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Archive for June, 2015

Inflammation. Yes inflammation is the real cause of heart disease. Specifically, inflammation in your artery walls is the real cause of heart disease.

What exactly is inflammation?

Simply put, inflammation is a mechanism your body has for self protection. The purpose of which is to remove harmful stimuli. This includes pathogens, irritants and damaged cells. There after, your body’s healing process can begin.

Inflammation kicks in when you get some sort of trauma (i.e. fall, punch, kick, etc), infection by pathogens (bacterial, viral), sunburn, etc. Pain, redness, swelling and radiating heat are all tell-tale signs of inflammation.

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So far, it sounds like inflammation is a vital part of our health.. So how does it cause heart disease?

Yes, inflammation is indeed an important part of your body’s immune response. One which is very necessary for its proper functioning.

What I’ve described above is actually ACUTE inflammation. Inflammation is supposed to be fast and short lasting. If you’ve ever twisted your ankle, you’d notice how fast it swells up and becomes inflamed. Your body’s inflammation response is not meant to be on all the time!

However that’s exactly the case when your body’s inflammation is chronic or systemic. Chronic inflammation is prolonged over time; lasting weeks, months, and perhaps even years. This chronic, smouldering inflammation is what’s slowly destroying your organs and your body’s ability to function optimally.

So what causes systemic or chronic inflammation?

So what’s causing your body to have chronic inflammation? The biggest culprits would be the recommended mainstream diet. This overloads your body with simple, highly processed carbs (i.e. sugar, flour, high fructose corn syrup, etc), coupled with excessive consumption of vegetable oils (like soybean, corn, sunflower) which are loaded with omega-6 oils. Omega-3 oils on the other hand are anti-inflammatory.

Another highly inflammatory food is trans fat (AKA hydrogenated fat). They are usually found in packaged foods, fast food, margarine, shortening and most peanut butter.

How does this translate to heart disease?

Ok, let’s start with refined carbs or sugar. The blood sugar in our body is regulated within a very narrow range. Extra molecules of sugar in your blood stream would attach itself to different proteins. This in turn causes minor injuries to your blood vessel wall.

If this happens once in a while, your body healing mechanism would be able to cope with it. However when you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, this repeated injury sets off a systemic/ chronic inflammation in your body.

How about trans fat and omega-6 oils?

Omega-6’s are actually essential for your body – they form part of our cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell. However, they must be in the correct balance with your omega-3 consumption (optimal ratio of 3:1).

If your diet consists of excessive omega-6 oils, your cell membrane starts to produce cytokines. Cytokines directly causes inflammation in your body. So if you have too much cytokines floating around in your body, this causes your body to have systemic inflammation.

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Wait a minute, what about cholesterol, how does that come into play?

So here’s the question, why do you find a buildup of cholesterol in your blood vessels? It might help to consider the role cholesterol plays in your body. Cholesterol is actually sent by your body’s healing mechanism to protect sites that are damaged by inflammation.

This means that if you have too much cholesterol built up in your arteries, the root cause is actually chronic inflammation.

An analogy for this would be to blame the firemen for causing the fires, because they are always to be found at the sites of fire. But this is our health at risk, we can’t afford to be treating the symptom while ignoring the root cause.

So what can you do?

> Cut out or at least reduce your intake of inflammatory foods (this includes refined carbs, sugar, trans fat, high omega-6 vegetable oils)
> Avoid foods you’re allergic to. Common ones that people are intolerant towards are gluten and dairy.
> Move around more. So maybe take the stairs or walk up the escalator. Regular exercise helps your body reduce inflammation. It also improves your immune function, corrects & prevents insulin resistance, strengthens your heart health and much more.
> Supplement with omega-3 oil and vitamin D. They’re both anti-inflammatory for your body.

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People who practice oil pulling absolutely swear by the great benefits oil pulling has done to their oral health, such as brightening their teeth, treating bleeding gums and gingivitis.

