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Nuts and Heart Disease & Diabetes
I've reported in the past about the positive effects of nuts (specifically pistachio nuts) on cholesterol. It seems that almonds may have a positive effect on your risk of cardiovascular disease (CHD) or diabetes.

Are almonds a good snack for those on Coumadin (warfarin)?
You're right that almonds make a great snack. There's good evidence that they can help change your cholesterol profile by improving the good cholesterol (HDL) and also having a positive effect on the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Even though they are high in fat, the fats are the ones that are better to be eating.

Alcohol in the Mediterranean Diet
I get questions from patients almost every day about whether it's safe or healthy for them drink alcohol. It goes without saying that drinking too much alcohol is bad for you. Even so, the best research we have now shows that those drinking between 2 and 3 drinks per day for men or 1 to 2 per day for women live longer and live healthier.

 


 

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Preventing heart disease with food



In 2003, European two researchers proposed the concept of the Polypill, a combination of six medications that, taken together as one pill, might reduce the levels of cardiovascular disease in the general population by more than 80%. Taking the idea of multiple prevention strategies to its logical extreme, an international team of researchers introduced the idea of the Polymeal the following year (BMJ 2004;329:1147-50).

The Polymeal, they wrote, would be "a safer, non-pharmacological, and tastier alternative to the Polypill". After reviewing extensive amounts of research on the dietary elements that help prevent cardiovascular disease, they settled upon six foods that, taken together, would make up the Polymeal. They are:

Wine
Fish
Dark Chocolate
Fruits and Vegetables
Almonds
Garlic

The researchers calculated the combined effect of the Polymeal using the same criteria as was used for the Polypill, and found that combining all the ingredients of the Polymeal would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 76%. Omitting wine from the Polymeal, they found, reduced the effect of the Polymeal to 65%. Taking additional wine with the Polymeal, however, could have adverse effects: "The Polymeal should not be combined with additional consumption of alcohol, in order to avoid intoxication and conflicts with friends, relatives, and authorities...."

What this means for you

This research is only somewhat tongue in cheek: Diet and exercise clearly has a huge impact on your risk of cardiovascular disease. Best quote from the report: "Redundant cardiologists could be retrained as Polymeal chefs and wine advisors."

Recipes including items from their list:
Roasted Garlic | Pineapple Salsa | Chocolate Cheesecake | Yellow Pepper & White Asparagus Soft Tacos

First posted: May 26, 2006