Can Mediterranean Diet Reverse Heart Disease – A Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil and nuts may help reverse metabolic syndrome, according to a study published Tuesday by Spanish researchers.
About 25% of adults suffer from metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. The disease itself is the result of a combination of at least three of the following symptoms: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, and obesity.
Can Mediterranean Diet Reverse Heart Disease
The Mediterranean diet—fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and limited bad fats—may reverse the diagnosis.
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Researchers gave 5,801 men and women aged 55-80 a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, nuts, or a low-fat diet as a control group. 64% of participants had metabolic syndrome at the start of the study, while 28.2% of dieters with the syndrome no longer met criteria after less than 5 years.
“Since there was no group difference in weight loss or energy expenditure, this change may be due to differences in diet,” said study co-author Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvado said. However, according to the study, “we found no beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet on the incidence of new-onset metabolic syndrome”—unlike previous similar studies, the diet did not help prevent the syndrome from occurring. According to the World Health Organization, heart disease (also commonly referred to as heart disease) is the leading cause of death globally.
In hindsight this sounds like a dire omen for humanity, but there is some sweetness in this grim news when we realize that heart disease is preventable and in some cases reversible.
Heart disease is a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Generally, they fall into these categories:
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The most common, preventable and reversible form of heart disease is coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease. It is caused by a build-up of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, which hardens and narrows. The technical term for this is atherosclerosis.
As atherosclerosis worsens, less blood is allowed to flow through the arteries. As a result, the heart muscle does not get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
Most heart attacks occur when blood clots suddenly cut off the heart’s blood supply, causing permanent heart damage. These clots usually form at the site of a ruptured arterial plaque.
Over time, atherosclerosis can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and alter the normal heart rhythm.
The End Of Heart Disease
Simply put, coronary heart disease is an insidious process that impairs cardiac function and sets the stage for traumatic events such as heart attack and stroke. When we do create a condition like this, though, there seems to be not much we can do to prevent or reverse it.
In reality, the opposite is true. Diet and lifestyle play an important role in preventing further plaque build-up, as well as helping us reduce atherosclerosis.
Although there are many genetic factors that determine the risk of heart disease, it can be prevented and reversed. This is because the most common cause of heart disease – atherosclerosis – is caused by modifiable factors (i.e. factors within our control).
However, don’t let the fact that atherosclerosis is a build-up of fatty plaques in your arteries fool you. This does not mean that fat clogs your arteries. Actually, fat is not the problem.
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Interestingly, atherosclerosis isn’t even the problem – it’s the solution to the immediate problem caused by oxidized LDL cholesterol.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol,” but it is actually vital to our survival.
You can think of LDL as a very humble superhero. LDL carries essential nutrients like cholesterol and vitamins to our cells. Unfortunately, if LDL interacts with free radicals and unstable molecules in the blood, it begins to oxidize.
Now the oxidized LDL goes on a rampage that damages endothelial cells (the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels). Endothelial damage triggers macrophages (immune system cells) to neutralize oxidized LDL and prevent further destruction.
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Macrophages coax the oxidized LDL to put on its superhero costume and become an inert, non-toxic fatty plaque that resides in artery walls.
Your body builds up this plaque to prevent oxidized LDL from causing more cell damage, so atherosclerosis (short term) is part of the solution. One direct payoff is that oxidized LDL can no longer damage healthy cells.
However, in the long run, this short-sighted solution turns into an ominous one, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke if we do not make the right changes in our diet and lifestyle.
The involvement of LDL in the process of formation of these plaques is the primary reason for the formation of such monstrous particles. However, so many factors play a role in increasing the risk of heart disease that lowering LDL numbers alone is not enough. This is evidenced by the fact that the disease often develops even in the presence of low levels of LDL.
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Focusing only on LDL to assess heart disease risk is like blaming the water when your sink drain is clogged. You can prevent the sink from backing up by reducing the flow of water to the drain, but doing so does not solve other problems that cause “clogging.”
To better assess heart disease risk, we must consider these main risk factors that contribute to atherosclerosis:
Of these eleven risk factors, studies show that the ones that have the greatest impact on heart disease are within our control. For example, an observational study of 52 countries found that eight modifiable risk factors—abnormal blood lipids, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, fruit, vegetable and alcohol intake, and regular physical activity— Thee is linked to obesity. Every inhabited continent accounts for most of the risk of heart disease across genders and all age groups worldwide.
This is a remarkable finding because it shows that atherosclerosis, one of the deadliest complications of heart attack, is associated with similar modifiable risk factors around the world.
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Furthermore, six of these eight risk factors identified in the study – namely, abnormal blood lipids, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, abdominal obesity, certain psychosocial factors, and intake of fruits, vegetables and alcohol – were all addressed by the following can be done . the right food The keto diet, for example, has been found to improve all six. Below, you can refer to the graphic for a summarized version:
Because of its focus on fat consumption, the keto diet is a favorite of many doctors, dieticians, and health advocates. However, the truth is more complicated when we eat more fat and less carbs.
Simply put, many studies show that while the keto diet may help most people reduce their risk of heart disease, a small subset of the population may significantly increase their risk by following a standard keto diet. Is.
To help differentiate the two and gain a deeper understanding of what keto can do for heart disease, let’s look at how keto affects six risk factors that can be addressed through diet. .
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The most widely studied lipids are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides. There are other lipid particles that may give us a more complete picture, but there is little data on them at the moment.
Of all the risk factors for heart disease, the effects of keto on cholesterol levels attract the most controversy.
Many doctors, dietitians, and diet researchers will immediately reject any diet that advocates a high fat intake. For them, the potential for harm is obvious.
More fat means more saturated fat, which in particular leads to higher LDL cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. Since the keto diet is one of the most popular high-fat diets out there, the link between keto and heart disease is one of the diet’s most well-known risks.
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On the other end of the spectrum, low-carb doctors, dieticians and researchers argue that the increase in cholesterol due to keto reflects an adaptation to cholesterol levels. This is based on a large amount of research on low-carb and keto diets that has shown:
Overall, this is strong evidence that carbohydrate restriction in the ketogenic diet can be a heart-healthy choice.
However, that doesn’t mean the “keto is bad for the heart” side of the argument is completely wrong. A small subgroup of the population may not perform well from a heart health perspective when they eat a high-fat, low-carb diet.
More specifically, a high-fat, low-carb diet may not be a healthy choice for people with one or more of the following conditions:
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The easiest, most accessible way to find out if the keto diet may not be right for you is if your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is higher than 4 and/or your LDL-P (not your LDL-C) is high. remains high.
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