The Healing Power of a Heart-Healthy Diet

More plants and healthy fats, less meat and sugar is the doctor-recommended plan for a longer life

Which Probiotic Supplements and Drinks Are Best?
I am curious why some probiotics do not require refrigeration even though they contain some of the same bacteria in probiotics that require refrigeration? Berberine a compound found in plants such as barberry , Oregon grape and goldenseal may reduce blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, according to a few small studies. Laboratory research suggests stinging nettle Urtica dioica extract may bind to histamine receptors and inhibit certain inflammatory processes associated with seasonal allergy symptoms Roschek, Phytother Res Shopping links are provided by eBay Commerce Network and Amazon, which makes it easy to find the right product from a variety of online retailers. The authors of this meta-analysis conclude that the available evidence from randomized controlled trials does not support the recommendation of the - Dietary Guidelines for Americans that people reduce their fat intake.

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Low-carbohydrate diet

The interactions will depend on the type of antibiotic you are taking. You can search for the specific antibiotic you are taking by name in the Drug Interactions section of our ConsumerLab. Some of the most common antibiotics are listed below, followed by the supplements with which they can interact. Use the links for more details: Amoxicillin Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox: Calcium , magnesium , iron and zinc , fennel, Dong Quai, St.

Calcium , magnesium , iron and zinc , Dong Quai, St. John's Wort, citrate i. Is the probiotic "Milk Test," as described on many websites, really an effective way to test the quality of the bacteria in probiotic supplements at home? The "milk test" described on websites will not reliably tell you if a probiotic supplement contains viable organisms or not. The "test" is often described as checking for the formation of curds or clumps a day or two after putting the contents of a probiotic supplement into a small amount of milk and leaving it at room temperature.

It is true that certain probiotic bacteria can cause milk to clump, but not all probiotic bacteria will do this in the "milk test. Certain probiotic bacteria can make milk more acidic by fermenting lactose milk sugar into lactic acid — the process used to create yogurt, kefir, and cheese.

A significant amount of lactic acid has to be produced to make the milk acidic enough for it to curdle. Probiotic bacteria which can convert lactose to lactic acid include those of the genus Lactobacillus such as L. However, another common genus of probiotic, Bifidobacterium such as B. The enzyme, chymosin also known as rennin can also cause milk to curdle by acting directly on proteins. It is commonly used in making cheese. The "milk test" has been misleadingly used to promote probiotic products in which chymosin has been added as an ingredient because the "test" will show the product to curdle milk relatively quickly.

This, of course, does not prove that the probiotic organisms are present and active. The milk test is also not valid when using tablets which have not been crushed they are only expected to properly break apart when subjected to heat and agitation, as in the stomach , particularly chewable tablets, or those with enteric coatings which would first need to have their coatings removed.

If the probiotic organisms cannot be released and exposed to the milk, they won't be active. The products are purchased off the shelf and are tested in expert microbiology laboratories by plating their contents on culture media which is then incubated. The quantity of viable organisms is determined by the resulting growth of bacterial colonies.

The products are also tested for possible contamination with mold, yeast, and pathogenic disease-causing bacteria, such as E. Which supplements can help lower or control my blood sugar? Many different supplements may help lower or control blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who experience hyperglycemia when blood glucose rises higher than normal. These supplements are discussed below. More details about each, including dosage, drug interactions, potential side effects, and ConsumerLab.

Due to the seriousness of hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your physician regarding use of these supplements. Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled with medication. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. Curcumin from turmeric may improve blood sugar levels, according to preliminary studies, and one study found curcumin to dramatically lower the chances of prediabetes in middle-aged, slightly overweight men and women with somewhat higher than normal blood sugar levels.

Alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, although it may only slightly reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c.

Chromium picolinate may help some people with type 2 diabetes decrease fasting blood glucose levels as well as levels of insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. However, be aware that high doses may worsen insulin sensitivity in healthy people who are not obese or diabetic. Having adequate blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of insulin resistance in people who are obese.

There is some evidence that a certain blood level of vitamin D is needed for normal glucose metabolism in women who are overweight and obese but not diabetic , but it is not clear whether any further benefit is gained with higher blood levels. In healthy people, consuming a moderate amount of olive oil with a meal has been shown to reduce increases in blood sugar after the meal compared to the same meal consumed with corn oil. In people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, olive oil may improve glucose metabolism.

Increasing dietary fiber , especially insoluble fiber from cereal and grains, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and modestly lower HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes Martin, J Nutr ; Post,J Am Board Fam Med In people with type 1 diabetes, 50 grams of dietary fiber per day has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce hypoglycemic events Giacco, Diabetes Care The American Dietetic Association states that "diets providing 30 to 50 g fiber per day from whole food sources consistently produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a low-fiber diet.

