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Health and Wellness
Talk is Cheap – Research is Not
Wellness Consultant
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 • Posted February 23, 2012 10:57 AM

Heart talk and “sweet nothings” come easy; but research takes time, money, and effort. The results are worth our attention.

We all know about life’s guarantees: death, taxes, and the sun rising in the east. Let’s add another one: eating well ensures a long and healthy life. For years, mounting evidence has pointed to the role of a diet high in fruits and vegetables in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. That connection was strengthened recently in the first study to measure vitamin C levels in the blood. Nearly all the people in the study got their vitamin C from eating fruits and vegetables, not from taking an isolated vitamin supplement. So, at the grocery store, head for the produce department rather than the vitamin counter.

Only a few years ago, reversal of heart disease was believed impossible. However, new research proves otherwise. The Medical Tribune reported that one serving of spinach daily can reduce the risk of heart disease by 43%. Diet is such a powerful influence on health that improving the diet can actually reverse heart disease. In a study conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Duke Universities, subjects were divided into three groups. Group #1 ate the Standard American Diet. Group #2 ate the Standard American Diet with the addition of fruits and vegetables. Group #3 consumed a very low fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. The third group made the most progress. Blood pressure levels, for example, dropped by as much as 11.4/5.5 within only two weeks!

Dean Ornish, MD, is one of the most prominent physicians involved in treating advanced heart disease through lifestyle changes. His work has been clinically proven and published in a number of prestigious journals. He advocates a very low fat diet with no meats and lots of fruits and vegetables. A study published in The British Medical Journal Lancet in July 1990 compared people who followed the Ornish program with those who made more moderate changes according to their doctors’ advice. 82% of those following the Ornish program demonstrated measurable reversal or coronary artery blockages after one year while the other group became measurably worse during the same time frame. This is the diet used now by former President Bill Clinton, who is status post a cardiac event of his own.

The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study evaluated the association of fruit and vegetable consumption with risk for coronary heart diseases. Their conclusion was that the consumption for fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables and Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables, appears to have a protective effect against coronary heart disease.

A more recent study was posted on WebMD dated May 21, 2003, titled “Veggies Ward Off Big Mac Attack.” The University of Maryland stated how heart-healthy foods may protect against fatty meals. Their conclusion: Your mother was right. You should eat well balanced meals with fruits and vegetables. Interestingly, taking extra antioxidant vitamins didn’t add to the effect of the fruit and veggie concentrates that were used in the study.

Here’s more good news about fruits and veggies. “Five a day” can lower your blood pressure, greatly reducing the risk of heart disease. In a six-month study involving nearly 700 people, half were asked to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day; half served as controls and didn’t change their diet. The results: those who ate the good stuff had higher levels of numerous healthy antioxidants than those who didn’t.

Make it a Happy Heart Day everyday and love your own sweet heart!

Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at or

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