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3 Important Benefits of Flax Seeds

Posted by on Anti-Aging, Anti-aging, Antioxidents, Blood Pressure, Bloodsugar, Body fat, Bone density, bone loss, Diabetes, Flaxseeds, General Health, General Health, Glucose, Green tea, Happiness, HDL, HDL Level, Health, Health Risk | 0 comments

 

One of the impressive health benefits of flax seeds is the ability to decrease blood pressure (Rodriguez-Leyva D, et.al., 2013).

In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, 30 g of flax seeds daily for 6 months reduced the systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure with 7 mm Hg.

 This is as good as some blood pressure medications, and instead of side-effects, you get even additional benefits.

13 g of flax seeds daily has shown to decrease blood glucose and insulin and improve insulin sensitivity in obese individuals with pre-diabetes (Hutchins AM, et.al., 2013).

Flax seeds can also lower cholesterol. 

In just 7 days a drink made of flax seeds lowered total cholesterol by 12% and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) 15% (Kristensen M, et.al., 2012).

Even if many people are not aware of these health benefits, it’s been known for a long time that flax seeds can reduce total cholesterol, LDL and decrease the blood glucose after a meal (Cunnane SC, et.al., 1993).

 

It is very important to keep the blood glucose in a good range even after a meal, it is not enough to only have good fasting blood glucose.

I recommend grinding 2 tablespoons of flax seeds in a coffee grinder and put them in a glass with water, stir it and drink it thick. You can of course also sprinkle it on food, like a salad if you prefer.

 

References

Cunnane, S. C., Ganguli, S., Menard, C., Liede, A. C., Hamadeh, M. J., Chen, Z. Y., … & Jenkins, D. J. (1993). High α-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): some nutritional properties in humansBritish Journal of Nutrition69(2), 443-453.

Hutchins, A. M., Brown, B. D., Cunnane, S. C., Domitrovich, S. G., Adams, E. R., & Bobowiec, C. E. (2013). Daily flaxseed consumption improves glycemic control in obese men and women with pre-diabetes: a randomized study. Nutrition research33(5), 367-375.

Kristensen, M., Jensen, M. G., Aarestrup, J., Petersen, K. E., Søndergaard, L., Mikkelsen, M. S., & Astrup, A. (2012). Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but the magnitude of the effect depends on food typeNutrition & Metabolism9(1), 8.

Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Weighell, W., Edel, A. L., LaVallee, R., Dibrov, E., Pinneker, R., … & Pierce, G. N. (2013). Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive PatientsNovelty and Significance. Hypertension62(6), 1081-1089.

Reasons we get deposits in the arteries, and how to reverse it.

Posted by on Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular disease & waist-hip ratio, Cholesterol, HDL Level, Heart disease, Inflammation, Waist circumference | 0 comments

 


Several factors contribute to atherosclerosis (deposits in the arteries).

Initially the endothelium which is the inner lining of the blood vessel wall is injured. This can be caused by substances in cigaret smoke, damage from elevated glucose levels(Wang J, et al. 2014), chronic inflammation(Montecucco F, Mach F, 2008), oxidized LDL cholesterol(Trpkovic A, et al. 2014), elevated blood pressure(Hollander W,1976) and oxidative stress(Alexander RW,1995).

More and more research is now documenting chronic low grade inflammation as a major risk factor.

When the endothelium is injured inflammation is triggered and white blood cells are attracted to the area together with platelets to repair the damage. Small LDL cholesterol particles which becomes oxidized together with clotting substances (fibrinogen) and other chemicals will bind together at the site and get buried in the vascular wall (endothelium). A fibrous cap is formed on top which can work for a while, even if it obstructs part of the artery, as long as this fibrous cap does not rupture. If it rupture, this highly inflammatory mix forms a clot, and if it is big enough, it may completely obstruct the blood flow and result in a heart attack.

How do you know if you are at risk for atherosclerosis (deposits in the arteries)?

