Happy Healthy Heart

Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

February is famous for Valentines Day. It is also Healthy Heart month, so what can we do to promote better heart health?

In a recent survey of the world’s industrialized countries the USA was ranked dead last for heart health. At the same time, we had the lowest cholesterol and lowest blood pressure amongst those same countries. So what gives here? Isn’t lowering your cholesterol and lowering your blood pressure supposed to reduce your chance of heart disease?

Recent research says no. In recent books by Dr. Dwight Lundell, past chief of staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, he states that heart disease is caused by inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by many different things, but the thing we have the most control over is the food that we eat.

Inflammatory foods include things like sugars, grains and polyunsaturated fats. Sugars, he states, attach to proteins in the blood and act like sand paper on our delicate blood vessels. When this happens several times per day, it assaults our blood vessels which causes inflammation.

Polyunsaturated fats, such as corn, safflower, soy and sunflower oils, are high in omega-6. Excess omega-6 has been found to cause cells to produce chemicals caused cytokines that increase inflammation in the body. These oils are used in things like baked goods, fries and chips, but they can be added to any processed foods to promote longer shelf life.

So what can we actually do? The big take away is start reducing sugar consumption. Sugar consumption, besides causing inflammation, can lead to diabetes which causes a whole range of other disease processes. Foods should be eaten that is is minimally processed and cooked with better oils such as butter or coconut oil. I suggest gradually switching to more healthy versions of the foods as you run out of the bad stuff.

If you want to learn more, come to our workshop on March 1 called “Sugar is Poison”. Call us at our office for any questions and to reserve your spot at (716)665-5015. As always, have a happy healthy month!

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at www.barkstrom.net or at www.jamestowngazette.com.