Category Archives: Mediterranean and Plant-based Cuisine

Mediterranean 5/2 Eating Plan

The Five/Two Diet
Vegetable heartAs a method of weight loss and weight control, this easy solution of five/two pertains to a 7 day eating plan. Once you have reached your ideal weight, you transition to healthy baseline calorie intake every day. If you gain a pound, then you can transition back to the 5/2 plan. This is how it works:

• For 5 days a week, you eat a healthy diet based primarily on fruits, vegetables, a few nuts, a little olive oil, limiting pasta or rice to twice a week. Add limited whole grains to the mix, with low-fat meat, including salmon or other similar fish. Mirror your food selections with the Mediterranean diet like people who live along the southern Italian coast and Greek islands. Eating primarily fresh fruits, vegetables, and little saturated fat, they tend to live longer, in better health and with lower heart disease.

• For two days a week, eat very few calories, only 500-600. The two days must not be consecutive. Instead separate them such as Monday and Thursday.

Why not do the low calorie days together? Harsh calorie restriction can trigger what researchers call the starvation response. With starvation, the body revs up to store calories by lowering the metabolic rate and packing on calories when food becomes available. It is a natural process to maintain life.

Even though the two low calorie days are not true fasting, if they are consecutive such as Monday and Tuesday, your metabolic rate may be affected. Separating the days, combined with daily exercise such as walking is known to increase metabolic rate andkabob veg calorie burn. — And, with exercise, you are unlikely to stimulate a starvation response. In fact, with a marked reduction in calorie intake and consistent exercise, you will lose weight.

British physician Michael Mosley, described the 5/2 diet in his book FastDiet in 2012. In a follow up study done at the Aston University in the UK, they found intermittent fasting (very low calorie days) more effective than daily calorie restriction and calorie counting.

Favorable findings included:
• Reduced weight
• Reduced inflammation
• Reduced blood glucose
• Reduced lipids (cholesterol)
• Reduced blood pressure

True fasting (consuming no nutrition) has been shown to lower weight, prolong life, lower blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels. However, fasting also lowers metabolic rate, something you do not want, because your body becomes very efficient at storing excess calories and weight returns.

Eating two low calorie days per week is usually safe for Type 2 diabetics. Those taking medications and insulin must consult their medical provider for advice and to help manage medication dosages when reducing calorie intake. In the end, with weight loss, some Type 2 diabetics can reduce or stop some of their medications. Or, for those with borderline glucose elevations, weight loss and the drug Metformin, may help ward off the development of full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Without interventions, most people with borderline elevation of blood glucose will evolve to Type 2 diabetes within ten years.

Pay special attention to your daily intake:
• Choose fruits over sweets for desserts.
• Exercise portion control. Avoid second helpings. Wait 30 minutes and see if you are really still hungry.
• Do your best to prepare low calorie meals such as turkey breast instead of hot wings or steak.
• Forget potatoes, pasta, gravy, cheese sauce and fattening salad dressing.
• If you are preparing meals, serve light calorie recipes and fruit for dessert.
• Take time to exercise

Note: If you are, pregnant, breast feeding or a Type 1 diabetic, following a Mediterranean-type cuisine is healthy but do not follow the very low calorie day recommendations. However, this is a heart-healthy approach for those with high blood pressure and heart disease, even those who have had bypass and stent procedures.
Betty Kuffel, MD

Share YOUR HEART

Greetings from Betty and Bev
February is National Heart Month!

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death, but

with the right knowledge and actions, it is preventable.

We’d like to share our heart health guide FREE as a Valentine gift for you, your friends and family members. Click on YOUR HEART and it will take you to the Amazon purchase page where you and your friends can download a kindle copy of YOUR HEART FREE.

