Dr. James Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN and I just finished a front page article for Communicating Food for Health Newsletter - a publication for health professionals who communicate nutrition and health education. I am always fascinated by the research I get to read.
The funny thing, is that research findings for what we need to do are almost always the same. Eat less meat/animal products, refined fat, refined carbohydrates/sugar and salt. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and some cold-water fatty fish. This works for lowering the risk for most diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, blood pressure, diabetes and many cancers.
The article we just finished was about the endothelium or inner lining of the arteries. Researchers are finding that cardiovascular disease starts with damage to the endothelium so it is prudent to keep it healthy. And guess what? Recommendations for the endothelium are no different than what we keep hearing over and over! I asked Dr. Kenney for a summary from the article he just cited as well as all the ones we have discussed to date and here is what he writes:
• Limit salt and high salt foods
• Limit total fat and especially saturated fat and trans fats
• Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies - each additional serving of fruits or vegetables consumed daily improves your ability of blood vessels to dilate. An extra 5 servings brings a 30% improvement!
• Limit animal products and especially ones high in cholesterol
• Choose whole grains more often, especially ones that are cooked and low in sodium/fat/sugar
• Eat beans/legumes more often
• Eat cold-water fatty fish 2-3x per week
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Don't smoke
• Consume alcohol in moderation
• Stay active
Dinner tonight was "endothelium friendly":
Open faced fish sandwich:
1 fillet of fish, microwave-baked
1 slice low-sodium whole grain toast
2 slices fresh farmer's market tomatoes
1 dollop lowfat mayonnaise
2 ears corn on the cob, boiled and kernels cut off and topped with 1/2 tsp lowfat margarine (compliments of the farmer's market)
2 cups leafy green salad with fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh mint tea - compliments of the farmer's market
Avoiding heart disease requires more than switching to turkey and chicken. Eating enough fruits and vegetables and avoiding excess salt and fat are also key. Great benefits are had by getting enough fruits and veggies!