And indeed the technique of oil pulling or oil swishing has been with us for a long time and is a traditional folk remedy that was mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine for oral health. There has been a very little clinical research, mostly in India, that have suggested that it may reduce oral plaque, bad breath, and gingivitis. This technique didn’t break into mainstream alternative medicine until a naturopath and nutritionist named Bruce Fife wrote about it in his 2008 book Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing.

This technique involves the use of cold pressed oils to pull harmful bacteria and other organisms out of the mouth, tongue, teeth and gums. Sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil are the most recommended oils. Other oils such as extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed have been used too. In any case, using high quality organic oil into the mouth is critical to the effectiveness of this practice. The role of the oil is to pull out toxins from the saliva and acts like an antiseptic mouth wash.

The practice of oil pulling itself is very simple:

Take about 2 tablespoons of oil when you wake up in the morning and before you eat anything. Swish the oil around your mouth, teeth, gums and tongue for about 15-20 minutes (yes, this is not a mistake – you can do it while you prepare yourself for the morning to come, while in the shower, watch TV, or while doing work around the house to help pass the time). During that time the oil will have changed its color to whiter or yellowish color. Don’t swallow the oil, as the whole aim is to get rid of toxins, so if you swallow any oil, you put the toxins back into your body. After 20 minutes spit all the oil out (it is recommended not to dispose the oil in the sink drain or the toilet, as the oil accumulates and can clog the pipes). After spiting all the oil, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and brush your teeth as usual and floss. After this is done, you can drink and eat as usual.

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Top 9 Biggest Lies About Dietary Fat and Cholesterol

By Kris Gunnars |

The areas of nutrition and disease prevention are full of incompetence.

We have been wrongly advised to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol, despite no evidence of harm.

Here are the top 9 biggest lies, myths and misconceptions about dietary fat and cholesterol.

  1. A Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet is The Optimal Human Diet

Back in 60s and 70s, many prominent scientists believed that saturated fat was the main cause of heart disease, by raising the “bad” cholesterol in the blood.

This idea was the cornerstone of the low-fat diet.

Because of a few bad studies and misguided political decisions, this diet was recommended to all Americans in the year 1977.

However, there wasn’t a single study on this diet at the time. The American public became participants in the largest uncontrolled experiment in history.

This experiment didn’t turn out very well and we are still suffering the consequences. This graph shows how the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the low-fat guidelines came out:

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The diabetes epidemic followed soon after.

Of course, a graph like this doesn’t prove anything. Correlation does not equal causation.

But it seems plausible that the low-fat recommendations made things worse because people started eating less of healthy foods like meat, butter and eggs, while eating more processed foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Even though there was little evidence at the time, the low-fat diet has actually been thoroughly studied in the past few years and decades.

It was put to the test in the biggest controlled trial in nutrition history, the Women’s Health Initiative.

In this study, 48,835 postmenopausal women were split into two groups. One group ate a low-fat diet (with the whole grains and all that) while the other group continued to eat “normally.”

After a period of 7.5-8 years, the low-fat group weighed only 0.4 kg (1 lb) less than the control group and there was no difference in the rate of heart disease or cancer between groups.

Other huge studies also found no advantages for the low-fat diet.

But it doesn’t end there, unfortunately… the low-fat diet recommended by most nutrition organizations is not only ineffective, it may even be downright harmful.

In multiple human studies, the low-fat diet has actually made some important risk factors worse, raising triglycerides, lowering HDL (the good) cholesterol and making the LDL particles smaller.

Despite miserable results in the studies, many nutritionists all over the world continue to recommend the low-fat diet that is hurting more people than it helps.

Bottom Line: There is no evidence that low-fat diets have any benefits. They do not cause weight loss in the long-term or reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Some studies show that they may even cause harm.

  1. Cholesterol Rich Foods (Like Eggs) Are Bad For You

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Nutrition professionals have had remarkable success with demonizing perfectly healthy foods.

Probably the worst example of that is eggs, which are among the healthiest foods on the planet.

Just think about it… the nutrients in an egg are enough to turn a single fertilized cell into an entire baby chicken.

Even so… because eggs contain large amounts of cholesterol, they were believed to cause heart disease.

