Eating Leafy Green Vegetables (just a wee bit) Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Researchers examined data from over 50,000 people residing in Denmark taking part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study over a 23-year period. They found that people who consumed the most nitrate-rich vegetables had about a 2.5 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure and between 12 to 26 percent lower risk of heart disease.

Lead researcher Dr Catherine Bondonno from ECU’s Institute for Nutrition Research said identifying diets to prevent heart disease was a priority.

“Our results have shown that by simply eating one cup of raw (or half a cup of cooked) nitrate-rich vegetables each day, people may be able to significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr Bondonno said.

Edith Cowan University. “One cup of leafy green vegetables a day lowers risk of heart disease.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210504112604.htm (accessed May 9, 2021).

One cup raw or a half cup cooked daily. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t leafy greens on a daily basis. But now since my awareness level is higher I simply need to try harder.

I love spinach.

I don’t understand kale at all.

I have a package of organic baby bok choy leaves in the fridge which I actually bought before I read this article.

I wonder if parsley counts?

Alcohol (just a wee bit) Lowers CVD Mortality Risk

Moderate alcohol intake – defined as no more than one alcoholic drink for women and two for men per day – may be associated with a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease when compared with individuals who abstain from drinking or partake in excessive drinking, according to a new study. Of the 53,064 participants, 7,905 (15%) experienced a major adverse cardiovascular event: 17% in the low alcohol intake group and 13% in the moderate alcohol intake group. People who reported moderate alcohol intake were found to have a 20% lower chance of having a major event compared to low alcohol intake (in adjusted analysis), and also had lower stress-related brain activity. Kenechukwu Mezue, MD, the study’s lead author, cautions that these findings should not encourage alcohol use, but that they could open doors to new therapeutics or prescribing stress-relieving activities like exercise or yoga to help minimize stress signals in the brain.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, May 6, 2021 accessed 05.08.21 — https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2021/05/05/14/48/new-acc-21-research-explores-flu-vaccines-sleep-htn-secondhand-smoke-alcohol-and-stress-acc-2021

My liver understands but does not necessarily agree with the findings of this study.

Showing Cajones in the Obesity Wars

In Mexico obesity reached epidemic proportions after it joined NAFTA with the United States and Canada in the early 1990s, making processed food more easily available. Diets quickly changed as many people, particularly those on lower incomes, replaced largely healthy traditional staples (corn tortilla, frijoles, Jamaica Water) with highly processed alternatives (hotdogs, nuggets, sodas). Sugar consumption soared and waistlines exploded. In the past 20 years the number of obese and overweight people has tripled, with 75% of the population now overweight.

Mexico also has the sixth highest mortality rate from Covid-19, which has spurred the government to escalate its war against obesity.

Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Global Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling — https://wolfstreet.com/2021/04/13/mexicos-war-on-obesity-sends-global-junk-food-sugary-drink-giants-scrambling/#comments

NAFLD: not a benign disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide, affecting at least a quarter of the global adult population. It is rapidly becoming one of the most common indications for liver transplantation in Western countries. NAFLD is widely considered as the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. It is particularly common among patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Nonetheless, emerging data suggest that NAFLD is present in a significant proportion of lean individuals. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 93 studies (involving over 10 million individuals), Ye et al found that 19.2% and 40.8% of patients with NAFLD were lean and non-obese, respectively, according to ethnic-specific body mass index (BMI) cut-offs.1 However, over 80% of the studies included in this systematic review were from Asia, raising the suspicion that NAFLD in lean individuals is a unique phenomenon among Asians, especially as Asians are known to have more central fat deposition and develop NAFLD and metabolic complications at a lower BMI.2

NAFLD in lean individuals: not a benign disease — https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2021/03/11/gutjnl-2021-324162?rss=1

80% of the studies reviewed were from Asia which helps to explain why NAFLD was found in lean and non-obese people. I wonder how their diets have changed from traditional cuisines to cause this incidence level? Western style fast food?