2016 Promo Graphic - 2

 

If you are healthy and want to stay that way, or if you are overweight, have diabetes or heart disease, our book Your Heart, can help. It provides the science behind coronary artery disease with actions to improve health and longevity, including information on the 5/2 Mediterranean diet. This is a healthy way to maintain your weight over a lifetime. It’s easy and it works. Overweight children show signs of early heart disease. The book contains information on how to keep kids healthy, too.

Please share this link with everyone! Your Heart

Happy Valentines Day and Have a healthy 2016.

Betty and Bev

HEART ATTACK RISKS

Understand your risk factors and take action … before you have a heart attack.

Your Heart Book Cover- Final FINALThe American College of Cardiology reported young women with heart attacks are more likely to die than men. Part of this scenario is because many women do not experience the classic symptoms of chest pressure, arm, or jaw pain. Women are also more likely to report stomach symptoms, fatigue or shortness of breath instead of chest pressure when a coronary artery is closing. Without the proper diagnosis, life-saving interventions including stents to open a closing artery are delayed or not performed.

In a study evaluating women under age 55, Yale researchers found half the women believed they were healthy prior to a heart attack. Fewer women than men in the study had not received education from their care providers regarding risks for heart disease. Many of the women had modifiable risks and only 22% of them received information about heart disease and how to reduce their risks.

Nearly half of women in a 2012 survey did not report heart disease as a leading cause of death, yet they considered themselves well-informed on female health issues. Read a quick take on statistics and how you can identify and reduce your risks.

Excerpt from Your Heart book:

Women and Heart Disease

Many women do not realize they are at high risk for heart disease and early death. Under age 50, heart attacks in women are twice as likely to be fatal as in men. Each year more than 250,000 women die of heart attacks. Six times the number of women die from heart disease than from breast cancer. Many factors weigh into these statistics including hormones.

♥ Research reported in the National Institutes of Health bulletin, The Heart Truth for Women, states that by leading a healthy lifestyle, women can lower risks by 82%. You are in charge. This means: regular exercise, healthy weight and not smoking. Also take medications to control other risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. What you choose to do and what you eat can improve health and prolong life.

♥♥♥♥♥

Five risk factors both men and women can modify and reduce their risk for dying from a heart attack:
• High cholesterol
• Smoking, tobacco use
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• High blood pressure

What to do about these risks: See your physician for an evaluation

  • Check your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Treat cholesterol and blood pressure abnormalities with diet modification and medication.
  • Stop all tobacco use.
  • Keep blood glucose normal with diet and medication.
  • Eat a Mediterranean diet and control your calorie intake. Consider the 5/2 diet for weight reduction (discussed in previous blogs on this website)
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes each day.

Betty Kuffel, MD

FAT FACTS FOR A HEALTHIER HEART AND BRAIN

UNDERSTANDING FATS

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women.
Childhood obesity contributes to early high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Food choices and exercise beginning in childhood are important throughout life.
Changing behaviors over recent years has reduced heart disease but it remains the #1 killer.

The Mediterranean Diet is an excellent life diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fatty fish such as salmon, whole grains, foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as avocados, olive oil and nuts.

Recent research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association reported testing a population of people ages 21-70 on each of three different diets. They found a reduction in bad (LDL) cholesterol levels when consuming one avocado/day.

Avocado heartFive million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.
A study at Brigham & Women’s Hospital examined the relationship between healthy fat intake and memory retention. Over 4 years, women on higher amounts of monounsaturated fats had better memory.

Intake of healthy fats contributes to both heart and brain health.

Excerpt from:

Your Heart: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men and Children

The Science of Fats

Dietary fat is a primary component of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. When fat consumption is high, the tendency to develop the disease early in life is increased and progresses with age. This section will provide information on types of fat, why some are more harmful than others, and which dietary choices are beneficial.

Fat Structure
Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Trans Fat
First of all, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are healthier than trans fats. They begin as oil, liquid at room temperature. The process of hydrogenation raises the melting point making oil become solid at room temperature, and turns oil into stick margarine. The hydrogenation process makes them unhealthy.

