Tag Archives: coronary heart disease

Honey: Potential Benefits and Risks – Tufts

Humans have been using honey as a sweetener for over 5,000 years. Throughout history, many cultures have also used it as a natural remedy—to treat wounds, ease coughs, and more. While there are many studies looking into a variety of medicinal uses for honey, few offer any sign of efficacy in humans, and honey is not included in any authoritative evidence-based treatment guidelines. A closer look at honey and its components can help us understand why.

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Honey Basics: “To make honey, foraging honeybees collect nectar from flowers and bring it back to the hive, where it gets ‘spit out’ into a cell of the honeycomb,” says Rachael E. Bonoan, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher for Tufts University and Washington State University. “Once there is enough nectar in the wax cell, the bees dehydrate it by fanning their wings.”

Honey that comes straight from the honeycomb or is only filtered to remove debris is called “raw” honey. Most honey sold in stores is minimally processed for safety and quality purposes: After filtering it is pasteurized (exposed to high heat) to kill bacteria and yeast cells. Pasteurization also extends the time honey remains liquid before it crystalizes.

Though the exact chemical composition of honey varies depending on the location and type of flowers from which the bees gather the nectar, honey contains a diversity of nutrients, including sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and numerous polyphenols—antioxidant plant compounds. Unfortunately, honey—raw or pasteurized—does not have enough nutrients or other bioactive compounds to make a significant difference in health. “In order to get nutritionally-relevant amounts of these compounds, one would have to eat so much honey that the negative health effects from the sugars would far surpass any potential health benefits from the other nutrients,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, a professor at the Friedman School and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

Sweet Risks: Honey is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an added sugar. There is strong evidence that intake of added sugars is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, and it may increase risk for high blood pressure and stroke. The average American adult’s added sugar intake is 77 grams per day, far more than the 36 grams (nine teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (six teaspoons) for women recommended by the American Heart Association. “Cutting back on all added sugars is an important change to make for overall health,” says Lichtenstein.

Honey may contain spores that cause botulism, a serious paralytic illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves. Although adults don’t typically contract botulism from ingesting spores, infants can. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deem all honey, both raw and pasteurized, unsafe for infants under a year old.

Minimal Reward: Honey has been studied for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, and for its potential role in treatment of diseases from diabetes to cancer. Unfortunately, few of these studies involved humans, and none prove effectiveness. “As with any sweetener dissolved in water, honey may be of some benefit in soothing a cough,” says Lichtenstein. Honey has also been looked at as a topical treatment for wounds and skin conditions, but it is not recommended for that use at this time. Honey does appear to have antioxidant properties, but fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods provide antioxidants as well.

Eating local raw honey has been touted as a way to help ease seasonal allergy symptoms. There is no research to confirm that eating honey will improve allergy symptoms. In fact, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the pollen in raw honey could cause a negative reaction in people suffering from severe pollen allergies.

Although honey has more nutrients than most other sweeteners, the vast majority of claims for its healthfulness are unvalidated or overstated. Enjoy this natural sweetener in limited amounts for the pure joy of its rich, sweet taste—but do not count on it to boost your health.

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Preventing Heart Disease – Harvard

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Human Heart.png

The following is from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard.

When heart experts talk about prevention, they usually refer to one of three types: secondary, primary and primordial prevention. [1] All three have similar elements, but different starting times and different effects.

Despite the power of individual behavior change, it must be noted that unfavorable eating patterns are driven by a variety of biological, social, economic, and psychological factors. This is acknowledged in a 2018 review paper, which recommends that “governments should focus on cardiovascular disease as a global threat and enact policies that will reach all levels of society and create a food environment wherein healthy foods are accessible, affordable, and desirable.” [22] The central illustration of the paper (below) highlights several policy strategies that may help boost healthy eating, such as improving nutrition labels, regulating food marketing, and promoting healthy school and work environments. Continue reading

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Exercise helps heart patients – Study

