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Healthy Food for a great healthy life

Public Health Information.

A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated how healthy food diet, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors for chronic disease contribute to deaths in the USA. Although these are statistics from the USA they will correlate to how healthy food diet, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors for chronic disease contribute to deaths in the UK.

The numbers of preventable and premature deaths each year in the USA are due to the following causes:

  • Smoking caused 467,000 premature deaths

  • High blood pressure caused 395,000 premature deaths

  • Overweight-obesity caused 216,000 premature deaths

  • Inadequate physical activity caused 191,000 premature deaths

  • High blood sugar caused 190,000 premature deaths

  • High LDL cholesterol caused 113,000 premature deaths

  • High dietary salt caused 102,000 premature deaths

  • Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids caused 84,000 premature deaths

  • High dietary trans fatty acids caused 82,000 premature deaths

  • Alcohol use caused 64,000 premature deaths

  • Low intake of healthy food, fruits and vegetables caused 58,000 premature deaths

  • Low dietary poly-unsaturated fatty acids caused 15,000 premature deaths

Apart from stopping smoking, the rest of the risk factors can be reduced through making changes to your diet, eating more healthy food and lifestyle. Find out how you can reduce your blood pressure, lose weight, reduce your blood sugar and cholesterol and increase your omega 3 intake through a nutritional therapy consultation with Steve Hines.

Important health news for women

The Nurses Health Study carried out by Harvard Medical School is a study that has followed over 150,000 nurses over the last 30 years looking at their healthy food diet and what diseases they suffer from. There are a number of surprising findings that have been established from this research.

  • As BMI increased the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones and type 2 diabetes, all steadily increased even among those in the “healthy” weight category.

  • Total fat in the diet is not linked to heart disease it’s about the type of fat consumed.

  • Women who ate the highest amount of trans fats were 50% more likely to die of heart disease, whereas women with the lowest consumption of trans fats and higher consumption of polyunsaturated fats had a 70% reduction in heart disease.

  • High fat diets do not increase the risk of cancer.

  • Increased dietary calcium intake among post-menopausal women is not protective against hip and wrist fractures.

  • A diet rich in red meat increases the risk of colon cancer.

  • A multivitamin and mineral that contains folic acid reduces the risk of colon cancer by 75%.

  • Women who drink 1-3 glasses of alcohol a week cut their risk of heart disease.

Most importantly this research established that adopting eating healthy foods and five simple behaviours could reduce the risk of heart disease by 83% in women.

Important health news for men

The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study that began in 1986 aimed to evaluate the impact of healthy food nutrition and lifestyle factors on men’s health. This all-male study was designed to complement the all-female Nurses' Health Study. Over 51,000 men have been surveyed every two years on topics like smoking, physical activity, and medications taken and how they relate to serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.

Here are some of the results:

  • Moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of heart attack

  • Weight gain and obesity are linked to higher risk of kidney stones

  • Coffee consumption cuts the risk of diabetes

  • Low-carb healthy food diets are more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets

  • Men can reduce the risk of stroke by eating healthy food and fish

  • Specific types of exercise can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease among men

  • Eating fish may reduce the risk of sudden death

  • Western dietary patterns are linked with a greater risk for type 2 diabetes

  • HEalthy food such as Green vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C reduces the risk of heart disease

  • Caffeine is linked to protection from Parkinson's disease

The Mediterranean diet

Lyon Diet Heart Study tested the effectiveness of the Mediterranean healthy food diet in people that had previously suffered a heart attack. After 4 years those that followed the Mediterranean diet had between 50-70% decreased risk of another heart attack, angina, stroke and death even though cholesterol levels did not change. 

Can a super meal save you from heart disease?

Perhaps it can. In 2003 doctors thought up a pill to reduce heart disease. This pill contained 6 compounds that were known to help reduce heart disease: 3 blood pressure medications, a statin, aspirin and folic acid. This “poly pill” was projected to reduce heart disease by 80%. However the costs and potential “cocktail” effects of the drugs used in such pills might not be a viable option for most people. 

Another group of researchers came up with a tastier, healthy food and cheaper concept - the polymeal. By simply eating a meal that contained the seven top heart healthy foods together on a daily basis could reduce heart disease by a further 75%. This equated to an extra 7 years of life for men and 5 years for women.

Top 10 ways to jump-start weight loss

  1. Eat protein at every meal, including breakfast. E.g. eggs, fish, meat, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, cheese and whey protein.

  2. Eliminate wheat and flour based products for the time being. And yes, that definitely includes bread and pasta.

  3. Eliminate “food products”. Ninety percent of what you eat should be food that could have been hunted, caught, gathered from the ground, plucked from a tree or grown.

  4. Reduce starch. When you do eat starches, choose from “real” carbohydrates. Best choices are oats, porridge, sweet potatoes, beans and legumes.

  5. Don’t eat unlimited amounts of fruit and be careful with the extra-sweet, extra-ripe variety. For now, keep fruits to two a day, and choose the low-sugar, high-fibre variety. Apples, pears, plums and especially berries all are good choices. Always eat fruit with something light like nuts or a little cheese. Lose the fruit juice.

  6. Reduce or eliminate dairy for the time being, especially cow's milk. Exceptions: reasonable amounts of cheese and occasional portions of yoghurt, but not the fat-free kind (it contains way too much sugar).

  7. Eliminate alcohol. You can always go back to moderate drinking later on if it works for you.

  8. Stop using vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower and corn. The supermarket kinds are highly refined, and oxidize easily when heated, contributing to arterial plaque.

  9. Worry less about the amount of fat you and pay more attention to the kind of fat you eat. The worst fats are fried foods; margarine and foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. The best fats are omega-3’s found in fish, fish oil, walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.

  10. Drink at least eight or more large glasses of pure water a day. Every day. No excuses.

Winter Season Supplements

Vitamin D
If you live north of 40-degree latitude (i.e. anywhere in the UK) the suns ultraviolet light is not strong enough to synthesise vitamin D in the skin during the winter. As people tend to get more colds and flu in the winter months there may be a correlation with vitamin D deficiency. The Canadian government are now looking at vitamin D as protection against swine flu. A 25(OH)D test costs about £40 and is a cheap functional marker of immune health. If you have low levels of vitamin D supplement with vitamin D. E-mail me to find out the best way to boost your vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is also extremely important for bone health, neurological health weight loss and autoimmune disorders. Unless you get a lot of exposure to sunlight or eat lots of oily fish chances are you are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C has anti-microbial and viracidal effects and has been shown to increase natural killer cell (immune cell) function by up to 200-400%.Take 1-4 gram of vitamin C a day.

Glutamine is the amino acid of the immune system and it is well known that blood levels of glutamine drop with infections. Take 1 scoop (10g) of glutamine every 1-2 hours in a glass of water if you feel yourself coming down with a cold.

Friendly bacteria in the gut set up a relationship with and boost the immune system. For example, a study from Pediatrics, July 2009, showed daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce incidence and duration of fever, rhinorrhea, cough and antibiotic use in children. If you have to take antibiotics this winter which kill bacteria – good or bad – take at least a 1 week course of high strength probiotics to re-establish friendly bacteria levels.

Research has shown the use of echinacea reduced the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half. Echinacea taken alongside vitamin C reduced getting a cold by 86%. When echinacea was used alone it reduced getting a cold by 65%. Take a good quality echinacea supplement. E-mail me to find out a good quality brand.