If oil is “partially hydrogenated,” the reaction process is stopped at the point where the product is soft like some brands of margarine marketed in plastic containers. Adding hydrogen makes the oil more resistant to spoilage, prolonging shelf life.

Many commercial baked goods contain trans fats. You may already understand what trans fats are because they are frequently in the news. Trans fats are bad fats because when consumed, they raise cholesterol. Found naturally in the fat of meat and dairy products, trans fats also form during the hydrogenation of healthful plant-based oil.

(Molecular discussion follows. Please skip the next 2 paragraphs if you are not interested in the chemistry of fats.)

By definition, monounsaturated fats contain only one molecular double bond in the fatty acid chain; polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond. Fats are called trans or cis depending on the position of the double bonds. In the hydrogenation process both cis and trans fats are formed. The trans fat configuration is a unique partially hydrogenated fat in which the molecular configuration is in the trans position producing a straighter molecule. This results in a higher melting point. Basically, the hydrogenation process turns healthy plant-based oils into unhealthy fats that will raise blood lipid levels when consumed.

Saturated fats (example: lard) are fully saturated with hydrogen; no more hydrogen can bond. However, they are not called trans fats because their bonds can rotate (not locked in the cis or trans molecular configuration). Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

♥ Olive oil is a primary monounsaturated oil source. Olive oil contains oleic acid which has a single cis double bond. Therefore it is a mono–single unsaturated fatty acid. Olives, avocados, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, whole grains, popcorn and cashews are high oleic acid. Research shows an improvement in diabetic insulin levels and blood sugar control when olive oil is used. Remember oil is caloric. Even though it is healthier than butter, one tablespoonful of any fat equals 100 calories.

Polyunsaturated fat is divided into two types: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Primary sources of omega-6s are soy, corn and safflower oil. Omega-3s are found in canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts and cold water fish. Soybean oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6.
When you eat trans fats your LDL goes up. That results in more “lard” in your arteries. In addition, trans fats may also lower your good cholesterol. You need to keep your consumption of trans fats as low as possible. The American Heart Associations recommends limiting intake to less than 1% of your total daily calories.

Be sure to read labels. Many processed foods contain trans fats. If a serving has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, the label may state zero. Some restaurants now advertise they are no longer using trans fats in deep frying. That is excellent news; however, any fried food contains significant amounts of oils and calories. Avoid all fried foods if you are on a calorie-restricted diet or have lipid abnormalities.

Some of the common commercial foods containing trans fats are: microwave popcorn, cake, cookies, pie, margarine, frosting and coffee creamers. If you buy commercial items, choose those containing zero trans fat. Specifically avoid partially hydrogenated oils and shortening.

Denmark was the first country to ban tans fats from foods. In 2008, California became the first state to ban restaurant chains from using trans fats for cooking; New York City and Chicago followed suit. More recently, five additional states have joined in, as have cruise ship lines and hotel chains. As a country, along with banning smoking in public places and the many Quit Smoking campaigns, we are now taking steps to change food choices to help overcome our heart disease crisis.

Cutting both trans fats and saturated fat from your diet is very important. Combine this modification with eating only lean meat and adding omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Making these choices places you on the right track toward heart health.

♥ If you need to cook with oil, use mono-unsaturated products such as olive oil, peanut and canola oils or polyunsaturated oils. If your LDL and total cholesterol levels are high and you are overweight, avoid fatty meat, eat few egg yolks, avoid cheese and whole milk products. Consider eating veggie egg white only omelets.

* * *

For Heart Health and Weight Control Avoid Saturated Fat:
Animal fat contributes to heart disease and obesity. Eating fried foods and fatty meat including hamburger, steaks, prime rib, rib-eye and T-bone cuts all contain significant calories and fat. Even when grilled, these are not good choices if you are trying to reduce your fat and calorie intake.

