The Healing Power of a Heart-Healthy Diet

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Too much added sugar —sugar that is put into foods, not the naturally occurring sugar found mainly in fruits and dairy—raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according a review in the journal Open Heart. This site is intended for informational purposes only and not to provide medical advice. In addition to their potential as stand-alone agents, a review of clinical studies investigating the use of supplements along with antidepressant medications including SSRI drugs such as fluoxetine and sertraline and tricyclic drugs such as amitriptyline found that SAMe, EPA from fish oil, methylfolate and vitamin D may increase the benefits of these drugs Sarris, Am J Psychiatry It is commonly used in making cheese. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Archived from the original on 13 October

So what is a medical food?

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

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Let's take a peek behind the curtain and see what's really going on, so you can see beyond the propaganda - and not be led astray. Due to the overprescribing of antibiotics and concerns about antibiotic resistance, health officials in England are proposing new guidelines promoting the use of honey as a first line of treatment for coughs. Despite their lack of effectiveness for Focusing too much on specific nutrients and not enough on overall dietary patterns can also harm your heart in the long run.

For example, a low-fat diet can be bad for your heart if you get there by eating lots of sugar and refined grains such as white bread and avoiding nuts, olive oil, and other fatty but heart-healthy foods. A true heart-healthy diet can be powerfully effective, says Walter Willett, M.

Follow these tips and the numbers will take care of themselves:. For a heart-healthy diet, make vegetables, fruits, whole grains , nuts, and beans the centerpieces of your meals, says Linda Van Horn, Ph.

Those foods contain heart-protective antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. Though eating more of each of those foods cuts heart disease risk some, an overall plant-based diet has an even greater effect. One study of about , adults found that people whose diets were 70 percent plants had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease over 12 years compared with those whose diets centered on meat and dairy.

That means eating beef, poultry, and pork occasionally or in small, 3- to 4-ounce portions—about the size of a deck of cards. Especially avoid processed meats , such as bacon, deli meat, and sausage. A review by Harvard researchers linked a daily serving, equal to one hot dog or two slices of bacon, to an increased risk of early death from heart disease and cancer.

Too much added sugar —sugar that is put into foods, not the naturally occurring sugar found mainly in fruits and dairy—raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according a review in the journal Open Heart. Limiting sugary beverages, the leading source of added sugars in the American diet, is key.

Having just one soda per day could raise diabetes risk by about 20 percent. Many fatty foods—avocados, fatty fish like salmon, nuts , seeds, and olive and other vegetable oils—are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Dietary Guidelines no longer limit how much of those fats you eat as long as you keep your total calories in check. But you should still try to avoid foods packed with saturated fat such as meat, cheese, and butter and trans fat in foods with partially hydrogenated oils.

Those foods cause your body to produce more cholesterol , the substance that gets deposited in your artery walls. The best bet, Willett says, is to swap saturated-fat-laden foods for those rich in unsaturated fats. A Harvard study found that substituting 5 percent of saturated fat in your diet with the unsaturated variety lowered heart disease risk by up to 25 percent, depending on the foods chosen.

On the other hand, risk remains high if you cut back on saturated fat but eat more sugary foods or refined grains such as white bread, white rice , and some cereals. Many people think they should completely avoid eggs because they are high in cholesterol, adding to the amount that your body produces on its own.

But new research shows that the cholesterol in food has a smaller impact on your overall cholesterol levels than once thought. For foods that are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat—such as eggs, lobster, and shrimp —a serving each day is fine. This article also appeared in the May issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Hallie Levine is an award-winning magazine and freelance writer who contributes to Consumer Reports on health and fitness topics.

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