Ear less; move more; live longer. Works like a charm

Generally, exercise is considered good for you. However, physicians and medical doctors previously prescribed bed rest to people with heart failure, fearing exercise could potentially lead to additional health problems.

man running on ice covered land

Photo by Andre Morgan on Pexels.com

Now, research from the University of Missouri has found exercise can improve the health of blood vessels in the heart for people with heart failure. The finding is based on a study looking at swine, which have very similar blood vessels and heart muscles – both structurally and functionally – as humans. Continue reading

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Filed under coronary heart disease, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise myths, heart disease, heart problems

Time Spent Sitting Linked to Higher Risk of Death from 14 Diseases

I confess, I love it when new discoveries meet my bias. I created the Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? nine months ago. What follows is the latest information on prolonged sitting from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

14-1-114A new ACS study links prolonged sitting time with a higher risk of death from all causes, including 14 of 22 measured causes of death and 8 of the 10 most common causes of death. The link existed even after adjusting for levels of moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity. The study appears early online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Advancements in technology have led to a significant increase in the amount of time spent sitting. In addition, sedentary time increases with aging, a time when the risk of chronic disease also increases. In the United States, most leisure time is spent in sedentary behaviors such as television viewing. In one Australian study, it was estimated that 90% of total non-occupational time was spent sedentary, and that 53% of sedentary time was spent on screen time (computer or television). Continue reading

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Does Eating Fast Food Mean a Higher Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease?

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

Living in this fast-paced world, eating fast food is a temptation few of us can ignore at one time or another.

People who have a habit of eating fast food on a regular basis are at greater risk of developing both heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the latest online edition of the journal Circulation.

Scientists from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the U.S. and the National University of Singapore worked together to analyze data from a 16-year study, which was based on eating habits of 52,000 Chinese nationals living in Singapore. Each resident had experienced a sudden transition from traditional eastern foods to a Western-style fast food diet.

Fast food in Singapore.

The study “discovered that those who ate fast food two-three times a week were twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to…

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What Are My Chances of Getting Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the number one killer in the U.S. for both men and women.

What is heart disease? The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes it as “… a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is also called coronary artery disease.”

CHD results from plaque building up on the walls of your coronary arteries. You might know it as hardening of the arteries. The buildup causes the arteries to narrow and then blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop entirely.

A risk factor is anything that can increase your chance of getting it. There are two types of risk factors – Those you can change and those that you can’t change.

According to The U.S. National Library of Medicine:

The risk factors for heart disease that you CANNOT change are:
• Your age. The risk of heart disease increases with age.
• Your gender. Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women who are still getting their menstrual period. After menopause, the risk for women is closer to the risk for men.
• Your genes. If your parents or other close relatives had heart disease, you are at higher risk.
• Your race. African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans also have a higher risk for heart problems.

Risk factors over which you have some control include:
• Do not smoke or use tobacco.
• Get plenty of exercise, at least 30 minutes a day on at least 5 days a week (talk to your doctor first).
• Maintain a healthy weight. Men and women should aim for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
• Get checked and treated for depression.
• Women who are at high risk for heart disease should take omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
• If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Must confess that it is great to see that once again proper diet and regular exercise cover a multitude of sins. As I have said over and over here on the blog: Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

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Red Meat Linked to Heart Disease – Indiana University

I have found that over the nearly seven years of writing this blog, I am eating less and less red meat. Currently I am down to about once or twice a month. I think I feel better and lighter as a result. I have substituted plant, fish, nut and seed protein in place of red meat.

A new study from the Indiana University (IU) School of Public Health-Bloomington has bolstered the link between red meat consumption and heart disease by finding a strong association between heme iron, found only in meat, and potentially deadly coronary heart disease (CHD), the University said.
cookout

The study found that heme iron consumption increased the risk for coronary heart disease by 57 percent, while no association was found between nonheme iron, which is in plant and other non-meat sources, and coronary heart disease. Continue reading

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Is Walking as Effective an Exercise as Running?

First of all, I am a former runner. I ran in the first LaSalle National Bank 20k here in Chicago about a hundred years ago. I subsequently ran in dozens of similar events and logged hundreds of 10 mile mornings on my own. So, I have no axe to grind against running. Been there; done that. I have since transferred my exercise affections to the bicycle and ride pretty close to daily here in Chicago these days.

JFKrunnin1

Enough about me, what about walking vs running for health? A six-year study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology in April found that walking at a moderate pace and running produced similar health benefits, so long as the same amount of energy was expended.

Studies show that how long you exercise and how many calories you burn is more important than how hard you exercise. Running is a more efficient form of exercise, but not necessarily better for you.

Dr. Anthony Goodman in his course Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at any Age writes, “Walking may be a better exercise for many people than running because walkers may be able to sustain their activity more consistently and for a longer period of time than runners.” Continue reading

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Does Eating Fast Food Mean a Higher Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease?

Living in this fast-paced world, eating fast food is a temptation few of us can ignore at one time or another.

People who have a habit of eating fast food on a regular basis are at greater risk of developing both heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the latest online edition of the journal Circulation.

Scientists from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the U.S. and the National University of Singapore worked together to analyze data from a 16-year study, which was based on eating habits of 52,000 Chinese nationals living in Singapore. Each resident had experienced a sudden transition from traditional eastern foods to a Western-style fast food diet.

Fast food in Singapore.

The study “discovered that those who ate fast food two-three times a week were twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those who avoided this type of food,” reports diabetes.co.uk, a British diabetes Web site.

The risk of death from CHD was 80 per cent higher in people who consumed fast food four or more times per week, while even eating out at fast food establishments just once a week was linked to a 20 per cent increased mortality risk.

In addition, the study found that consuming fast food items two or more times each week also increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 27 per cent.

Andrew Odegaard, post-doctoral researcher from the University of Minnesota and lead author of the study, said: “We wanted to examine the association of Western-style fast food with cardio-metabolic risk in a Chinese population in Southeast Asia that has become a hotbed for diabetes and heart disease .

“What we found was a dramatic public health impact by fast food, a product that is primarily a Western import into a completely new market.”

He added that results interestingly showed that the most frequent fast food eaters “were younger, better educated, smoked less and were more likely to be physically active”, which fitted the profile normally seen in a person “with lower cardio-metabolic risk.”

To read further on the subject of fast food, check out these posts:

Why should I avoid fast food? – Infographic

What are the long term effects of that fast food meal? – Infographic

Count sodium as well as calories at fast food outlets

Tips for healthy eating at fast food outlets

Test your fast food smarts – WebMD Quiz

What are the three worst fast food sandwiches?
Tony

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What Are My Chances of Getting Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the number one killer in the U.S. for both men and women.

What is heart disease? The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes it as “… a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is also called coronary artery disease.”

CHD results from plaque building up on the walls of your coronary arteries. You might know it as hardening of the arteries. The buildup causes the arteries to narrow and then blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop entirely.

A risk factor is anything that can increase your chance of getting it. There are two types of risk factors – Those you can change and those that you can’t change.

According to The U.S. National Library of Medicine:

The risk factors for heart disease that you CANNOT change are:
• Your age. The risk of heart disease increases with age.
• Your gender. Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women who are still getting their menstrual period. After menopause, the risk for women is closer to the risk for men.
• Your genes. If your parents or other close relatives had heart disease, you are at higher risk.
• Your race. African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans also have a higher risk for heart problems.

Risk factors over which you have some control include:
• Do not smoke or use tobacco.
• Get plenty of exercise, at least 30 minutes a day on at least 5 days a week (talk to your doctor first).
• Maintain a healthy weight. Men and women should aim for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
• Get checked and treated for depression.
• Women who are at high risk for heart disease should take omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
• If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Must confess that it is great to see that once again proper diet and regular exercise cover a multitude of sins. As I have said over and over here on the blog: Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

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Filed under aging, coronary heart disease