Choose lean cuts such as sirloin, and remove all visible fat from all cuts of meat. Pork loin without fat and bone can be a healthy choice. Remove all skin and fat from poultry.

Broil, bake and boil meats. Frying and deep frying any food is not recommended for health reasons.

For Brain Health and General Health Choose to Eat Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat:
Avocados are nutritious and contain monounsaturated healthy fat. A whole small avocado contains about 250 calories, less than most meat servings. Healthy monounsaturated fats are also found in olive oil, peanut oil, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Healthy fats, the omega 3 and omega 6 (polyunsaturated fats) are found in:  walnuts, flax seedAvocado tree oil, chia seeds and marine algae oil.

Best wishes for healthy living.

Betty and Bev

See our women’s health blog lipsticklogic.com for addition health information.

Easy Mediterranean Breakfast

If you’d like a healthful low calorie breakfast, this is the recipe for you.

On low calorie days on the 5/2 eating plan this is a great addition and few calories.

Scrambled Mediterranean Muffin

Eggs.kiwiThese can be made using egg whites only. Each egg white is about 10 calories vs 80 calories with the yolk and the added cholesterol. After they are baked, you can store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and microwave for a quick meal.

Calorie content varies with what you add but on average with added vegetables and using egg whites only, they are less than 50 calories each. Add fruit and a slice of Kavli and you have a meal less than 100 calories and very tasty.

Use non-stick muffin tin, grease lightly. Mix one egg per muffin in a blender with a splash of milk. Pour into tins and then add your chosen ingredients and seasoning.

Examples: Crumbles of Feta cheese, cilantro, 1/2 cherry tomato, snips of low fat ham, spinach, sweet pepper, etc. For those in the pictures I used 6 egg whites and 3 egg yolks, 1 Tbsp. milk, cilantro, feta, frozen peas, 1/2 cherry tomato, ham bits and  a little mozzarella cheese grated on top.       Cool before removing from pan.

Eggs.unbaked  Eggs.bakedEggs.sideview Kavli croppedBake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.

Kavli is 50 calories / 3 slices

WEIGHT CONTROL THROUGH THE 5/2 EATING PLAN

The Five/Two Eating Plan

As a method of weight loss and weight control, this easy solution of five/two pertains to a 7 day eating plan. Once you have reached your ideal weight, you transition to healthy baseline calorie intake every day. If you gain a pound, then you can transition back to the 5/2 plan. This is how it works:

·         For 5 days a week, you eat a healthy diet based primarily on fruits, vegetables, a few nuts, a little olive oil, limiting pasta or rice to twice a week. Add limited whole grains tokabob veg the mix, with low-fat meat, including salmon or other similar fish. Mirror your food selections with the Mediterranean diet like people who live along the southern Italian coast and Greek islands. Eating primarily fresh fruits, vegetables, and little saturated fat, they tend to live longer, in better health and with lower heart disease.

·          For two days a week, eat very few calories, only 500-600. The two days must not be consecutive. Instead separate them such as Monday and Thursday.

 Why not do the low calorie days together? Harsh calorie restriction can trigger what researchers call the starvation response. With starvation, the body revs up to store calories by lowering the metabolic rate and packing on calories when food becomes available. It is a natural process to maintain life.

Even though the two low calorie days are not true fasting, if they are consecutive such as Monday and Tuesday, your metabolic rate may be affected. Separating the days, combined with daily exercise such as walking is known to increase metabolic rate and calorie burn. — And, with exercise, you are unlikely to stimulate a starvation response. In fact, with a marked reduction in calorie intake and consistent exercise, you will lose weight.

 British physician Michael Mosley, described the 5/2 diet in his book FastDiet in 2012. In a follow up study done at the Aston University in the UK, they found intermittent fasting (very low calorie days) more effective than daily calorie restriction and calorie counting. Favorable findings included:

  • Reduced weight
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced blood glucose
  • Reduced lipids (cholesterol)
  • Reduced blood pressure

True fasting (consuming no nutrition) has been shown to lower weight, prolong life, lower blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels. However, fasting also lowers metabolic rate, something you do not want, because your body becomes very efficient at storing excess calories and weight returns.

