-structure, their 'whole-ness' that slows digestion. Industrial hydrogenation first and foremost zaps omega-3 oil, think of it as vitamin F-3, and turns it into toxic trans fat.
|Most scientists agree that almost no one has optimum levels of many key nutrients and that a multivitamin + mineral supplement fills many such gaps. Bonus: a high dose multi is the only therapy to lower homo-cysteine, a slow poison corroding our life-long structural proteins now linked to over 100 diseases. A 6 month bottle no iron multis is without child-proof cap, it's that safe! The evidence for benefit is massive and pennies per day.|
Even in health, there's excellent science for taking such multi plus foods and supplements for a total daily intake of at least 1 gram vitamin C, 1.2 g calcium, 600 mg magnesium, 1200 IU (30 mcg) D (when not getting adequate sunshine), about 200 IU 'mixed' E in a meal with fat and 200 mcg selenium [bench-mark of a great multi.]
The good news is that there are major health benefits from omega-3 rich oils, like about 1 teaspoon flax (lin) or fish oil or 2 tablespoons canola (rapeseed). Lesser sources are unhydrogenated soy**, mustard oil, wheatgerm, flaxseed, walnut, green leaf veggies (surprise), and of course fatty fish -and really not much else. Cardiologist de Lorgeril: '.. in most cases, the prescription of capsules containing oils enriched in [plant and fish] omega-3's ... will be, ethically and scientifically, an obligation.'
The bad news: common oils with over 50% of the omega-6 poly-unsaturate linoleic may be harmful (soy, corn, sun and safflower, grape and cottonseed) as is all hydrogenated [trans] oil ('vegetable' shortening, deep fry oils or ghee, donuts and 90% of margarines). **) Soy oil is a double edged sword as per person use in the U.S. went from zero 65 years ago to 31g/day, 10% of average daily calories. Soy is the main source of excessive trans and omega-6 fats in many countries: it's hidden and it's everywhere (scientific poster: or ).
These simple basics should prevent or postpone nearly 80% of heart and other serious diseases! What could be easier than an oil change to canola or flax (linseed), away from corn, sunflower or unidentified oils, and a few supplements at the end of your largest meal. Easing off on the highly refined carbs, the next step, is not that easy --as, each year, the average American eats his weight in added sugars, 650 Calories per day.
Apart from lowered nutrients, grains ground into a dust (flour and most breakfast cereals) or starchy potatoes (low-fiber, rapidly absorbed carbs) keep you hungry and stress your insulin system, promoting overweight & adult diabetes. Here, high insulin plus high blood sugar team up to reduce blood circulation and promote heart disease.
All illness has nutritional links. There's no doubt that all omega-3 oils (nature's COX inhibitors) lower heart attacks and double your survival chances while Vioxx and Bextra raise risk, as may Aleve/naproxen & Celebrex. Omega-3's from fish have anti-inflammation effects and help arthritis and bowel disease. Why not consider if such condition can be linked to a low intakes of such oils. This site will help you think along those lines.
This website takes you from the not-so-bad cholesterol via fats and vitamins to the tastier foods; it is a free 86 page book in PDF [needs free Acrobat] without the 'cholesterol page' PDF. Home page only. The next page has the essentials but do visit the last page. This site is for your well being so your input is appreciated. < PDF links
There are no drug deficiency diseases, or 'essential diets', only essential nutrients, yet, per capita, Americans use $70 prescription drugs per month. Most drugs manage lab-numbers or symptoms like pain, not root causes; they don't 'cure'. This is why cholesterol, sugar and blood pressure drugs have such difficulty proving they save lives. Fat plus cholesterol, 'atheroma', in arteries does not happen in wild animals, only in humans, a rare species not making its vitamin C and the only one using cooking, refining and food processing, decimating the nutrients that tame toxic homo-cysteine. Atheroma is largely a repair gone bad. This site suggests to prevent the injury and control the repair with the 'homo-cysteine vitamins', omega-3 oils and other nutrients. Many arteries blocked like Bill Clinton: one-year deaths on drugs 1.5% but slightly less drugs with by-pass or angioplasty 4.2%. Medicine-related deaths in the U.S. may be the 3rd leading cause while nutrients are safe, and cheap. This age old concept is called nutritional, naturopathic or orthomolecular medicine, the human equivalent of fertilizer and healthy soil for plants.