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Posts Tagged ‘Heart disease’

Who knew? May is National Egg Month, and I almost let it slip by. But don’t be deterred from celebrating. This versatile food is great all year.

The poor egg has been maligned for decades. In the 1970s, I taught a nutrition class in New Orleans to nursing students. My office, on one side of the river, required I traverse the old Huey P. Long bridge connecting to the other side. It was scary. The rickety bridge rattled and reaching the other side safely seemed dubious. It revved my adrenalin and blood pressure.

When my class discussed the role of LDL (low density lipoprotein), known to have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, I would say to my students, “If I have a heart attack on my way to class, it isn’t the egg I had for breakfast. It was driving across that bridge.”

Stress remains a factor in heart disease, but eggs? Now some forty years later, my stand on eggs has been vindicated. For many years, researchers have known that cholesterol in the foods we eat has less effect on blood cholesterol levels than does the type of fats we eat. Individuals with diets high in saturated fat (those mostly from animal sources) are more likely to have increased cholesterol blood levels (LDL) than those who consume unsaturated fats (mostly from plant sources).

Many still argue that those who eat the yolk, which contains small amounts of cholesterol, should limit intake to three to four eggs per week. While an egg yolk has about 200 mg of cholesterol, the effects may be more positive than negative.

A nine-year Chinese study of nearly a half-million people compared the risk of heart attacks and strokes of those who consumed an average of a half to one egg per day with those who never ate eggs. Researchers concluded that eggs eaten in moderation had no effect on elevated risks for developing heart disease or stroke.

Naysayers pointed out that the study wasn’t a controlled experiment. They claimed results might not apply to other parts of the world such as the U. S. where westernized diets prevail, and most people are overweight. Other recent research suggests that eggs may block the production of LDL in the liver while at the same time boosting HDL, known as the good cholesterol. The Egg Nutrition Center is one source of more  nutrition information about the value of eggs in the diet. 

A study published in the May 7, 2018 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effect of a high-egg diet on the cardiovascular system of people who were pre-diabetic or had type 2 diabetes. Compared to a low-egg diet (less than two per week) the high-egg diet had no adverse effects on the heart. Both diets were weight-loss diets and results from the two diets were similar.

That’s not the only good news about eating moderate amounts of eggs. Besides its many nutrient benefits and its quality protein, studies find more health attributes for this wholesome food. Eggs are significant sources of choline and lutein (a xanthophyll carotenoid). These nutrients may influence cognitive functions. As the number of Americans over age 65 rapidly increases, so does the incidence of cognitive decline. Scientific evidence substantiates the role choline and lutein in brain and neurological development post conception, and it is believed that lutein may influence cognition across the lifespan.

I remain a proponent of eggs as part of a healthy diet. Unless advised otherwise by a qualified health professional, add eggs into your diet with the assurance they are unlikely to affect heart conditions in a healthy person. It just may keep your brain more healthy and active during the latter years of life. Most of us need all the help we can get.

                                                     

 

 

 

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I am a longtime hot tea fan. For decades, anytime has been tea time for me. While others order a different favorite brew, as I do occasionally, I prefer black tea. Now comes evidence of my reward for my beverage choice. As little as one cup per day may improve health.

Tea contains flavonoids which have antioxidant properties. Flavonoids come from a broad category of non-nutritive phytochemicals found only in plants. These substances help to maintain health in varied ways. Other familiar phytochemicals include carotenoids, isoflavones, phenolic acids, and many more. It is estimated that hundreds of phytochemicals are yet to be identified. Tea has one of the highest concentrations of flavonoids of any plant. The type and amount in tea varies depending on several factors.

While antioxidants are in a different category, some phytochemicals have antioxidant properties, meaning they can help prevent or delay damage to cells and tissues. Antioxidants are found in both plant and animal sources.

Green tea has more of the flavonoid called catechins. Black tea, which has been fermented or oxidized, contains more of the flavonoids theaflavins and thearubigins. Both are water-soluble and readily absorbed into the body. For maximum concentration of flavonoids, steep tea for at least one minute. The longer the brew time, the higher the concentration of flavonoids and increased health benefits.

How is tea effective in health promotion? Research shows several conditions affected by flavonoids and perhaps other unidentified phytochemicals.