Eating two low calorie days per week is usually safe for Type 2 diabetics. Those taking medications and insulin must consult their medical provider for advice and to help manage medication dosages when reducing calorie intake. In the end, with weight loss, some Type 2 diabetics can reduce or stop some of their medications. Or, for those with borderline glucose elevations, weight loss and the drug Metformin, may help ward off the development of full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Without interventions, most people with borderline elevation of blood glucose will evolve to Type 2 diabetes within ten years.

 Pay special attention to your daily intake:

  • Choose fruits over sweets for desserts.
  • Exercise portion control. Avoid second helpings. Wait 30 minutes and see if you are really still hungry.
  • Do your best to prepare low calorie meals such as turkey breast instead of hot wings or steak.
  • Forget potatoes, pasta, gravy, cheese sauce and fattening salad dressing.
  • If you are preparing meals, serve light calorie recipes and fruit for dessert.
  • Take time to exercise

 Note: If you are, pregnant, breast feeding or a Type 1 diabetic, following a Mediterranean-type cuisine is healthy but do not follow the very low calorie day recommendations. However, this is a heart-healthy approach for those with high blood pressure and heart disease, even those who have had bypass and stent procedures.

 Betty Kuffel, MD

Follow: yourheartbook.com blog for additional updates

*****February 28th is the last day of the Sale*****

Your Heart – Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease in

Women, Men and Children

Kindle e-book $2.99   http://tinyurl.com/kindle-heart-sale     Your Heart Book Cover- Finalwfontchg.2 (Small)

Paperback $9.99   https://www.createspace.com/4330606

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH

cropped-vitruvian-heart-woman1.jpgSome of my friends believe they can make better choices to attain maximum health and yet I see them regularly exercising and eating wisely. These are two very important actions in the scheme of health and living longer. After seeing parents and relatives die young from smoking, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, they vowed to make personal choices that correlate with better health.

 Other people I know do not exercise and eat wantonly. A common breakfast choice by one particular person is a bacon/sausage omelet with a side of pancakes. This person is more than 100 pounds overweight, has high blood pressure, out-of-control diabetes and has had a heart attack. His choices and health issues provide a view of factors seen in many who contribute to current world statistics placing heart disease as the leading cause of death in women and men.

Coronary artery disease, also called atherosclerosis is a disease in which arteries narrow because of metabolic abnormalities related to lifestyle choices. In the United States, 18% of all deaths are from coronary artery disease. Inflammation is a large component of this disease in conjunction with the accumulation of LDL-cholesterol fat inside blood vessels. Increasing weight leads to Type 2 diabetes and diabetes contributes to the disease process.

You have probably read or heard this scenario so many times you find it boring. Some people say they have tried everything and can’t lose weight. Losing weight is not magical. It doesn’t matter what time of day you eat, whether you drink water before, during or after meals. It doesn’t matter whether your largest meal is in the evening, whether you graze all day, or eat one meal per day. What matters is how much you eat and what you eat. In other words, it is important to balance your food intake with your energy output.

We all need to eat for energy. Without proper food, our body processes are impaired. But when we eat more food than we burn off each day, the body stores that extra food as fat. If the stored fat isn’t burned, it continues to accumulate — that is how the body evolved to survive during times of sparse food.

 Consider these examples:

If you eat one scoop of ice cream (about 400 calories) in addition to your daily calorie needs, you must walk one hour just to burn off that extra 400 calories. If you don’t exercise to burn the extra fuel, your body will store the calories as fat.

Even eating one extra little banana per day (about 100 calories) can add up. In one month you will have consumed 3100 more calories than you needed to maintain your energy needs. At the end of one year, your scale will show you are up by 10 pounds.