Ginseng , both American and Korean Red ginseng from Panax ginseng , may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to preliminary research. Drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal may help to lessen increases in blood sugar after the meal in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.

Silymarin, a component of milk thistle , may decrease blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes, and reduce insulin resistance in people with coexisting diabetes and alcoholic cirrhosis. Inulin, a type of prebiotic , may improve measures of blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes, although it did not improve blood sugar levels or insulin resistance in a study of prediabetic men and women. Berberine a compound found in plants such as barberry , Oregon grape and goldenseal may reduce blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, according to a few small studies.

Fenugreek may help to lower blood sugar, according to preliminary studies, and one study found fenugreek extract to significantly improve some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes.

D-ribose , often promoted for energy or sports performance, may also lower blood sugar levels Fenstad, Internet J Nutr Wellness White mulberry Moruns alba or Morus indica has been traditionally used in Asia to help treat type 2 diabetes, and there is some preliminary evidence to support this use.

Mulberry leaf extract species not given may lessen increases in blood sugar after ingestion of table sugar in healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes Mudra, Diabetes Care There is mixed evidence as to whether CoQ10 may lower blood sugar.

To be safe, people with diabetes or who take medication to lower blood sugar should consult a physician before using. Preliminary evidence suggests certain other supplements, including aloe , ashwagandha , ginkgo , green coffee bean extract , glucosamine , black cohosh , rhodiola , reishi mushroom and tart cherry juice may lower blood sugar. While there is not enough clinical research to support the use of these supplements for this purpose, it's important to keep this in mind, as they could enhance the blood sugar lowering effect of other supplements or medications you may be taking.

CLA conjugated linoleic acid , a popular supplement for slimming, may worsen blood sugar control in diabetics and in obese people without diabetes.

Also note that high doses of vitamin C may increase blood sugar or interfere with certain blood sugar tests. With probiotics, how many CFUs should I look for as the dose? Is more necessarily better? As a general rule, a probiotic should provide at least 1 billion CFUs colony forming units, i. There are some exceptions to this: The specific dose will depend on the probiotic strain and the purpose for which it is taken.

Be aware that probiotic supplements may contain a single type of organism or a combination of many types. Combinations have been more effective in some situations, but single strain products have also been effective, so it is not clear that one is better than the other.

Details about the clinical studies are found in the " What It Does " section of the Review. What is the difference between the "Best By" date and the "Date of Manufacture" on a supplement label? How do I know how long my supplement will last before it "goes bad"? As explained by ConsumerLab. Although the FDA does not require supplement labels to provide an expiration date, companies which include these dates are required to have stability data to support their claims. The expiration date refers to the shelf life of the unopened container stored under the conditions specified on the label.

A "Date of Manufacture" simply indicates when the supplement was made, not how long the ingredients remain stable and potent. Typically, supplements are stable and potent if properly maintained for two to three years, but this depends on the product. Be sure to take extra care when looking at the date listed on probiotics supplements.

Some may list the number of cells in a product as the amount "at the time of manufacture" — a practice which is misleading and violates FDA regulations. You can learn more about this in the "ConsumerTips" section of ConsumerLab. Tod Cooperman on Reuter's Health. Is it true that yogurt and kefir can trigger migraines? Fermented dairy products such as kefir and yogurt may contain substances which some evidence suggests may trigger migraine headache.

In fact, a leading organization suggests that migraine sufferers limit their consumption of fermented foods. Do any supplements help for ulcerative colitis? These include curcumin , a form of glucosamine called N-acetyl-glucosamine NAG , Boswellia , and phosphatidylcholine. You can use these links for more details, including dosage. Although there is some evidence that a specific probiotic formula may be helpful, overall, there doesn't appear to be strong evidence to support the use of probiotics for ulcerative colitis.

There is some very preliminary evidence that supplementation with aloe vera gel or bromelain may be helpful. Reducing or eliminating carrageenan a substance used to thicken and improve the texture of certain foods and supplements from the diet may also helpful. For information about other proposed treatments, including fish oil, evening primrose oil, andrographis and wheat grass, see the Encyclopedia article about Ulcerative Colitis. I read that aging lowers the body's capacity to produce vitamin D.

Even regular sun exposure will not suffice and one may have to take a vitamin D3 supplement during old age to meet our body's regular requirements. Please comment on this. This is not entirely correct. Is it possible to get too much vitamin D? Which supplements help with depression and anxiety?

Fish oil has been found to be helpful for both depression and anxiety. Supplementing with fish oil with a high percentage of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA has been shown to improve symptoms in moderate and major depression although not in mild depression and may help to improve the effectiveness of various antidepressant medications. Similarly, fish oil high in EPA has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety.

