Top American Cardiologist recommends Vegan Diet for Heart Health

CardioBuzz: Vegan Diet, Healthy Heart?

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In this guest blog, Kim A. Williams, MD, a cardiologist at Rush University in Chicago and the next president of the American College of Cardiology, explains why he went vegan and now recommends it to patients.

Physicians want to influence their patients to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health, but sometimes the roles are reversed and we are inspired by patients. It was a patient’s success reversing an alarming condition that motivated me to investigate a vegan diet.

Just before the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) annual meeting in 2003 I learned that my LDL cholesterol level was 170. It was clear that I needed to change something. Six months earlier, I had read a nuclear scan on a patient with very-high-risk findings — a severe three-vessel disease pattern of reversible ischemia.

The patient came back to the nuclear lab just before that 2003 ACC meeting. She had been following Dean Ornish, MD’s program for “Reversing Heart Disease,” which includes a plant-based diet, exercise, and meditation. She said that her chest pain had resolved in about 6 weeks, and her scan had become essentially normalized on this program.

When I got that LDL result, I looked up the details of the plant-based diet in Ornish’s publications — 1- and 5-year angiographic outcomes and marked improvement on PET perfusion scanning — small numbers of patients, but outcomes that reached statistical significance.

I thought I had a healthy diet — no red meat, no fried foods, little dairy, just chicken breast and fish. But a simple Web search informed me that my chicken-breast meals had more cholesterol content (84 mg/100 g) than pork (62 mg/100 g). So I changed that day to a cholesterol-free diet, using “meat substitutes” commonly available in stores and restaurants for protein. Within 6 weeks my LDL cholesterol level was down to 90.

I often discuss the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet with patients who have high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, or coronary artery disease. I encourage these patients to go to the grocery store and sample different plant-based versions of many of the basic foods they eat. For me, some of the items, such as chicken and egg substitutes, were actually better-tasting.

There are dozens of products to sample and there will obviously be some that you like and some that you don’t. One of my favorite sampling venues was the new Tiger Stadium (Comerica Park) in Detroit, where there are five vegan items, including an Italian sausage that is hard to distinguish from real meat until you check your blood pressure – vegan protein makes blood pressures fall.

In some parts of country and some parts of world, finding vegan restaurants can be a challenge. But in most places, it is pretty easy to find vegan-friendly options with a little local Web searching. Web searching can also help with the patients who are concerned about taste or missing their favorite foods. I typically search with the patient and quickly email suggestions.

Interestingly, our ACC/American Heart Association (AHA) prevention guidelines do not specifically recommend a vegan diet, as the studies are very large and observational or small and randomized, such as those on Ornish’s whole food, plant-based diet intervention reversing coronary artery stenosis. The data are very compelling, but larger randomized trials are needed to pass muster with our rigorous guideline methodology.

Wouldn’t it be a laudable goal of the American College of Cardiology to put ourselves out of business within a generation or two? We have come a long way in prevention of cardiovascular disease, but we still have a long way to go. Improving our lifestyles with improved diet and exercise will help us get there.

CardioBuzz is a blog for readers with an interest in cardiology.

Credits: Kim A. Williams MD, medpagetoday.com

Natural sources of Vitamin B12 for vegetarians

Dried Purple Laver

The main sources of vitamin B12 are animal foods.

People who are vegetarians are at risk of becoming vitamin B12 deficient, especially if they have other factors that can cause

  • increased demand such as during pregnancy or
  • impaired absorption of the vitamin, such as after stomach or gut surgery, from long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, due to malabsorption or small bowel bacterial overgrowth, as a result of alcoholism or malnutrition due to various causes

A new study from Japan looked in detail at the various sources of vitamin B12 for vegetarians. The researchers found that the highest concentration is found in:

dried purple laver, an edible seaweed called Nori in Japan, Zicai in China and Gim in Korea

Read more in their article published in the peer review journal Nutrients.

The full article can be accessed for free here:

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/6/5/1861

Nori is easy to use. Sprinkle it over salad or make sushi are two ways to eat it raw. It’s better not to toast it as it reduces the concentration of vitamin B12.

Remember: Eat Real Food. It is always better than taking supplements.

 

“Hellenic Dancing – an ancient form of art to warm the soul”

“The dance, of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul.

Dancing is divine in its nature and is the gift of the gods” Plato

Hellenic folk dancing is a form of art still very much alive in the 21st century.

Some of the dances performed today originate in the very distant past, hundreds and thousands of years ago.

They often have a story to tell and, together with the music, they touch the heart and soul of people.

Dances carry the memories of societies and equally shape society and culture.

In this successful event we talked about dancing as an ancient form of art and communication.

Afterwards we took part in one of the most ancient sacred Greek dances,

symbolising in slow movement the efforts of Theseus to get out of the Labyrinth.

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Nature – the Primary Medicine for Health & Way of Being

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‘Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature Be Your Teacher’. William Worsdworth’s call to be immersed in Nature comes with a promise of a deeper understanding of life and of ourselves. In this Health-Being meeting we will explore what we can learn from Nature for our Health and our Being, but also how in the modern world, our relationship with her has created problems and challenges that we cannot afford to ignore.