One weekly meal that includes a bacon cheeseburger, fries and a shake (about 1500 calories) can put you on the road to obesity. Over a year, without significant additional exercise, that daily fast food meal alone can add up to a 20 pound weight gain per year.

The first step in taking control of your health is to learn how. Making a healthy lifestyle change is within your power. By making healthy changes in your diet and adding exercise to your daily routine, you will begin the road to better health and possibly even extend your life. Just like adults, obese children show signs of early heart disease. Teaching kids to eat right and exercise can also reverse the negative effects of their overeating.

Your Heart is a health guide. Scientific studies over many years support healthy food choices like the Mediterranean diet and vegetarian eating, too. Choose to eat healthy.

Make 2014 the year for better health choices for you and your family. Don’t smoke. Avoid sweets and all fried and fatty foods. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and add exercise to your day.

Beginning today Your Heart is available at a reduced price in both paperback and Kindle through December 24th. To purchase, click on Kindle Heart book or Paperback Heart book

Happy Holidays

Heart Disease in Children

Overview

The Bogalusa Heart Study reported obese children as young as five show artery changes seen in early heart disease. Additional studies show obese children, in particular, have the same metabolic disorders as adults leading to early heart disease.

Many factors contribute to cardiovascular diseasethe leading cause of death in adults. A lifetime of excessive eating and not enough exercise combined with smoking are three leading causes of early heart attack and death. Many people with arteries nearly closed have no symptoms. Some have multiple heart arteries with blockages above 90% and don’t know it. A key to living longer is recognizing risk factors and lowering your risks by making healthy choices and seeing a physician for a physical and laboratory studies.

Inherited Risk with High Cholesterol Genes

Some families have faulty cholesterol genes placing them at risk for early heart disease. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of early death. In my family, males had heart attacks in their 30’s and 40’s and died very young, but today, that statistic can be changed. Today, children who carry the inherited trait for high cholesterol can be diagnosed early and treated. When treated, they are living longer than their parents did.

A new National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommendation is to test the cholesterol level (called a lipid panel) in children between the ages of 9 to 11. Previously, lipid testing beginning at age 20 was recommended.

Note: There are experts who disagree with this recommendation but if your child has familial and other risks, discuss cholesterol with your child’s pediatrician or family doctor.

Parents don’t often think about their child’s cholesterol levels but heart disease can develop in childhood. The test involves taking a blood sample to analyze for different kinds of fats (lipids) in the blood. Cholesterol is a lipid or fat. High levels of cholesterol are known to contribute not only to heart disease, but also strokes.

Over time as cholesterol accumulates within the wall of heart arteries, blockages starve the heart muscle of oxygen and nutrients. For most people, the process occurs over a lifetime of eating the wrong food and too much of it, with inadequate exercise. But in families with faulty cholesterol genes, the problem becomes evident at a young age and shortens life.

 Treatment

Drugs called statins may be prescribed in adults and in some high risk children and teens to lower cholesterol levels and prolong lives. The primary treatment in all ages is proper eating and an active lifestyle. Taking statins helps, but a low fat nutritious diet with predominant fresh fruits and vegetables is most important.

Additional Obesity Health Risks in Childrenobesity

A study published this year from the University of Eastern Finland showed obese children as young as six had already developed high blood pressure, high glucose and high insulin levels showing insulin resistance like adult Type 2 diabetics. In addition, the children had high triglycerides (a fat contributing to heart disease) and low HDL-cholesterol, the good cholesterol – the one you want high. They found blood pressure, triglyceride and insulin level elevations contributed to stiffening even in young arteries. This leads to cardiovascular disease.

 High blood pressure is a silent disease in both adults and children. Treatment decreases risk for the development of cardiovascular disease. Pediatricians now recommend measuring blood pressures in children at every visit beginning at age three. High blood pressure in children is more common in obese children and must be a part of the child’s health evaluation.

