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Heart Health

Heart Health
Many myths exist today in regards to heart health. After 60 years of intensive research, heart disease still kills, 600,000 people a year in North America. It is the leading cause of death in men. There are many risk factors that can cause your heart to fail, however....

Fat people potentially have the highest risk factor for heart disease.

Until his recent untimely death, Dr. Robert C. Atkins was a pioneer in complementary medicine and the leading champion of the controlled carbohydrate approach to nutrition. He claimed the best way to lose weight was not a low-fat diet but a low-carb diet. For much of his career Dr. Atkins was looked down on from many in the medical community, until just before his death when many had a change of attitude.

First a New York Times Magazine article "What if it's all been a big fat lie" attacked the myth that low-fat diets are healthy. Then the Heritage Medical Center released the results of a study into how low carbohydrate diets affect people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a diet induced disease causing cholesterol problems, obesity, lack of energy, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Participants, who ate a low-carb diet for 18 months, saw their LDL, bad cholesterol, reduced by an average of 82%. HDL, good cholesterol, scores increased by an average of 30%. Finally, in May 2003, less than one month after Dr. Atkins death, the New England Journal of Medicine, published a well-done study that found the Atkins approach beats out the American health Association's own low-fat approach for both weight loss and blood lipid improvement.

It would seem one of the first principals to better heart health is to avoid low-fat labeled foods. The reason is quite simple. There are only three macronutrients in food: fat , protein and carbohydrate. Manufacturers do not add protein when they remove fat from packaged food. So anything marked low-fat necessarily has more carbohydrates. The added carbs are the worst kind of refined processed carbs. They are the worst thing for your heart. Harvard researchers found that substituting an equal number of calories of polyunsaturated fat with carbohydrates increased the risk of heart disease by over 50%. Some fats are actually healthy for your heart. Omega-3 fats, drive down bad cholesterol and keep the blood flowing freely. Fats are needed by your body to absorb the essential vitamins A, E, D and K. Your body can make every carbohydrate, it needs. To produce crucial hormones like prostaglandins, your body needs essential fatty acids. They are essential for the function of the entire body. Among other things, they clear arteries and fight inflammation to improve cardiovascular health. However, your intake of these fats has to be balanced. Ideally, one omega-3 to every two Omega-6 fatty acids. More omega-6 and less omega-3 causes blood to easily clot and contributes to constricted arteries. The precursor to heart attacks.

Over the last 75 years in North America , Omega-6's in the diet have soared, and now the ratio is 20 to 1. The average North American eats 10 times as much Omega six as they should. These come mostly from vegetable oils, processed foods and grain fed meat. It turns out those native cultures, who consumed 85% of their calories as wild red meat showed little evidence of having experienced modern heart disease. In wild range or grass fed animals, you get a dramatically reversed and heart healthy ratio of 0.16 to 1. This makes grass fed red meat significantly more heart healthy than wild fish! If you prevent an animal from getting normal exercise and feed it grains it does the same thing to the animal it does to us. It makes it obese with all the wrong kinds of fat. Processed foods are proprietary and very profitable, and since the medical establishment advised us to avoid red meat, and process our food even more, the food processing industry jumped on the heart healthy bandwagon with both feet. When vegetable oils are hydrogenated in processed foods they produce trans fatty acids. These raise LDL and triglycerides in the blood. Both of these are true enemies of the heart.

If you follow the advice to choose low-fat foods, you are actually choosing foods that make fat loss more difficult because of the extra carbs and added sugars. Low-fat products on supermarket shelves are bad for your heart, especially those processed starch products often marked as heart healthy, like breads and cereals. These culprits cause heart problems.If you're going to eat bread, be sure to choose sprouted grain. Once the grain sprouts, it acts somewhat like a vegetable in the human body.

According to Dr. AL. Sears, M.D., manipulating micronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) is not quackery. It is a sophisticated and effective approach to controlling aspects of metabolism and weight. It is also much easier, healthier and more effective than the failed calorie counting approaches.

Here are his effective rules, you can follow to maintain the right balance of micronutrients. He claims the results will be a stronger, leaner, more energetic and healthier you without eating cardboard tasting and diet food.

1. Eat excess protein. Quality protein is the key to good nutrition. Protein promotes muscle growth and overall health. Eating more protein than you need for daily metabolism signals to your body that "the hunting is good" and liberalizes the burning of carbs and fat for energy. Wild fish, wild or grass fed meats, eggs, dairy, beans and nuts are all good sources of protein. Eat as much of them as you like.

2. Limit processed carbs. Processed carbs make you fat and diseased. Starches in particular, our main cause of the North American obesity epidemic. Limit consumption of anything made from grains (including corn) or potatoes. Get your carbs from unprocessed vegetables that grow above the ground. The exceptions are onions and garlic.

3. Eat natural fats. Fat is neutral as a micronutrients, but most modern fat is a health nightmare. Eat unprocessed vegetable fats like virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Get your animal fat from free range or grass fed animals. These are some of the healthiest foods, you can eat, not the health hazards we have been told they are.

Simply limit your carbohydrates at every meal, don't worry so much about natural fats, and make quality protein the focus of all your meals. If you do this you'll be well on the way to a healthier and more enjoyable diet.

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