National Heart Month


Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

February is national heart month in addition to being the month of valentines day. What is good good for heart health in the long run?
So common thought is that you, you need to eat a low fat diet and take cholesterol medicine to keep your cholesterol down. What does the research actually say is best for our heart?
The FDA announced last year that cholesterol is not a major factor in heart attacks and strokes. They announced that inflammation was the major reason had heart attacks and strokes. Now, the interesting this here is the things people have been traditionally taught to do for heart health actually increase inflammation. The things that people have taught not to do, actually decrease inflammation.
For example, lets look at the advice we are given on oils and the reality of the research on oils. If you are like me, growing up I was told to eat a low fat diet, avoid saturated fats like butter and to eat polyunsaturated fats like corn and soy oil and trans-fat like Crisco and margarine. Let’s look to see how history has judged that wisdom.
On June 18, 2018, the FDA outlawed trans-fats from packaged foods and restaurants siting a wealth of evidence that made it clear by the mid 2000’s that linked trans fats with chronic inflammation, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, increased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and behavioral problems.
Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, soy and sunflower oils are vegetable oils made from plants that don’t actually have lots of oils and are highly processed using harsh chemicals and heat to extract the oils from the seed. Polyunsaturated oils have been found to be high in Omega 6 fatty acids that form free radicals in the body. In addition, some studies now suggest that many vegetable oils may actually increase the risk of heart disease and mortality, instead of lowering it.
What does that leave us to cook with? The best oils for cooking are things like butter/ghee and coconut oil. They are good high temperature oils. For cooking under 400 degrees, olive, seasame and avocado are great oils.

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 or at