Type 2 diabetes accelerates cardiovascular disease. It was formerly a disease of older adults. Now Type 2 diabetes is common in overweight teens.

 Researchers in a Washington University study found a link between teen depression and obesity. With inactivity and smoking, the study also found teens are twice as likely to die by age 55 than non-smokers. Recognizing and treating depression, stopping smoking, avoiding second hand smoke, normalizing weight and increasing exercise can lower heart disease risk for at risk children and teens.

Early diagnosis with physician monitoring and appropriate interventions along with healthy food choices beginning in childhood and an active lifestyle are the keys to better health and a longer life.

dinner-on-healthy-platechildren kids bicycling

NEW CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE GUIDELINES

LINKS TO LIVING LONGER

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 WHAT TO DO TO LOWER RISKS and LIVE LONGER

Yesterday, experts in cardiovascular disease prevention published new guidelines for heart and vascular health. Based on hundreds of clinical research studies, this is the latest science-based analysis on heart disease and stroke prevention. Source: American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

 My father died in 1960 of coronary heart disease. He was 52 years old. His first heart attackIMG_5818 occurred at age 46. Like many people today, he had familial cholesterol elevation and smoked. Had he known what actions to take to improve his health and the opportunity to take a statin drug to lower his cholesterol, I’m sure he would have added many years to his life. With the new guidelines, we all have the Links to Living Longer.

 The information below is provided to help others take steps to improve cardiovascular health and live longer through healthy actions. I appreciate feedback and questions.

 Thank you,

Betty Kuffel, MD

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death.

It is preventable and treatable.

Many people do not follow lifestyle recommendations and do not take medications known to prolong life. These guidelines provide a standardized basis for the best approach to reduce risks and save lives.

 LINKS TO HEART HEALTH

Eat Healthy

Vegetable heartCalculate your calorie requirements and follow a Mediterranean or plant-based diet that includes a predominance of fresh foods with 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, high fiber and whole grain foods, fat-free or low-fat milk products, nuts, lean meat/poultry/fish, limit saturated fat and trans fat, limit sweets and added sugar.

Reduce High Blood Pressure

See your physician for a health evaluation and laboratory studies. Blood pressure monitoring and treatment may be necessary. Reducing salt/sodium intake below 2,000/ day is recommended for most adults. Monitor your own blood pressure and read food labels. Avoiding processed food and salty soups will help reduce blood pressure.

Reduce High Cholesterol

Because of common inherited disorders many people cannot reduce cholesterol to healthy levels even when eating a low fat vegetarian diet and attaining low weight. Some must take a drug to treat the abnormal lipids. (Lipid is a generic term for fat and cholesterol.)

If Necessary, Take Statins

Statins are the most effective drugs to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol. The new guidelines strongly recommend the use of statins while at the same time decreasing your intake of all types of saturated fat including full fat milk products, coconut/palm oil, and all trans fats found in “partially-hydrogenated” fat products. These include margarine and many commercial baked goods. Under new guidelines statins are indicated for people diagnosed with heart disease, Type 2 diabetics aged 40-75, and an LDL of 190 or higher, and other factors if determined to be at risk. LDL is the bad cholesterol. Remember – taking a statin does not mean you can continue to eat bacon cheeseburgers – healthy eating is imperative to reduce risks of heart disease even when taking statins.

Lose Weight

If you are overweight like most Americans, no matter what your age, you are at higher risk for arterial heart disease and vessel disease throughout your body. Children as young as five years old, who are obese, are at risk for early heart disease and diabetes.

With weight gain, fat accumulates in the body contributing to high LDL (bad) cholesterol, higher triglycerides and high blood pressure. All are known to be detrimental to health.

In addition, weight gain correlates with the development of Type 2 diabetes and blood glucose elevation making your risk of heart disease even higher. Avoid diabetes. Treat pre-diabetes (mild elevations of blood glucose).