  • Heart disease: Tea drinkers may be more than one-third less likely to have a heart attack. Calcium deposits are linked to heart disease and other cardiovascular events. Buildup of these deposits, associated with plaque development in coronary arteries, is less in those who drink tea.
  • Dementia: Older adults with high levels of calcium plaques in their arteries are more likely to develop dementia earlier than those without calcium buildup. As in heart disease, tea seems to decrease the accumulation.
  • Neurological conditions: Antioxidants in tea have possible neuroprotective agents and may prove to reduce risks for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Other diseases: Researchers have found favorable, but not conclusive, evidence of lower risks of skin disease, cancer, excessive weight, and other maladies in tea drinkers.

But is it the tea or something else? Although researchers have not found a direct relationship, tea drinkers tend to live healthier lifestyles. Whatever current and future findings, tea is a wholesome, inexpensive drink that contributes to a healthy diet.

Drink up!

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I love a cup of hot tea throughout the day. Not only iclip arts it refreshing, it’s healthy. Like 78 percent of the world’s tea drinkers, I prefer black tea. While it, too, provides nutrients that benefit health, greater amounts are found in green tea. What is the difference?

All teas, except herbal teas, come from the dried leaves of the camellia sinensis bush. Fermentation (oxidation) determines the type of tea. Black tea is the most oxidized followed by oolong. Green tea remains unoxidized. It has about half the amount of caffeine (20-45 mg per 8-ounce cup) as black tea.

Several health benefits may be associated with green tea, but in most cases, more research is needed to confirm. The polyphenols in green tea are thought responsible for its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcenogenic properties. Catechins, such as EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), are the major polyphenols in green tea.

Cancer: Green tea has decreased tumor growth in animal studies and may protect from ultra violet rays.It may have positive effects in preventing breast, bladder, ovarian, colorectal, esophageal, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancer.

People who live in countries with a high consumption of green tea have lower cancer risk. However, that doesn’t mean that green tea is totally responsible for this since results could relate to other lifestyle factors.

A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research reported that green tea may also help prevent oral cancer. Exposure to EGCG killed cancerous cells and strengthened normal cells. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not agree that green tea qualifies for health claims related to any type of cancer.

Heart Disease: Studies found that those who consumed large quantities of green tea (5 cups or more) were less likely to die from heart disease. While drinking 10 cups of green tea daily lowered cholesterol, one cup or less per day did not.

Weight loss: The amount of weight-loss contributed to green tea is minimal and not clinically significant.

Memory: Green tea seems to enhance memory and may improve mental alertness.

Other: The FDA has approved green tea ointment to treat genital warts.

Many questions remain about the health benefits of green tea. All indications are that it is a good addition to a healthy diet. If that’s your cup of tea—enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Who doesn’t enjoy a thoughtful remembrance from that special someone on Valentine’s Day? Sure, we’re delighted with red roses or drool over Godiva’s, but what better gift could you give your significant other than a healthy heart—your healthy heart?

February is American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons against cardiovascular disease. They recommend the following simple steps for optimum physical well-being.

  • Choose a variety of foods from all food groups each day in the following quantities (based on a 2000 calorie diet).
    • 6-8       Grains with at least half from whole grain sources
    • 4-5       Vegetables—including sufficient green and yellow varieties
    • 4-5       Fruits—especially those with high vitamin C levels
    • 2-3       Cooked lean meat, poultry, or seafood
    • 2-3       Fats/oils
    • Nuts, seeds, legumes, 4-5 servings per week.
  • Watch serving size. Many consume too many calories because they eat excessive amounts. Consider the following as a guide to portion control.
    • Grains:            dinner roll—Yo-yo; cereal—baseball; pasta—tennis ball
    • Vegetables:     green salad—baseball; cooked vegetable—small fist; potato—computer mouse
    • Fruits:              light bulb
    • Meats:              three ounces poultry, beef, or pork—deck of cards; fish—checkbook
    • Fats/oils:        1 tablespoon tub margarine—three thumb tips; two tablespoons salad dressing—shot glass
    • Nuts:               one-ounce—cupped palm of medium-sized hand
  • Curb the amount of nutrient-poor foods.
    • Choose less fatty or fried foods
    • Drink smaller amounts of beverages with added sugar
    • Strive to limit sodium to no more than 1,500 mgs per day
    • Reduce intake of trans-fats and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
    • Choose fat-free dairy products
  • Use as many calories as you take in. Remember that the only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you use. To maintain a healthy weight, balance the amount of calories you eat with appropriate activity to burn up those calories.

You have only one heart. Use these suggestions to help assure yours will be healthier to celebrate Valentines 2013.

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Nutrition-Center_UCM_001188_SubHomePage.jsp

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