You can have lab tests done and check your fasting blood glucose, Hemoglobin A1C, hs-CRP(an inflammatory marker), cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides. You can also check LDL and HDL particle size as well as LDL particle number, and also other things if you want to be really thorough. Checking for inflammation and how many LDL particles you have in your blood are emerging as some of the more important things you should check for.

There is however also a very easy way to get an idea about the thickness of the inner layers of the the carotid artery, the intima-media. That’s the artery going up to your brain.

You can measure your waist and divide that with your height. A waist to height ratio of more than 0.5 has been found to be significantly associated with an increase in carotid intima-media thickness(Ren C, et al. 2014). This was documented  in a fairly large study of 3381 participants were the carotid artery intima-media thickness was measured with high resolution ultrasound and correlating it with waist to height measurements.

Most of us have a certain amount of buildup in the arteries.

The good news is that you can do a lot to prevent atherosclerosis and even reverse it. Research has shown that by eating the right type of food, exercising and incorporating meditation, it has been possible to reverse atherosclerosis(OrnishD, et al. 1990).

I will explain more how food can reverse atherosclerosis in the next article, but if you want to get started right away, here is a link to a program which will explain and show you how to eat by incorporating the information in the studies producing the best results.

 

 

Alexander RW1. Theodore Cooper Memorial Lecture. Hypertension and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress and the mediation of arterial inflammatory response: a new perspective. Hypertension. 1995 Feb;25(2):155-61
Hollander W. Role of hypertension in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol. 1976 Nov 23;38(6):786-800.
Montecucco F1, Mach F. New evidences for C-reactive protein (CRP) deposits in the arterial intima as a cardiovascular risk factor. Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(2):341-9.
Ornish D1, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Armstrong WT, Ports TA, McLanahan SM, Kirkeeide RL, Brand RJ, Gould KL Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet. 1990 Jul 21;336(8708):129-33.
Ren C, Zhang J, Xu Y, Xu B, Sun W, Sun J, Wang T, Xu M, Lu J, Wang W, Bi Y, Chen Y. Association between carotid intima-media thickness and index of central fat distribution in middle-aged and elderly Chinese. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2014 Oct 30; 13:139. doi: 10.1186/s12933-014-0139-2.
Trpkovic A1, Resanovic I, Stanimirovic J, Radak D, Mousa SA, Cenic-Milosevic D, Jevremovic D, Isenovic ER. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein as a biomarker of cardiovascular diseases. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2014 Dec 24:1-16. [Epub ahead of print]
Wang J1, Wu J1, Zhang S2, Zhang L3, Wang C1, Gao X4, Zhou Y1, Wang A1, Wu S5, Zhao X6 Elevated fasting glucose as a potential predictor for asymptomatic cerebral artery stenosis: a cross-sectional study in Chinese adults. Atherosclerosis. 2014 Dec;237(2):661-5. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.10.083. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

What could be a common cause of both low back pain and cardiovascular disease?

Posted by on HDL Level, Heart disease, Low Back and Neck Pain, Lumbar disc degeneration | 0 comments


 

There can be many reasons why we develop low back pain. One of the reasons is inter-vertebral disc degeneration.

So how can a degenerated disc in the low back have anything in common with cardiovascular disease?

Think about it this way, and it will start to make some sense.

All tissue in the body needs adequate blood supply to provide nutrition for tissue regeneration. If the blood supply is compromised the tissue will start to degenerate.

The disc does not have direct blood supply, but is dependent on diffusion from blood vessels at the disc’s margins(Urban JP, et al. 2004).

When the lumbar arteries and the middle sacral artery were evaluated it was found that people with one or more occluded/narrowed arteries were 8.5 times more likely to have suffered from chronic low back pain than were those without such findings(Kauppila LI,1997).

Stenosis of the lumbar/middle sacral arteries were found on average five years earlier than atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.

Research has also documented a connection between cardiovascular risk factors and low back symptoms.

Disc degeneration was found to be associated with occluded lumbar/middle sacral arteries, and patients with above normal LDL cholesterol levels had more neurological symptoms (Kauppila LI, 2004).

