Contributed by Ryan Peterson.
Much has been written about proper nutrition for heart patients, but some information has turned out to be a myth. To educate yourself further, consider reading Brad Schaeffer MedComp Sciences. Below I cover why these 3 nutritional myths belong in the realm of fairy tales.
“People affected by chronic heart disease should consume omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids have a protective effect on blood vessels.” This is partly true. Basically, omega polyunsaturated fatty acids are healthy. However, omega-3’s and omega-6’s differ in their effect. Omega-3 fatty acids work against inflammation, blood clots, and cardiac arrhythmias, and they also lower blood pressure. The composition of the fats in the blood and the health of the blood vessel walls can be improved by eating a diet rich in omega-3s. On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids can both fight and promote inflammation. The body can use omega-6 fatty acid to make molecules that promote inflammation. Therefore, the proportion of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids in food should not exceed a ratio of 5:1.
“Heart failure often occurs when people are overweight and obese. If people are already affected by a weak heart, then being overweight is always unfavorable for the further development of the disease.” It is true that excess weight and obesity are associated with a large heart disease risk. In addition to heart disease, being overweight/obese increase risk for diabetes mellitus. These conditions typically improve with weight loss and regular exercise. Surprisingly, individuals already diagnosed have a higher chance of survival if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 25-35.
This so-called “obesity paradox” has been proven in several scientific studies. There are probably various causes for this effect. On the one hand, adipose tissue is amazingly active: it produces various messenger substances, including a hormone that increases the feeling of satiety and an anti-inflammatory substance that can protect against further vascular diseases.
The BMI is a measure that indicates body weight in relation to body height. You can calculate your BMI yourself here. A BMI between 19 and 25 is considered normal weight. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight. A BMI over 30 is classified as obese.
“Since people with chronic heart disease should avoid animal fats, margarine is healthier than butter for them.” Margarine is often advertised as being healthier because it is “purely vegetable” or can even actively lower cholesterol levels. The latter is especially true for some products. They contain so-called phytosterols. These plant substances reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and can thus demonstrably lower the cholesterol level. Many studies suggest that low LDL cholesterol levels could be good for preventing cardiovascular disease. However, it has not been proven that products with phytosterols reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The human body produces about 90% of the cholesterol that can be measured in the blood – so food intake is by no means the only source of cholesterol.
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