 To calculate your ideal weight and develop a plan for better heart health, see your physician for guidance. Note: Many websites such as www.realage.com  provide calculators for calorie needs and BMI to determination obesity range. BMI is Body Mass Index. Knowing these guidelines will help you take appropriate action to reduce your health risks.

Be Active

Risk reduction recommendations include activities such as brisk walking for 40 minutes at least 3-4 times a week.

Factors contributing to cardiovascular health include: race, gender, age, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure, cholesterol abnormalities, excessive weight, diabetes and tobacco use are high risk factors contributing to arterial narrowing, heart disease and stroke.

GOOD NEWS – YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR HEALTH RISKS

 EAT HEALTHY

STOP SMOKING

EXERCISE REGULARLY

ATTAIN NORMAL WEIGHT

AVOID SUGAR AND SATURATED FATS

AVOID BLOOD GLUCOSE ELEVATION

TAKE BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION IF NECESSARY

TAKE A STATIN MEDICATION IF NECESSARY TO CONTROL CHOLESTEROL

PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Family heart healthIF HEART DISEASE RUNS IN YOUR FAMILY, A NEW RECOMMENDATION IS TO DO BLOOD LIPID LEVELS IN CHILDREN SO INTERVENTIONS CAN START AT A YOUNG AGE. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO EDUCATE CHILDREN ON DIET AND EXERCISE BECAUSE OBESE CHILDREN HAVE INCREASED HEART DISEASE, BLOOD PRESSURE AND DIABETES RISKS THAT CAN BE IMPROVED WITH PROPER CHOICES.

HOW TO IMPROVE HEART HEALTH – PART 3

THERE IS HOPE

Even if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, or have had a heart attack, stents or a stroke, there is hope for improvement.

 Major risk factors for coronary artery disease are all factors under your control:

♥ Tobacco use – stop smoking or chewing

♥ High blood pressure – meds, weight loss & exercise help lower blood pressure

♥ Cholesterol abnormalities – statin drugs & a low-fat diet help reduce cholesterol

♥ Obesity – exercise and reduced calorie intake help reduce obesityObesity Concept

 ♥ Type 2 diabetes – lower blood sugar with proper diet and insulin

♥ Low activity – take walks, join a fitness center

♥ More than one alcohol drink per day – limit all alcohol consumption

♥ Illicit drug use – get help – stop using illegal drugs

♥ High levels of calcium supplements (over 1200mg/day) – limit supplements

 LINKS TO HEART HEALTH:

smoke-091Quit using tobacco of any kind, normalize blood pressure, weight and blood glucose. In addition, a medication regimen to improve lipids may be necessary. All these factors contribute to lowering risks and reducing the closure of arteries and stents.

 Stents are inserted into diseased plaqued-blocked arteries to buy time. Bypass grafts provide a route around the blockage. Both are temporary methods used to save lives.

The body accepts the stent and forms a smooth covering over the interior like the natural vessel. If lifestyle changes and medications are not made to keep the stent open, the stent will close just like the diseased artery. Bypass grafts also develop cholesterol plaques. New plumbing buys you time and allows you to take control and improve your health.

 Taking a statin to lower your cholesterol is not a ticket to eating fried foods, bacon cheeseburgers or eggs.

Taking a glucose-lowering medication or insulin, is not a ticket to eating sweets and carbohydrates

 Stents and grafts are not tickets to continue your past eating and lifestyle habits

 ANOTHER TYPE OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE:

In addition to cholesterol narrowing in large arteries, microvascular disease  makes small coronary arteries stiff. More common in women, this disorder can also affect men. The cause is not known but is more commonly seen in conjunction with Type 2 diabetes and inflammatory disorders related to autoimmune diseases such as: rheumatoid arthritis, MS and lupus. In addition, anemia, polycystic ovary disease and hormones can contribute to microvascular dysfunction.

Microvascular disease is treated with medication, lifestyle changes, and normalizing all risk factors. Exercise and healthy food choices are key.Family exercise