Also see previous posts:

NAFLD – Why are Life Insurers Taking This Risk at Standard Rates?

NAFLD

NAFLD and Obesity: What Is the Mortality Risk? | Medpage Today

NAFLD = Higher Mortality Rate

Alkaline phosphatase 59 U/L, AST 28. ALT 10 as of September 2020. GGTP 36 as of December 2015. Sharing these numbers for all of my friends from the past who thought I would never live long enough to boast about these numbers.

How to make COVID vaccines more effective: give people vitamin and mineral supplements

For the immune system to fight off infection or generate good protection against a disease following vaccination, it needs a variety of micronutrients. This is likely to be just as true for COVID-19 as for other diseases. Given that malnutrition is common among elderly people, raising their vitamin and mineral levels before they get vaccinated could be a way of boosting the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

How to make COVID vaccines more effective: give people vitamin and mineral supplementshttps://theconversation.com/how-to-make-covid-vaccines-more-effective-give-people-vitamin-and-mineral-supplements-154974

Follow the link above to read the entire article. And take your multivitamin.

E. coli Outbreak with Unknown Food Source – CDC

As of February 1, 2021, a total of 16 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 5 states. This map shows where sick people live.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 23, 2020, to January 7, 2021. This chart shows when people got sick. Recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to link illnesses to an outbreak.

Sick people range in age from 10 to 95 years, with a median age of 31, and 88% are female. Of 12 people with information available, 9 have been hospitalized. Of 11 people with information, 3 developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). One death has been reported from Washington.

Investigation Details — https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2021/o157h7-02-21/details.html

“Unknown food source” bothers me.

Poor gut health is Associated With Severe COVID-19

In a review published this week in mBio, microbiologist Heenam Stanley Kim, Ph.D, from Korea University’s Laboratory for Human-Microbial Interactions, in Seoul, examined emerging evidence suggesting that poor gut health adversely affects COVID-19 prognosis. Based on his analysis, Kim proposed that gut dysfunction — and its associated leaky gut — may exacerbate the severity of infection by enabling the virus to access the surface of the digestive tract and internal organs. These organs are vulnerable to infection because they have widespread ACE2 — a protein target of SARS-CoV-2 — on the surface.”There seems to be a clear connection between the altered gut microbiome and severe COVID-19,” Kim said.

American Society for Microbiology. “Poor gut health connected to severe COVID-19, new review shows.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210112085347.htm (accessed January 15, 2021).

Journal Reference: Heenam Stanley Kim. Do an Altered Gut Microbiota and an Associated Leaky Gut Affect COVID-19 Severity? mBio, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1128/mBio.03022-20

Eat more legumes, plants and other sources of dietary fiber.

Eat less meat, dairy, and eggs.

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Inversely Associated with COVID-19 Incidence and Disease Severity in Chinese People

In the general linear model adjusted for age, sex, comorbidities, and BMI, serum 25(OH)D concentrations were significantly lower among COVID-19 patients than the 2018–2019 controls [ln transformed values of 3.32 ± 0.04 vs. 3.46 ± 0.022 ln (nmol/L), = 0.014]. Multivariable logistic regression showed that male sex (OR: 2.26; 95% CI: 1.06, 4.82), advanced age (≥65 y) (OR: 4.93; 95% CI: 1.44, 16.9), and vitamin D deficiency (<30 nmol/L) (OR: 2.72; 95% CI: 1.23, 6.01) were significantly associated with COVID-19 severity (all < 0.05).

These findings suggested that vitamin D deficiency impacts COVID-19 hospitalization and severity in the Chinese population.

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Inversely Associated with COVID-19 Incidence and Disease Severity in Chinese People — The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 151, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 98–103, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa332

More links are in my last post Vitamin D – What’s Your Level?

I am hoping all of my Chinese relatives read this.

Vitamin D – What’s Your Level?

