Heart Health

Diet and Cardiovascular Health

Is diet relevant to cardiovascular fitness? An even more poignant question is: What is the relationship of diet to premature death due to cardiovascular disease?

The number one killer in America today is heart disease. Over half of Americans today die from a single malfunction: clogged arteries and the various disorders it causes. These include heart attacks, coronary and cerebral thrombosis, very high blood pressure, angina pectoris and heart failure.

It is unimaginable that there was a time in our recent history when this disease was unknown. Yet, coronary obstructions were not even a classification of death until 1912. As late as the 1930s, cardiovascular disease was not even known in the medical community, except by the most erudite specialists.

Signs of heart disease are showing up at an earlier and earlier age. Autopsy studies from young soldiers killed in Korea show that 77.3% had gross evidence of coronary arteriosclerosis. During the Vietnamese war, doctors continued to find widespread coronary damage in young Americans. Dr. SB Furnass, Director, of the Australian National University Health Service made this sobering observations: "While [coronary artery disease] may be an acceptable way to die in your 70s and later, it is far from acceptable in your 40s, which is when many of us are contracting it."

What causes our arteries to clog with plaque? One theory of arterial plaque build-up is this: Eat more unsaturated fats and have less cholesterol. This led to the manufacture of foods using oils that are "polyunsaturates." In many instances, these oils are first hydrogenated to make them semi-solids, as in margarine. But new evidence now indicates that hydrogenated polyunsaturated oils are just as bad for blood cholesterol as are saturated fats. Furthermore, earlier studies revealed that polyunsaturated oils cause cellular damage and immune suppression, promoting cancer.

Here is an interesting observation that supports the view that cholesterol may not be the culprit in heart disease. The Masai tribe of Central Africa has the highest saturated fat diet in the world, living on milk and meat. Autopsies show that the Masai experience the same thickening of artery walls that are seen in elderly Americans. The unique feature of the Masai people is their coronary vessels enlarge with age, so that the heart's circulation is not compromised by the thickening of the vessel walls.

What is the dietary key in all of this? No fat and low fat foods loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates lie at the center of the problem in cardiovascular disease. In support of the damage carbohydrates do, when the Masai add sugar and carbohydrates to their diet, they develop coronary artery disease.

Whenever rapid dietary change introduced refined carbohydrates, heart disease and diabetes began to spread approximately 20 years later. The refining of grains - particularly wheat - left these foods concentrated in carbohydrate calories and deficient in nutrients. Prolonged over-consumption of refined flour leads to obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Early man had a diet of lean meat, vegetation, fruit and seasonal grains. Wheat, grown naturally and seasonally (not cultivated), is considered to be the staff of life. Such wheat contains all nutrients - 39 vitamins and minerals. Today 75% of our diet consists of refined, cultivated grain products. In contrast to naturally grown wheat, refined wheat is stripped of all nutrition, then is 'enriched' with 4 B vitamins. This enriched flour, along with corn and sugar, predominate in our diet.

Sugar consumption increases cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, as well as causing in some people an over-insulin reaction. Did you know that sugar as a food did not exist until the 17th century? Sugar (along with alcohol) is not only nutrient-devoid, it is also nutrient-depleting. On average, each American consumes about 170lbs of sugar per year. The sugar bowl on our tables is not the worst culprit. Virtually every processed food contains sugar. The public is on to the dangers of sugar, but the food industry has steadily continued to disguise sugar and to put it into our food supply. An example of this is cheap, high-fructose corn syrup so common as a key ingredient in processed foods.

Yet, this is the diet of choice of the Western world, particularly America - hollow calories from carbohydrates and sugar. In other places in the world, where a Western diet is replacing more traditional cuisine, the same disease patterns experienced in North America and Europe are showing up.

Why is there so much refined carbohydrate in our diet, at the expense of vegetables, lean meat, fish and fruit? Refined foods are cheap to produce and are easy to distribute without spoilage. What's more, these hollow calories create their own market because they tend to be addictive.

What can help this dangerous trend in American health? Vitamins. Between 1970 and 1990, as vitamin sales increased over 400%, deaths from coronary artery disease fell by 35%.

Lab tests show that deficiencies of specific vitamins cause conditions conducive to heart disease. Some specific examples follow: Chromium deficiency is a causal factor in arteriosclerosis, determined as early as 1981 by Mertz. This deficiency is largely caused \because of the refining of flour and sugar, which removes all chromium. Of course, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee are implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. In part, this is due to chromium depletion. The cadmium contaminant in cigarette smoke (and sidestream smoke, as well) displaces chromium in the body. Other vitamins and minerals that are related to heart health include: B1, B6, magnesium, vitamin K and calcium.

It is my experience that congestive heart failure is reversible with proper nutrients, particularly natural B1 and CoQ10.

Protect your heart. Choose a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, and quality protein. Take a body-weight dosage of natural B vitamin complex. Eat no sugar and exercise. To obtain a personalized supplement program and have your cardiovascular risk assessed, call us at the RFHC so that we can prepare a program for you.

[Contact RFHC for a copy of the Cave Man Diet]

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