Certain strains of probiotics have been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in short term studies, and one pre biotic product has been shown to lower levels of the "stress" hormone cortisol, as well as improve responses in a test associated with anxiety and depression. A small clinical study in people already taking prescription medication for major depression found daily supplementation with curcumin significantly reduced depressive symptoms after four weeks and the effect was greater in those with atypical depression.

The study found that anxiety was also reduced in those taking curcumin, although this reduction did not reach statistical significance. One study found 5-HTP to be as effective as fluvoxamine Luvox for depression, with fewer side-effects; it was also found to be effective in people suffering from anxiety disorders, although not as effective as the prescription medication clomipramine.

There is evidence for a number of other supplements that may be helpful specifically for depression, including St. In women, daily supplementation with folic acid has been shown to increase the effectiveness of the antidepressant SSRI drug fluoxetine Prozac and increase the rate of recovery from depression compared to treatment with Prozac alone.

Some, but not all research suggests that L-theanine , an amino acid found in black and green tea also sold in tablet and capsule form may reduce stress and anxiety without causing drowsiness. Having low blood levels of vitamin D is associated with a higher risk and severity of depression. One study found that supplementation with high-dose vitamin D significantly improved mood in women with type 2 diabetes who had serious depressive symptoms.

Having low blood levels of magnesium , and having a low intake of magnesium from foods are also each associated with an increased risk of depression. One small clinical study suggests magnesium supplementation may help reduce symptoms of depression. In one clinical study, taking ashwagandha daily, in addition to a multivitamin, was shown to significantly reduce anxiety compared to treatment with a weekly psychotherapy session and a placebo.

It has also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety mixed with depression and panic disorder. NAC has been shown to significantly reduce the anxiety-related compulsion to pull hair, known as trichotillomania. The herbs passionflower and lemon balm may also be helpful for anxiety.

Although melatonin and valerian are sometimes promoted for anxiety, there is not enough evidence to support their use for this purpose. There is weak evidence, however, that valerian may produce calming effects in stressful situations.

A number of studies suggest kava may reduce symptoms of anxiety; however, be aware there are potential safety issues and drug interactions. See the Encyclopedia article about Kava for more information. In addition to their potential as stand-alone agents, a review of clinical studies investigating the use of supplements along with antidepressant medications including SSRI drugs such as fluoxetine and sertraline and tricyclic drugs such as amitriptyline found that SAMe, EPA from fish oil, methylfolate and vitamin D may increase the benefits of these drugs Sarris, Am J Psychiatry However, if you are taking a prescription medication to treat depression or anxiety, consult your physician before taking any of the supplements mentioned above as there could be a risk of drug interactions.

For more about this, see the extensive Drug Interactions section of our website. Consult with a qualified health professional for any serious symptoms of anxiety or depression. Are "medical foods" such as VSL 3, proven to work? Does the FDA approve them? Although medical foods were once classified as drugs, they were reclassified as foods in As such, they do not require a prescription.

In fact, medical foods do not get registered with the FDA nor reviewed or approved by the FDA — much like herbal and vitamin dietary supplements — although they are intended to be used under medical supervision. So what is a medical food? All email addresses you provide will be used just for sending this story. Advice for a heart-healthy diet used to focus on numbers.

How many grams of fiber should you consume? How many milligrams of sodium is too much? What percentage of your calories should come from fat? Focusing too much on specific nutrients and not enough on overall dietary patterns can also harm your heart in the long run. For example, a low-fat diet can be bad for your heart if you get there by eating lots of sugar and refined grains such as white bread and avoiding nuts, olive oil, and other fatty but heart-healthy foods.

A true heart-healthy diet can be powerfully effective, says Walter Willett, M. Follow these tips and the numbers will take care of themselves:. For a heart-healthy diet, make vegetables, fruits, whole grains , nuts, and beans the centerpieces of your meals, says Linda Van Horn, Ph. Those foods contain heart-protective antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. Though eating more of each of those foods cuts heart disease risk some, an overall plant-based diet has an even greater effect.

One study of about , adults found that people whose diets were 70 percent plants had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease over 12 years compared with those whose diets centered on meat and dairy. That means eating beef, poultry, and pork occasionally or in small, 3- to 4-ounce portions—about the size of a deck of cards. Especially avoid processed meats , such as bacon, deli meat, and sausage. A review by Harvard researchers linked a daily serving, equal to one hot dog or two slices of bacon, to an increased risk of early death from heart disease and cancer.

Too much added sugar —sugar that is put into foods, not the naturally occurring sugar found mainly in fruits and dairy—raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according a review in the journal Open Heart. As of [update] the AHA stated categorically that it doesn't recommend high-protein diets.