“Our trends this year are dramatically different than previous years’ in that they’re far less fleeting. COVID-19 is a pandemic that sits on top of another pandemic in the United States of malnutrition and poor long-term health,” remarked Shelby Miller, MS, Natural Grocers’ Manager of Scientific Affairs and Nutrition Education. “Hence, 2021 holds broader trends that focus on improving nutrition to support our own health, as well as the health of our communities and our environment.”

While there are many things in life outside of our control, knowing our vitamin D levels is a simple step we can all take to elevate our health and the health of our families—it is something you can own as a proactive tool to be rooted in health. This unique nutrient plays a critical role in whether or not your immune system functions sufficiently and responds as needed. It is essential for lung health, supporting positive moods, brain function, and cognition, a healthy weight, a healthy pregnancy, children’s health, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy blood pressure, bone health, and muscle tone. Between 40 and 80 percent of American adults are outright deficient in vitamin D, while approximately 90 percent have sub-optimal levels. Achieving optimal levels (between 30 and 50 ng/mL) of vitamin D through supplementation is crucial to experiencing its full range of benefits. Because darker skin hampers the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, supplementation is especially important for people of color. A national survey reported average serum vitamin D concentrations of 28.1 ng/mL, 21.6 ng/mL, and 16.9 ng/mL in Caucasian, Mexican American, and African American adults aged 20 years and older, respectively. Vitamin D is a nutrient all of us should be focused on, and we all need to know our levels, but this is especially important for those with darker complexions.

SOURCE Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. — https://investors.naturalgrocers.com/2020-12-03-Natural-Grocers-Predicts-Top-10-Nutrition-Trends-For-2021 — Natural Grocers Predicts Top 10 Nutrition Trends For 2021 Press Release 12.03.20

I have no financial relationship with Natural Grocers nor do I shop at their stores often. We get the company’s sales brochure via Snail Mail and when I read the #1 predicted trend for 2021 was Vitamin D supplementation I had to pass it along (with proper attribution). On a personal note I started supplementing with Vitamin D around 7-8 years ago. I was satisfied with my research and figured this was an easy behavioral change. Besides, Vitamin D supplements were (and still are) cheap and widely available.

The Boss and I share the same personal physician. At my last wellness check she looked me in the eye and said,

“Tell you wife to take a Vitamin D supplement.”

True story. BTW my last level was 38 ng/mL. A few more of my posts on Vitamin D are listed below.

Ultraprocessed Food Again Linked to Increased CVD, Death

High consumption of UPF in this Mediterranean cohort was associated with a 58% increased risk for CVD mortality and 52% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease (IHD) and cerebrovascular causes, independently of known risk factors for CVD, even among individuals who otherwise adhered to the Mediterranean diet.

The foods that contributed most to total UPF consumed were processed meat, which accounted for 19.8% of UPF intake; pizza (16.8%); and cakes and pies (13.4%).

The researchers found a direct linear dose-response relation between a 5% increase in the proportion of UPF in the diet and risk for all-cause and CVD mortality.

Cite this: Ultraprocessed Food Again Linked to Increased CVD, Death – Medscape – Dec 24, 2020. — https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/943200?src=rss

After reading the full summary of the study I had some issues with the study findings on pizza. Apparently I’m not alone. From the comment section:

Pizzas were mentioned by the authors and Dr. Walter Willet (for whom I have always had great admiration and consider him among my 3 most valued nutrition resources) as a UPF. However, even as a consistent follower of Mediterranean diet for >40 years, I see nothing wrong with occasional enjoyment of two or three slices of Margherita pizza (which is not covered with any processed meats or extra cheeses).

Dr. Michael Mogadam

Like I’ve said many, many times pizza is a food group and should not be considered an ultraprocessed food. Without pizza life would not be possible. Pass on the chips, sugary drinks, restructured meat (see https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/restructured-meat) and other types of junk food.

Don’t pass on the pizza!