Today's Post: Thursday, 4-19-2012
Most Americans today eat very little nonstarchy vegetables. They may have onion on or in some foods or some lettuce and tomato on a sandwich or hamburger. But that’s about it.
I recently found news that this may change for the better. Eating more nonstarchy vegetables that we already knew to be heart healthy and to reduce excess body fat due to what it tends to replace is effective and important.
But it seems that eating an abundant amount of nonstarchy vegetables each day apparently also prevents the genes that tend to give many people heart disease from doing so!
Part one: Instead of eating an abundant amount of nonstarchy vegetables each day many people tend to eat bread or buns made with refined grains or packaged foods like potato chips or other packaged snacks and commercially made baked goods or packaged desserts.
Worse, these foods tend to be made out of excess salt, high fructose corn syrup, excess sugar, hydrogenated oils, or cheap omega 6 oils such as soy and corn oil—besides the refined grains.
We’ve posted on how refined grains, high fructose corn syrup, excess sugar both in foods and soft drinks either increase triglycerides and lower HDL or tend to spike blood sugar and insulin. (These effects also tend to fatten you and cause type 2 diabetes.)
That combination means these cheap foods increase the number of small particle LDL particles in your blood. These are small enough they stick into the chinks of your blood vessel walls and cause the plaque build up that is a major cause of heart disease.
Eating foods that contain hydrogenated oils also has been directly tested to increase the number of small particle LDL particles in your blood. That’s why the push to ban hydrogenated oils in foods. But most commercial baked goods and many other foods still contain them.
Eating excessive omega 6 oils is also common. They are in refined grain, the fats of animals fed grain, and cheap omega 6 oils such as soy and corn oil.
Eating those foods increases chronic inflammation which tends to damage the insides of your blood vessels which your body then overdoes patching which tends to cause the plaque build up that is a major cause of heart disease.
Clearly editing out from 90% to virtually all of those foods from what you eat and drink protects your heart. Continuing to consume them every day as staple, like tobacco smoke, is virtually certain to cause heart disease.
The DASH II and Mediterranean diets leave out these foods and drinks and have a lot more nonstarchy vegetables; and wild caught fish; and very fat trimmed meats and poultry; and beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas.
The Mediterranean diet also uses extra virgin olive oil instead of margarine made from hydrogenated oils, instead of butter from grain fed cows, and instead of cheap omega 6 oils such as soy and corn oil.
So getting on one of those two diets or their combination and stopping your consumption of the heart disease producing foods and drinks by itself slashes heart disease and your chances of getting a heart attack or stroke.
This is a huge and effective way to protect yourself from heart disease.
Part two: A few days ago I got an email from Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD with the title:
“Prevent Heart Attacks by Eating Fresh Fruit and Vegetables” which said that one of the most common causes of inherited heart disease is the gene called 9p21.
(This is something I very likely have because both my father and his mother had heart attacks. She died and he got heart failure in part from the heart attacks he survived & which did contribute to his death. So for me and my family, this is significant news.)
But the good news they report says that important recent research shows that eating an abundant amount of vegetables and some fresh fruit somehow turns off or “down-regulates” the effect of the gene 9p21.
That means that in addition to all the heart disease producing things you can replace by eating more nonstarchy vegetables and eating some every day, eating them is directly protective besides! That’s really good news!
Eating more nonstarchy vegetables and eating some every day is like getting a bullet proof vest against heart disease between what you stop eating and the direct protection you get!
I loved this example they put in their email;
“ Say you and your neighbor have the gene.” (9p21)
“You're not a nutritional saint (dessert happens) but your diet is also packed with carrots, broccoli, spinach, berries, apples, and artichokes.
Your neighbor eats a typical American diet (meaty, sugary, salty, fatty).
Your healthy eating lowers your heart attack risk. Your neighbor's? It doubles.”
I also liked their closing comment:
“If every American stopped smoking, started walking, managed stress, and ate a ton-o-veggies, heart disease could go extinct. Make it happen in your house.”