For a long time, the medical field has continuously pointed to high blood cholesterol as the culprit behind heart ailments. As a heart surgeon with years of education and experience under my sleeve, I have believed the same. Medications that lower cholesterol and avoiding fatty foods are the advice we doctors give to patients who exhibit symptoms of heart disease.
I used to think that there was no other way to counter heart disease apart from what is mentioned above. But, the truth to the matter is, there is a more effective path to achieving a healthy heart. Admittedly, I found this difficult to accept as true. It took me a while to be able to accept the fact that most of what I have studied and practised was not the best treatment. At the same time, I felt responsible for only having one way of thinking when it comes to treating heart diseases.
To put things behind and make amends, I have decided to write about the right way to address diseases that affect the heart. This breakthrough is backed with medical researches and medical proof.
Dispelling Old “Truths” and “Treatments”
Studies made by the American Heart Association discovered that heart disease and diabetes have become a common ailment. These diseases are no longer affecting only those who are advanced in age but have been seen creeping in at an alarming rate to younger generations. About 70 to 75 million Americans are diagnosed with heart disease, over 20 million are affected by diabetes, and roughly 60 million people are at risk of having diabetes.
Let’s take a closer look at the cause of heart diseases and strokes.
In the recent developments on studies concerning heart diseases, it was found out that the reason for cholesterol build up in the blood is inflammation in the artery wall. This inflammation traps the cholesterol in the blood vessel’s wall, which then causes heart ailments.
Inflammation is the body’s response whenever it senses danger coming from bacteria, virus, or other toxic elements. This is a natural occurrence and is helpful in keeping the body protected from bacteria and virus. However, harm happens when the body is constantly abused and inflammation does not subside. This is what we call chronic inflammation.
Americans follow the only treatment known to combat heart disease over the years: medications that are cost a lot of money and the highly recommended low-fat diet. However, if these “antidotes” are regularly being followed, why is it that the number of patients affected by heart diseases never seems to decline?
A diet that consumes polyunsaturated fats in large quantities and low in fat is the very reason why chronic inflammation occurs in the body. As a result, our body is exposed to higher risks of getting diabetes, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. This diet is what has been recommended time and again by conventional medicine.
The table has now turned against the “treatment” that a majority of doctors vouch for as the true cure to heart diseases and stroke.
How do the arteries get damaged by the food we eat?
As a heart surgeon, I have seen countless of arteries in a lot of surgeries that I have done through the years. And each time, an artery that has been damaged by chronic inflammation caused by the wrong diet looks the same: the artery’s wall appears to have been scraped repetitively.
To demonstrate how this actually happens, imagine using an aluminium sponge rubbing over your delicate skin. With continuous rubbing, your skin will eventually show signs of bruising. Now think of doing this to your skin every waking moment of your entire life. If this is done non-stop, your skin will become inflamed and wounded. With each repetition of the action, the status of your skin only gets worse.
That is what happens when inflammation happens inside your body. And this is brought about by the wrong food that we eat over and over again that causes the body to react with inflammation.
What are these foods that cause inflammation in the body?
On top of the list of foods that cause inflammation are processed foods that contain omega-6 oils as preservatives, foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates. Some examples of omega-6 oils are vegetable oils used for cooking, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oil. These oils can also be found in most of the processed foods. As for foods with that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, these are found in foods made from, of course, sugar and flour. Bread, cakes, cookies, and all sorts of pastries are just some of the food that belongs to this group.
How can sugars and simple carbohydrates do actual damage to arteries?
I am sure that you must be dumbfounded on how a sweet and innocent-looking cupcake can do massive harm to your health. So, let me walk you through this.
Imagine that you are working on your laptop while taking a snack. As you reach out for your drink, you accidentally topple your can of soda, spilling its sugary content all over your keyboard. Take one key, for example, and think of it as a cell of the body. As the soda drenches the keyboard, this key is completely soaked in sugar. This is the same thing that happens to a cell in the body.
Once we consume food that is high in sugar, the sugar in our blood rises at a fast rate. As soon as the body recognizes the rise of blood sugar, it triggers the pancreas to produce insulin. The role of insulin is to force the sugar into each cell of the body in order to store energy. Given that the cells are already loaded up with sugar from the food that we eat, the extra sugars are not absorbed by the cells.
The extra sugar remains in the blood, which then again triggers the pancreas to secrete more insulin to drive the sugars to the cells. Since absorption of the sugars by the cells is no longer feasible, the remaining glucose then turns to stored fat.
Since blood sugar is now managed in a constricted range, the damage to the arteries happens when the sugar molecules latch on different proteins that injure the wall of the blood vessel. As the wall of the blood vessel gets this treatment consecutively, it becomes inflamed.
Now, let’s take another form of sugar and, this time, simple carbohydrate to drive down my point.
Remember the cupcake we mentioned at the beginning of this section? Not only is it loaded with sugar, it is also made up of omega-6 oils, like corn oil. Omega-6 oils are not entirely bad; they should be used in the right balance with omega-3 oils. Omega-6 helps in managing the cell’s membrane by controlling what enters and exits the cell. When there is a surplus of Omega-6 in the body, the cell membrane is thrown off balance. The result of this is the cell membrane’s production of cytokines. Cytokine is a chemical that produces direct inflammation.
When the body is continuously exposed to foods that are loaded with these triggering factors that cause inflammation, you can be very well sure that you are on your way to contracting high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and in some worst cases, Alzheimer’s disease.
How then do we combat chronic inflammation in order to avoid heart disease and other illnesses caused by it?
Inflammation can be averted by eating food that contains natural sources of sugars and complex carbohydrates. By this, I mean sticking to fruits and vegetables. Skip using corn and soybean oils, as well as consuming processed foods that are mostly made up of omega-6 oils. Substitute these oils with olive oil instead.
I was once a believer of what mainstream medicine has taught about cholesterol and its grave effects on the body. Recent studies debunk this theory. Cholesterol is not the culprit that needs to be eliminated in the quest to cure heart disease, but chronic inflammation. And to heal the body from chronic inflammation, there is no other way but to return to the old ways of feeding our bodies—back to natural and healthier produce, like fruits and vegetables and avoiding, at all costs, food that are processed and are packed with sugars, simple carbohydrates, and omega-6 oils.