Patients with a symptomatic herniated lumbar disc have shown significant higher triglyceride levels and higher total cholesterol levels than patients without disc herniation (Longo LG,et al. 2011).

Inadequate blood supply feeding the inter-vertebral discs results in earlier disc degeneration, and inadequate blood supply to the heart can result in a heart attack or heart failure.

Why do we get atherosclerosis (deposits in the arteries)?

 I will explain more about that in the next article, and I will also tell you what you can do to help prevent it.

 
 
 
Urban JP1, Smith S, Fairbank JC. Nutrition of the intervertebral disc. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Dec 1;29(23):2700-9.
Kauppila LI1. Prevalence of stenotic changes in arteries supplying the lumbar spine. A postmortem angiographic study on 140 subjects. Ann Rheum Dis. 1997 Oct;56(10):591-5.
Kauppila LI1, Mikkonen R, Mankinen P, Pelto-Vasenius K, Mäenpää I. MR aortography and serum cholesterol levels in patients with long-term nonspecific lower back pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Oct 1;29(19):2147-52.
Longo UG1, Denaro L, Spiezia F, Forriol F, Maffulli N, Denaro V. Symptomatic disc herniation and serum lipid levels .Eur Spine J. 2011 Oct;20(10):1658-62. doi: 10.1007/s00586-011-1737-2. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

What can an avocado a day do for you?

Posted by on Fat, HDL Level, Heart disease | 0 comments

A fresh avocado cut in halfAvocados contain a lot of fat, including a certain type of fat called monounsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial. How beneficial are they?
The reviewed research compared a low fat diet (24% fat) with two moderate fat diets (34% fat) (Wang L, et al. 2015). The difference between the two moderate fat diets was that one included one fresh Haas avocado a day, while the other one included high oleic acid canola oil to match the fatty acid content of one avocado.

All of the diets provided similar foods except there was more whole grain bread in the low fat diet to make up for the calorie difference between the two moderate fat diets.

This was a randomized, crossover, controlled trial which means that the same participants ate all the diets, but at different times with a washout period in between.
The 45 participant were overweight or obese and ate each diet for 5 weeks.

They were tested for several cardio-metabolic risk factors and the results were very interesting.
The diet which included an avocado a day provided additional lowering of LDL-cholesterol, LDL-P (LDL-particle number) and non-HDL-cholesterol compared with the other two diets. LDL-P is considered to be a more accurate assessment of cardiovascular risk. The amount of the small LDL-cholesterol particles should not be too high.
It was also interesting that the other moderate-fat diet provided more benefits than the low fat diet which included more whole grains. So much for the goodness of whole grains.

It is also worth noticing that in the two moderate fat diets, 6-7% of energy from saturated fat was replaced by mono unsaturated fatty acids and in the low fat diet 6-7 percent of the saturated fat was replaced by grains.

 

 

Wang L, Bordi PL, Fleming JA, Hill AM, Kris-Etherton PM. Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial.  J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Jan 7;4(1). pii: e001355. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001355.

 

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Low HDL cholesterol associated with poor memory

Posted by on Cholesterol, Diet, Fat, Fish Oil, HDL, HDL Level, Low glycemic meals, Memory | 0 comments

HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol which protects against harmful buildup in the arteries.

It is considered good to have high HDL since it can provide some protection against cardiovascular disease.

It is interesting that low levels of HDL have now been found to also be associated with poor memory (Sigh-Manoux A, et al. 2008.) The study referred to here included 3,673 male and female participants with an average age between 55-61 years. When the memory was evaluated, it was documented that a decrease in HDL over the five year follow up period was associated with a decline in memory.

This is another good reason for keeping your HDL level high. You can increase your HDL cholesterol by incorporating low glycemic index meals, avoiding trans fat and including omega 3, fat like fish oil in your diet, and also by exercising regularly.

 

 

Singh-Manoux A, et al. Low HDL cholesterol is a risk factor for deficit and decline in memory in midlife: the Whitehall II study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Aug;28(8):1556-62. Epub 2008 Jun 30.