Tip of the Day:
February is American Heart Month. A strong, slow, steady heartbeat is the foundation of a healthy body.
The Heart of Heart Disease
It is no surprise to anyone that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Because of this, getting a handle on preventing metabolic syndrome becomes increasingly important. CVD starts with atherosclerosis, what we used to refer to as hardening of the arteries, from the Greek word athero (“gruel” or “paste”) and sclerosis (“hardness”). This definition is partially accurate but also a gross oversimplification.
Atherosclerosis, which is more aptly defined as the clogging, narrowing and hardening of the body’s large arteries and medium-sized blood vessels, can lead to stroke, heart attack, eye problems and kidney problems, and is at the very heart of heart disease. We know that diabetics have more AGEs (Advanced Glycosylation End Products) than non-diabetics, and that CVD is the leading cause of death for diabetics. However, the playing field appears to be leveled when it comes to the development of atherosclerosis, leading to CVD and the other problems listed above. In fact, there is now a large amount of evidence linking AGEs with the development and progression of atherosclerosis, regardless of diabetic status.
With CVD being the leading cause of death, finding strategies to prevent AGE formation should be one of the scientific community’s top priorities. However, there have not been significant, safe and effective pharmacological therapies. This is why many scientists, physicians and researchers, myself included, stress the importance of prevention, by avoiding sugars, high-glycemic starches, and processed, packaged foods as much as possible. In addition, fatty fish and fish oil should be important parts of our daily diet.
There is ample evidence that diets high in fish or supplemental omega-3s can improve key cardiovascular functions and reduce major factors for heart disease, including metabolic syndrome. The American Dietetic Association recommends two to three servings of fish per week – advice echoed by the American Heart Association. I recommend even more for optimum health, especially with the recognition of the role that AGEs play in CVD. Omega-3s will also aid in general disease prevention, weight control (as long as you are not frying the fish), improved cognition, decreased stress, increased skin health, and an increased sense of well-being.
Try this delicious recipe – it’s heart smart and delicious!
Greek Salmon Salad
Savor the flamboyant flavors of the Greek isles with this simply super salmon salad. It’s nutritional levels reach Olympic proportions – rejuvenating and refueling your body.
3 tbsp. organic olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. organic Dijon mustard
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dill
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 can 15.5 oz wild salmon, drained
1 cup red pepper, diced
1/8 cup purple onion, finely diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
8 Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups romaine lettuces, torn into bite size pieces
In large bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano, dill, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the salmon, red pepper, onion, cucumber, olives and feta.