Tag Archives: heart disease

Vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease

FoodFacts.com is aware that there are many dedicated vegetarians in our community. We’re also aware of the rise in the recommendation of plant-based diets for heart disease patients. Today, however, we read some very interesting information regarding the risk of heart disease for vegetarians vs. the remainder of the population.

The University of Oxford recently released a new study showing that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32% lower for vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish.

It’s the largest cause of death in the developed world. Tens of thousands die from heart disease each year. And the results of this newest study suggest that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce the risk of developing coronary disease.

This is the largest study conducted in the United Kingdom that looked at rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It involved almost 45,000 participants from England and Scotland who were enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. 34% of the participants were vegetarians.

The results of the study are very clear. The risk of heart disease for vegetarians is about one third lower than for non-vegetarians. The researchers conducting the study accounted for influencing factors like age, alcohol consumption, exercise, smoking, and education.

Participants completed questionnaires regarding their health and lifestyle when they joined. Detailed questions on diet and exercise as well as other factors affecting health such as smoking and alcohol consumption were included. Almost 20,000 participants also had their blood pressures recorded, and gave blood samples for cholesterol testing.
The volunteers were followed until 2009. During that time, 1235 of the participants were diagnosed with heart disease. 169 participants died and another 1066 were hospitalized.
The vegetarians participating in the study had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than the non-vegetarians. Researchers attribute this to be the primary reason for their decreased risk of heart disease. They also had lower body mass indices (BMI) and less instances of diabetes.

The study’s results confirm the concept that diet is key to the prevention of heart disease and expands on prior studies that have focused on the influence of vegetarian diets on our health.

FoodFacts.com knows that the vegetarians in our community will be happy to learn that their chosen lifestyle is likely to hold great health benefits. We also encourage the remainder of our community to remain committed to maintaining a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean protein sources. Every day we are learning more and more about how the foods we eat influence our health and longevity. Eat well. Stay well.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130121637.htm

The Truth about Phosphates

At Foodfacts.com we like to present you with education and research pertaining to what we consider controversial ingredients. Here is a recent article featuring a study done on phosphates and heart disease.

Here’s another reason to bypass those packaged mini-muffins at the gas station: Foods high in phosphates—including biscuits, cakes, sweets, some dairy products, energy drinks, and some meats—could contribute to heart disease, according to researchers at the University of Sheffield in the U.K.
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The researchers fed three groups of mice either a low-phosphate, moderate-phosphate, or high-phosphate diet. After 20 weeks, they examined the animals’ arteries and found 40 percent more arterial swelling and congestion—signs of heart disease—in the high-phosphate as opposed to the low-phosphate diet.
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So what are phosphates? They’re chemicals that are often used as food additives: They make baked goods fluffier, help lunch meats stay moist and tender, and help cheese keep its shape, among hundreds of other uses.
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You don’t need to avoid phosphates completely, since your body needs some phosphorous to build and repair teeth and bones. (Good news, since phosphates are in just about everything.) But nutritionists have long suspected what the English researchers have now confirmed: Too much phosphate in your diet could lead to heart disease.

Phosphates in your blood cause your body to release phosphate-lowering hormones, the study authors write. And studies have linked high levels of those hormones to cardiovascular illness.
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Scientists still aren’t sure whether the phosphate-lowering hormones or the phosphates themselves cause your heart problems; it’s the old chicken-egg conundrum. But either way, taking steps to reduce the amount of phosphate in your diet is probably a good idea.
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To cut down on phosphates, avoid overly processed and prepackaged foods, which tend to have the highest levels. (Click here for a list of high-phosphate foods from the Mayo Clinic.) Also avoid organ meats, such as kidney, liver, or offal. Shop at either end of the grocery store, where you’ll typically find the fresh produce, butcher meats, and fish.