Some say: ‘what use is Nature in the 21st century’? We simply reply that: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the soil in which we grow our food determine our existence. Nature can provide us with many products to sustain and support our physical, emotional and spiritual balance. What did Hippocrates mean when he wrote: ‘a physician is first and foremost Nature’s helper’? What natural resources can we use safely to help ourselves in times of good or ill health? And what can we give back to our Mother Nature, so that she doesn’t get emptied from the energies that we so much depend on? How can we make sure that we use and not abuse our natural environment given the inextricable connection it has with human health?

If we look and listen carefully to Nature’s geometry and language, we will understand everything better. This isn’t just a ‘trend’. Our future and the future of our children depends on it.

“Health and Nature”

You are invited to the June Health Being Event.

Number of places are limited so please let us know if you are coming by sending an e-mail to:

healthbeinginstitute@gmail.com

When? Saturday 7th of June, 11:30-13.00

Where? Society of Friends Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, WC2N 4EA, London

Join like-minded people and come to a discussion on the theme of:

‘Health and Nature’

‘Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature Be Your Teacher’. William Worsdworth’s call to be immersed in Nature comes with a promise of a deeper understanding of life and of ourselves. In this Health-Being event we will explore what we can learn from Nature for our Health and our Being, but also how in the modern world, our relationship with her  has created problems and challenges that we cannot afford to ignore.

Some say: ‘what use is Nature in the 21st century’? We simply reply that: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the soil in which we grow our food determine our existence. Nature can provide us with many products to sustain and support our physical, emotional and spiritual balance. What did Hippocrates mean when he wrote: ‘a physician is first and foremost Nature’s helper’? What natural resources can we use safely to help ourselves in times of good or ill health? And what can we give back to our Mother Nature, so that she doesn’t get emptied from the energies that we so much depend on? How can we make sure that we use and not abuse our natural environment given the inextricable connection it has with human health?

If we look and listen carefully to Nature’s geometry and language, we will understand everything better. This isn’t just a ‘trend’. Our future and the future of our children depends on it.

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Health begins in the Gut – Bacteria help to ‘put out fires in our body’

Bacteria who live with us in our gut & lungs and on our skin affect our health.
A new study has shown how a type of friendly bacteria in our gut tell our immune system to ‘wake up’ and create an anti-inflammatory response.
This means that our gut bacteria help our immune system to keep our body healthy, free of inflammation i.e. ‘fires’ which irritate it.Such inflammations can lead to chronic diseases

http://bit.ly/1f3uegl
http://bit.ly/1ifjypv

CELL-Gut microbes modulate anti-inflammatory response

Health & the Self: from Hippocrates to the 21st century

Health Being Institute is now on Meetup.
Join a great group of people and come to a public lecture on:
“Health & the Self: from Hippocrates to 21st century”

http://www.meetup.com/Health-Being/

When? Saturday 5th of April 1:30-3:00pm
Where? Society of Friends Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, WC2N 4EA, London

In antiquity, from Greece to the Middle East, from India to China, there existed theories of health based on finding balance within the self and a respectful communion with Nature. Is 21st century medicine only concerned with curing disease by killing pathogens, removing tissue or tinkering with genes? Are ideas about the Self confined to psychiatry and religion? Have vital principles about health, which so interested our ancestors, been forgotten – overshadowed by the success of penicillin, the surgeon’s knife and gene therapy?

Everyone experiences periods of sickness affecting their Self, their body and mind. If we can’t help ourselves to get better we turn to doctors for help. We trust them to tell us what is wrong with our health. Their interpretations vary and so do their treatments. Over the millennia we have witnessed the development of medical theories from the East to the West in an attempt to manage the human organism. My talk will explore the essence of medicine focusing more on the Hippocratic tradition. Drawing on my research, I will highlight the Hippocratic method of distinguishing personal and lifestyle characteristics which predisposed to certain conditions, always relating them to the Environment in which the person lived. This method can inspire modern medicine to put again the individual at the centre of its attention and focus on the influence of the environment on the Self.

This meetup is for anyone of all ages interested in lifestyle and health – I look forward to meeting you.

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Latest talk (London) Be Active Against Cancer: Diet and Lifestyle Tips

The conditions in which we live and work, and our 21st century lifestyles, influence our health and quality of life, increasing the risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer. Although cancer is a difficult and emotive subject, talking about it can improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level. Many people know of the usual risk factors. Tobacco use is the most common risk factor, as well as alcohol which current trends show an increase in consumption which results in many more cancers, even more so in women. Overweight and obesity is increasing globally at an alarming rate, including among children and adolescents. Also of concern is the high proportion of overweight people living in low resource settings (two-thirds of the global total). Overweight and obesity is also strongly linked to increased risks of bowel, breast, uterine, pancreatic, oesophagus, kidney and gallbladder cancers. Rising rates of obesity will lead to increased cancer rates unless policies and actions are taken to improve people’s diets and levels of physical activity.

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, I am going to dispel the myth that there is nothing we can do about cancer. Research shows that, with a healthier diet and lifestyle a third of the most common cancers can be prevented. I will discuss lifestyle and food choices that can help prevent cancer.

You can join me either at East Sheen Library on the 4th of February at 2:30 or at East Sheen Primary School on the 12th of February at 6pm.

Be active against cancer School talk copy

Be active against cancer copy