Use food as Medicine !!

Brian Petro

“Take the DIE out of DIEting….”, a few wise words from a Doctor who knows

(Guest post By Harvey S. Hahn, MD, board certified cardiovascular disease specialist)

Is there any relationship between what you eat and your heart health?  Most will not be surprised that the answer is ‘yes’, but most will be surprised by the degree of impact your diet has on your heart, and overall, health.

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine be thy food. -Hippocrates

The INTERHEART study, which was a large multi-national study of heart attack risk found that lifestyle choices (especially dietary) had a huge impact on your risk profile.  If you had a good lifestyle score you could reduce your risk of heart attack by 55%!  That’s over HALF!  When they factored into the equation blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cholesterol levels (all of which are affected by diet) they found that they could predict ~95% of your risk!

So what can you do to eat healthier?  There are a lot of ideas floating around on the internet, but what has been studied, published, proven to work?  Should you go Paleo, Atkin’s, pescovegetarian, vegan, or some other more convoluted name?  Here are some medically proven tips to use food as medicine!

Check out Meals from Scratch selection of convenient, delicious, healthy meals HERE.

Eat a Mediterranean diet.  What does that mean?  This lifestyle (not really a diet) focuses on more fruits and veggies, nuts, and virgin olive oil.  Minimizes meats.

Avoid fast food.  Eating just 1 fast food meal a week (out of your 21 meal choices) raises your chance of becoming diabetic and of weight gain.

Eat more fruits.  Regardless of color (even apples and pears count here) fruits reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, probably by the antioxidant load you get and the fiber (which makes you feel full, reduces cholesterol, and reduces your risk of colon cancer by almost 50%).

Become vegetarian.  You can lower your blood pressure significantly by just stopping meat.

 

Become vegan (no meat or other animal products like mild or cheese).  Vegans can drop their cholesterol by 50% in 2-4 weeks!

Watch out for sugar!  American’s have become pretty good at avoiding fat, so the new danger is sugar.  We all love sugar, it’s actually addicting.  When subjects have brain scans done while eating sugar the same pleasure centers light up as when they use cocaine!  Think about that. Also, sugar is everywhere.  Check your ‘healthy’ yogurt.  It probably has 28 gms of sugar in it!  When compared to the lowest sugar consumers the highest sugar consumers have a 4 fold increase in death.  That’s a 400% increase risk of dying!

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need. -Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb

Where go American’s get the bulk of their excess sugar?  We drink it. Soda, juice, and those venti mocha fraps at Starbucks are loaded with sugar.  One tip I tell my patients (and friends) is ‘don’t drink your calories’.   Just drink water.

To learn more on how to ‘build a healthy meal’ go to www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource. They have a visual guide based on scientific evidence to help you get more healthy and keep your heart happy.

Check out Meals from Scratch selection of convenient, delicious, healthy meals HERE.