(Men’s Health)

Too much Salt & not enough Potassium, increases your risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Death

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Foodfacts.com looks into the recent study of the harms of having to much salt intake in your diet and to little amounts of potassium. Earlier studies had found an association between high blood pressure and high levels of salt consumption and low levels of potassium intake. The combination of high salt — sometimes called sodium — and low potassium appears to convey a stronger risk for cardiovascular disease and death than each mineral alone, the study authors said.

“The combination of high sodium and low potassium is really a double whammy for cardiovascular risk and for mortality,” said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although sodium and potassium act independently, high potassium levels can counteract some of the effect of high sodium, Hu said. “But the adverse effects of high sodium cannot be completely offset by a high potassium diet,” he said.

For the study, published in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Hu’s team collected data on 12,267 people who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File, from 1988-2006. In addition to mortality data, this survey contains dietary information.

To find out the role of salt and potassium and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, the researchers looked at the levels of these minerals and the ratio between them. Over an average of 14.8 years of follow-up, 2,270 people died. Of these, 825 died from cardiovascular disease — which includes stroke — and 443 died of heart disease.

After taking into account variables such as gender, race and ethnicity, weight, high blood pressure, education and physical activity, Hu’s group found that high salt intake was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of death, while high potassium intake was associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying.

What’s more, high salt consumption coupled with low potassium intake was a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart disease, the researchers added.

“We should continue to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet, especially in processed foods,” Hu said. “We should also promote high consumption of potassium, especially from fruits and vegetables,” he added. “Those things should go hand-in-hand.”

While the study uncovered an association between heart disease and the two minerals, it did not prove a cause-and-effect.

Commenting on the study, Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said, “The findings are not surprising to me.”

The benefits of potassium to counterbalance the effects of salt for controlling high blood pressure have been known for years, but get little attention, Sandon said. “There have been hints in the past research literature that the ratio of the two may be more important than the nutrients individually,” she said.

Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with better heart health, Sandon said. “Fruits and vegetables are your best natural sources of potassium and they are naturally low in sodium,” she explained.

“I agree with the authors that more emphasis should be put on the importance of getting more potassium while lowering sodium intake,” Sandon said.

“The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet does just that and has been around for quite some time now,” she stated. “It encourages people to eat more foods high in potassium (fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy) while eating less sodium-laden foods.”

Sandon noted that this is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourage increased fruit and vegetable intake while lowering intake of foods high in sodium.

Those guidelines recommend that Americans limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) for most people, and to less than 1,500 milligrams for people 51 or older, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, regardless of their age.

Information provided by Health Day

Sodium Nitrate Warnings

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Overview
Foodfacts.com wants to make you more aware of what controversial ingredients are being put into our foods. Sodium nitrate is a food additive in processed meats used to prevent the deadly bacteria botulism from growing. It is found in processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon, deli meats, ham and salami. It is this preservative that gives pink color to these meats. There are some harmful effects of eating these meats and taking in high amounts of sodium nitrates that you should be aware of.

Cancer
Sodium nitrate additives cause the formation of nitrosamines in the body, which are cancer-causing chemicals. Sodium nitrate is being linked to colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, but research still is being done to determine the relationship between this additive and other cancers. According to Medicalnewstoday.com, 90 percent of nitrites and nitrates have been determined as carcinogenic to the body and specific organs.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Sodium nitrate might damage blood vessels, causing the narrowing and hardening of arteries, which can lead to heart disease, says MayoClinic.com. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating processed meats increases your risk of heart disease by 42 percent and diabetes by 19 percent compared with non-processed meats with the same saturated fat content. Further studies are being done on the possible link between insulin-dependent diabetes and sodium nitrates.

High Blood Pressure
High sodium foods are the leading cause of high blood pressure, and additives such as sodium nitrates add even more sodium than what is naturally found in the product. Read through the ingredients list on the food label to look for additives such as sodium nitrate, sodium alginate, monosodium glutamate, all of which add unnecessary sodium to your diet.

Increased Death Rates from Disease
According to Dailyscience.com, a study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food with increased deaths from diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson’s. These diseases are associated with increased insulin resistance and DNA damage, which has drastically increased and is thought to be related to nitrates.