Some of these diets restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and don't provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. People who stay on these diets very long may not get enough vitamins and minerals and face other potential health risks. Eckel , past president, noted that a low-carbohydrate diet could potentially meet AHA guidelines if it conformed to the AHA guidelines for low fat content.

The position statement by the Heart Foundation regarding low-carbohydrate diets states: Low-carbohydrate diets became a major weight loss and health maintenance trend during the late s and early s. Because of the substantial controversy regarding low-carbohydrate diets, and even disagreements in interpreting the results of specific studies, it is difficult to objectively summarize the research in a way that reflects scientific consensus.

Although there has been some research done throughout the twentieth century, most directly relevant scientific studies have occurred in the s and early s and, as such, are relatively new and the results are still debated in the medical community. A systematic review studying the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet LCD on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors showed that the diet that was studied was associated with significant decreases in body weight, body mass index , abdominal circumference, blood pressure , triglycerides , fasting blood sugar , blood insulin and plasma C-reactive protein , as well as an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol HDL.

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol LDL and creatinine did not change significantly. The study found the LCD was shown to have favorable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors but concluded the effects on long-term health are unknown. The study did not compare health benefits of LCD to low-fat diets.

A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in compared low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, low-glycemic index, high-fiber, and high-protein diets with control diets. The researchers concluded that low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, low-glycemic index, and high-protein diets are effective in improving markers of risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Advocates of low-carbohydrate diets generally dispute any suggestion that such diets cause weakness or exhaustion except in the first few weeks as the body adjusts , and indeed most highly recommend exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Some critics imply or explicitly argue that vegetables and fruits are inherently all heavily concentrated sources of carbohydrates so much so that some sources treat the words 'vegetable' and 'carbohydrate' as synonymous. Thus, in absolute terms, even sweet fruits and berries do not represent a significant source of carbohydrates in their natural form, and also typically contain a good deal of fiber which attenuates the absorption of sugar in the gut.

Most vegetables are low- or moderate-carbohydrate foods in the context of these diets, fiber is excluded because it is not a nutritive carbohydrate. Some vegetables, such as potatoes , have high concentrations of starch, as do maize and rice.

Most low-carbohydrate diet plans accommodate vegetables such as broccoli , spinach , cauliflower , and peppers. Nevertheless, debate remains as to whether restricting even just high-carbohydrate fruits, vegetables, and grains is truly healthy. Contrary to the recommendations of most low-carbohydrate diet guides, some individuals may choose to avoid vegetables altogether to minimize carbohydrate intake.

Low-carbohydrate vegetarianism is also practiced. Raw fruits and vegetables are packed with an array of other protective chemicals, such as vitamins, flavonoids , and sugar alcohols. Some of those molecules help safeguard against the over-absorption of sugars in the human digestive system.

Some evidence indicates the increasingly large percentage of calories consumed as refined carbohydrates is positively correlated with the increased incidence of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.

Some evidence indicates the human brain — the largest consumer of glucose in the body — can operate more efficiently on ketone bodies.

In , the Canadian government ruled that foods sold in Canada could not be marketed with reduced or eliminated carbohydrate content as a selling point, because reduced carbohydrate content was not determined to be a health benefit.

The government ruled that existing "low carb" and "no carb" packaging would have to be phased out by In , John Rollo reported on the results of treating two diabetic Army officers with a low-carbohydrate diet and medications. A very low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet was the standard treatment for diabetes throughout the nineteenth century. In , William Banting , a formerly obese English undertaker and coffin maker, published "Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public", in which he described a diet for weight control giving up bread , butter , milk , sugar , beer , and potatoes.

In the early s Frederick Madison Allen developed a highly restrictive short term regime which was described by Walter R. The process was halted if sugar appeared in the person's urine. In , Richard Mackarness M. Mackarness also challenged the "calorie theory" and referenced primitive diets such as the Inuit as examples of healthy diets with a low-carbohydrate and high-fat composition.

The "Stillman diet" is a high-protein , low-carbohydrate, and low-fat diet. It is regarded as one of the first low-carbohydrate diets to become popular in the United States. In , Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution , which advocated the low-carbohydrate diet he had successfully used in treating patients in the s having developed the diet from a article published in JAMA.

The concept of the glycemic index was developed in by David Jenkins to account for variances in speed of digestion of different types of carbohydrates. In the s, Atkins published an update from his book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution , and other doctors began to publish books based on the same principles. This has been said to be the beginning of what the mass media call the "low carb craze" in the United States.

In the United States, the diet has continued to garner attention in the medical and nutritional science communities, and also has inspired a number of hybrid diets that include traditional calorie-counting and exercise regimens.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 12 September Not to be confused with slow carb diet. This article is about low-carbohydrate diets as a lifestyle choice or for weight loss.

For low-carbohydrate dietary therapy for epilepsy, see Ketogenic diet. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources.