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Reducing Suseptibility to Heart Disease

The following are summaries of key findings from books by Rosemary C. Fisher.   Included are recommendations to reduce susceptibility to heart disease.   Her recommendations are the result of reviewing over 200 medical studies from the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Journal of Nutrition and other medical journals on how diet can affect a person's health and well-being as one ages.   For other articles on research findings by Mrs. Fisher, see Prevention of Major Medical Problems with Diet.   Books by Mrs. Fisher, which contain many recipes for health, can be ordered from her Home Page.


Use Low Fat Milk to Reduce Your Saturated Fats
Having a glass of cold low fat milk at meals may be able to reduce the amount of saturated fat the body can absorb in a meal. Calcium binds with fat molecules and help flush it out through the intestines explains Christa Henson Ph.D, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the Oklahoma State University. It was also reported in Men's Health magazine.

Foods to Improve Your Homocysteine Levels
We are reading a lot about homocysteine and heart. People with too much homocysteine have a higher risk of heart disease. Results of a study showed that those who had too much homocysteine and low levels of folacin (folic acid) were twice as likely have arteries that were clogged at least 25%. Source: New England Journal of Medicine 332:286, 1995. Many other studies have been done with similar results. They are saying we need at least 400 micrograms of folacin (folic acid) a day. We can get it in the food we eat.

Example Micrograms
  Brewers yeast (1 tbsp.)   313
  Orange juice fresh or frozen (1 cup)   109
  Spinach, frozen, cooked (1/2 cup)   102
  Lentils, cooked (1/2 cup)   179
  Chickpeas, dried, cooked (1/2 cup)   141
  Peanuts, dry-roasted (1/2 cup)   106
  Oatmeal, fortified, cooked (3/4 cup)   150

If you have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, you should be getting enough of folacin (folic-acid) in your diet. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, June 11, 1997, found that vascular disease was more than twice as likely to be present in people with the highest homocysteine levels than those with the lowest homocysteine levels. It seems that folacin (folic acid) appears to be the most important in regulating homocysteine levels.

Sugar and Its Role in Increasing Blood Pressure and Blood Fats
The following may come as a surprise for many. Sugar may be as big a villain in raising blood pressures as salt, says Harry G. Preuss, M.D., of Georgetown University Medical School. In animal studies he finds that sugar and salt together boost blood pressure. Heavy consumption of sugar induces salt and water retention. A new study published in October 1996. "Sugar is not just empty calories" argues Dr. Sheldon Reiser a research leader of the Carbohydrate Nutrition Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland. The study revealed that blood fats went up significantly when diets were laden with processed foods and sugar. If you have chronic high blood pressure, you may be motivated to change your diet. A study of 4225 people published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that sugar may contribute to mild memory loss. (Also published in John Hopkins Medical Letter, Health after 50-May 1994.)

Apples as a Tool for Raising Your Good HDL Cholesterol and Reducing Bad LDL Cholesterol
Remember the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Well research is showing that one who eats 2 to 3 apples a day may lower cholesterol. Studies show that the LDL (bad cholesterol) dropped while the HDL (good cholesterol) went up. Researchers believe that the pectin in the apples is one of main reasons why total cholesterol was decreased. Much of the pectin the apple is in the peel (skin). Pectin through research has been found to be effective in lowering serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugars. Apples area also a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1) needed to help brain function.

Oatmeal as a Low Sodium Vitamin Backed Breakfast Food
Oatmeal is another good way to start the day. It is packed with many essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and E. The sodium content of oats is very small so they can be used in a sodium-free diet with a clear conscience.

For heart disease the research suggests that the following foods are appropriate and perhaps helpful to eat. As always check with your doctor and have appropriate blood work done before following any of the research suggestions from this or other sources. The recipes for including these foods in your diet and the research supporting these recommendations are included in my 4 books.

Some Foods to Consider Eating More Often
  Sweet potatoes
  Green leafy vegetables
  Carrots, lightly cooked
  Pumpkin, canned or cooked
  97% or greater fat free chicken or turkey breast (I look for 99% fat free.)
  Low fat tomato sauces and pasta
  Homemade pizza with 99% fat free chicken as meat sauce
  Foods with low/no salt for those who have high blood pressure
  Peanuts, walnuts, almonds in moderation
  Olive oil and canola oil substituted for other oils, but still use sparingly
  Salmon and other fish, including the skin and fat (Research suggests this
fat (EPA fat) has the ability to raise HDLs.
  1-5 servings per week recommended)
  Defatted soy flour (at least 1/3 of a cup per day recommended)
  Fat free milk (skim)
  Oatmeal, shredded wheat, low-no sugar added cereals
  Fresh fruits
  Red or black grapes
  Grape juice (1 cup per day recommended)
  Grapefruit, especially pink which has 40% more beta carotene than white
  Dried fruits, especially apricots, dates, prunes
  Fat free homemade yogurt with extra dry milk to increase the magnesium and calcium content
  Tupelo honey as a substitute for sugar in cakes, cookies, breads, etc.
  Salad dressings and dips with non-fat sour cream or homemade yogurt
  Baked whole wheat chips and tortillas
  Bean and chickpea dishes and dips
  Tomato salsas

Foods to Consider Avoiding
  1%, 2% and whole milk
  Meats with 96% or less fat
  Red meats
  Hydrogenated oils such as stick margarine, and when listed as an ingredient in foods
  Food with high butter fat and other animal fats, e.g., cheese, full fat
  yogurt, sauces
  Hot dogs, hamburgers
  Deep-fried foods
  Candy, baked goods and ice cream made with fats
  High fat snacks, chips

My books have over 200 recipes applying these ingredients and principles.

Copyright 2002 by Rosemary Fisher. For permission to reprint, e-mail

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