However, studies actually show that the cholesterol in the diet does NOT raise the bad cholesterol in the blood. Eggs raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and are not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

What we’re left with is an incredibly healthy food… loaded with vitamins, minerals and powerful nutrients that are important for the eyes and brain.

Keep in mind that almost all the nutrients are found in the yolk… the white is nothing but protein. Telling people to ditch the yolks may be just be the most ridiculous nutrition advice in history.

Bottom Line: Eggs were demonized because of the high amount of cholesterol, but new studies show that they don’t raise cholesterol in the blood or contribute to heart disease. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.

  1. Your Total and LDL Cholesterol Levels Are Good Indicators of Heart Attack Risk

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Probably the biggest mistake in modern medicine is focusing too much on Total and LDL cholesterol levels as indicators of heart attack risk.

Well… it is true that elevated levels of both are associated with increased risk.

But the whole picture is much more complicated than that.

Total cholesterol actually includes lots of things… including HDL, also known as the “good” cholesterol.

Having high HDL actually raises your Total cholesterol number.

LDL cholesterol isn’t just LDL either… there are subtypes.

We have the small, dense LDL particles (very bad) and then we have the large, fluffy LDL (good). The small particles are associated with heart disease, while the large ones are mostly benign.

Studies actually show that Total and LDL cholesterol are poor indicators of risk compared to other markers, like the Triglyceride:HDL ratio.

One study found that out of 231,986 patients hospitalized for heart disease, half of them actually had normal LDL levels!

There are also studies showing that high cholesterol can be protective. In old individuals, the higher the cholesterol, the lower your risk of heart disease.

Not to mention that cholesterol levels that are too low are actually associated with increased risk of death… from other causes, like cancer and suicide.

Despite the weak predictive value of Total and LDL cholesterol, people with elevated numbers are often instructed to lower cholesterol by any means necessary… including a low-fat diet (which doesn’t work) and statin drugs.

Right now, millions of people all around the world are taking cholesterol lowering drugs without needing them, unnecessarily suffering the risk of serious side effects.

Bottom Line: Total and LDL cholesterol levels are actually quite poor markers of heart disease risk. Many people are being unnecessarily medicated because doctors tend to focus on these numbers.

  1. Processed Seed- and Vegetable Oils Are Healthy

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For some very strange reason, processed seed- and vegetable oils became recognized as health foods.

Humans only started consuming them about a 100 years ago, because we didn’t have the technology to process them until then.

Yet, somehow the nutrition geniuses figured that these would somehow be very healthy for humans and certainly better than the “dangerous” saturated fats.

These oils, which include soybean, corn and cottonseed oils, are very high in polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids, which are harmful in excess and can contribute to inflammation.

Despite these oils being recommended to reduce heart disease, there are actually multiple studies showing that they increase the risk.

In a study that looked at common cooking oils on the U.S. market, they found that 0.56% to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were highly toxic trans fats!

However… these oils are actually recommended by the beloved organizations that are supposed to be in charge of protecting our health.

This is one example of where blindly following the conventional nutritional wisdom can put you in an early grave.

Bottom Line: Processed seed- and vegetable oils are very unhealthy, loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats that can contribute to disease.

  1. Saturated Fat Raises Your Bad Cholesterol and Causes Heart Disease

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The “war on saturated fat” has been a miserable failure.

It was initially based on flawed studies, but somehow became public policy (with disastrous consequences).

The worst part is… the governments and health organizations have yet to change their position despite overwhelming evidence that they’ve been wrong all along.

Actually, saturated fat doesn’t really raise LDL that much. The effect is weak and inconsistent and appears to depend on the individual.

When saturated fat does affect LDL, it changes the particles from small, dense (very, very bad) to Large LDL, which is mostly benign.

Saturated fat also raises HDL cholesterol, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

If anything, saturated fats actually improve the lipid profile, NOT the other way around.

In the past few years, many massive studies have examined the link between saturated fat and heart disease risk.

One of these studies included 347,747 participants and looked at data from 21 studies. The conclusion: there is no evidence that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.

Many other studies confirm these findings. Saturated fat is harmless.

The truth is… saturated fat never has been and never will be proven to cause heart disease, because it simply isn’t true.

Bottom Line: Despite decades of anti-fat propaganda, saturated fat has never been proven to cause heart disease. In fact, saturated fat improves some of the most important risk factors for heart disease.

  1. Saturated Fats and Trans Fats Are Similar

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Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically modified to be more solid and have a longer shelf life.

They are also known as partially hydrogenated fats.

The manufacturing process is very disgusting… involving high pressure, high heat, a metal catalyst and hydrogen gas.

The fact that anyone thought these nasty fats would be suitable for human consumption is baffling.

Some of the major health organizations have started to confuse people by grouping trans fats together with saturated fats, calling them the “bad fats”.

However… like I outlined above, saturated fat is completely harmless, but the same can NOT be said for trans fats.

Trans fats are highly toxic and can cause insulin resistance, inflammation and significantly raise the risk of serious diseases like heart disease.

Even though consumption has gone down, trans fats are still found in processed foods and the FDA still categorizes them as “Generally Regarded as Safe” (GRAS).

If you want to avoid chronic disease… then eat your butter, meat and coconut oil, but avoid trans fats as if your life depended on it (it does).

Bottom Line: Trans fats resemble saturated fat in consistency and shelf life, but the chemical composition is still very different. While saturated fats are harmless, trans fats are highly toxic and should be avoided.

  1. Eating Fat Makes You Fat and High-Fat Diets Are Dangerous

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Fat is the stuff that lodges under our skin and makes us look soft and puffy.

Therefore, eating more fat should make us store more of it. You are what you eat, right?

Well, it actually isn’t that simple.

Even though fat has more calories per gram compared to protein and carbs, foods that are naturally high in fat are very fulfilling and hard to overeat.

In fact, studies on diets that are high in fat (and low in carbs) show that these diets cause more weight loss than diets that are low in fat.

Low-carb, high-fat diets also lead to all sorts of other benefits… increased HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, more abdominal fat loss and improved size of LDL particles.

Despite this, many nutrition professionals still have the audacity to call low-carb dietsharmful, then continue to peddle the failed low-fat diet that has been proven, time and time again, to be completely ineffective.

Bottom Line: Despite fat having more calories per gram than carbs or protein, studies show that high-fat (and low-carb) diets actually lead to more weight loss than low-fat diets.

  1. Processed Margarine is Better Than Natural Butter

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Because of the war on saturated fat, butter became recognised as an unhealthy food.

Food manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and started producing butter replicates like margarine.

Most margarines contain large amounts of processed vegetable oils, often with trans fats added to the mix.

It is hard to imagine how people could think that processed, factory made margarine would be healthier than butter, which is completely natural and humans have been eating for a long time.

The studies also do NOT support the idea that margarine is healthier than butter. In the Framingham Heart Study, margarine was associated with an increased heart disease risk compared to butter:

Many other studies have looked at high-fat dairy products and found no evidence that they contribute to any disease… in fact, high fat dairy is associated with a lower risk of obesity.

Despite all the fear mongering, high fat dairy products like butter are extremely healthy, especially if they are derived from grass-fed cows.

Bottom Line: Margarine is an unhealthy fake food produced in factories, usually containing trans fats and processed vegetable oils. Butter is a much healthier choice, especially if it comes from grass-fed cows. 

  1. Processed Low-Fat Foods Are Healthy Options

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Because of the ridiculous low-fat advice, food manufacturers removed the fat from some of their foods.

But there was a major problem… natural foods taste terrible without the fat.

The food manufacturers realized this and added a whole bunch of sugar to compensate for the missing fat.

For this reason, most “low fat” foods are actually loaded with sugar, which is seriously harmful.

If a food has “low fat” or “diet” on the label, then you will probably find sugar, corn syrup and various artificial chemicals on the ingredients list.

However, sales of these foods have skyrocketed because many nutrition professionals still advise people to eat them… even though the “normal fat” alternatives are much healthier!

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