Eating Avocado May Help Prevent Risks Associated With Heart Disease

A new analysis of existing research shows that consuming the creamy fruit can help with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of diseases and symptoms that include heart disease and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

Researchers analyzed more than 100 published studies that examined how consuming avocado can affect individual aspects of metabolic syndrome. They found that avocado, along with avocado oil or even peel, may have protective effects on the heart, including lowering “bad” cholesterol, reducing hypertension and lowering risk of obesity.

An avocado-rich diet had the most positive effect on “good” HDL cholesterol levels and may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. That’s important because high levels of bad cholesterol is one of the biggest indicators of heart disease risk, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers also noted that…

6 of the Best Dietary Supplements for a Diabetic Diet—and 3 You Should Avoid

Should I take supplements?

From cinnamon and magnesium to herbal formulas claiming to smack down high blood sugar, “diabetes-friendly” supplements are popping up in health food stores and drugstores and in the medicine cabinets of more and more people with diabetes. More than 50 percent of people with diabetes say they’ve used dietary supplements, according to one 2011 study—and at least one in four has given herbal remedies a try. The big question: Should you?

6-of-the-Best-Dietary-Supplements-for-a-Diabetic-Diet,-and-3-You-Should-Avoid
Billion Photos/Shutterstock

“People with diabetes may be looking for something that seems less potent than a medication or something that will treat other health issues beyond blood sugar control, such as high cholesterol,” notes Laura Shane-McWhorter, PharmD, a University of Utah professor of pharmacotherapy and author of The American Diabetes Association Guide to Herbs & Nutritional Supplements: What You Need to Know from Aloe to Zinc. But experts are reluctant to recommend supplements to people with diabetes for two important health reasons. First, there’s virtually no research on long-term safety. Second, no supplement controls blood sugar as effectively as diabetes drugs (in combination with a healthy lifestyle). “There are no miracle treatments for diabetes,” Shane-McWhorter says. “The most important thing to know if you have diabetes is that no supplement will take care of it for you. Diabetes is a condition that can be well-controlled with a healthy lifestyle plus medication if needed. A supplement can’t replace those.” And new science is changing the supplement landscape. In consulting the latest research as well as supplement experts for this report on the best-studied and most…

How U.S. Farm Subsidies Could Be Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay ReporterTUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Americans get more than half of their daily calories from seven farm foods that are subsidized by the U.S. government, but a new study suggests those subsidies may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.The problem, according to the researchers: The biggest consumers of such food products are also much more likely to be obese, and to struggle with high cholesterol, high inflammation levels, or high blood sugar. The foods include grains, dairy, and livestock products.”We know that eating too many of these foods can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, we still didn’t expect to see such strong results when looking directly at the association between the consumption of subsidized foods and health,” said Edward Gregg. He is chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation with the U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.Gregg was not a part of the study. But, a team led by his colleague, Karen Siegel, reported the findings in the July 5 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.The researchers focused on seven leading commodities covered in the 1973 U.S. Farm Bill. Under that law, producers receive direct financial support from the federal government to grow or raise farm products that include corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, dairy and livestock.The goal is to ensure “a plentiful supply of food at reasonable prices,” given that domestic food production accounts for 80% of the food that Americans eat, Gregg explained.The…

Research aims to incorporate cardiorespiratory fitness measurements into clinical practice

A new Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association led by Queen’s University professor Robert Ross provides unequivocal evidence to confirm that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), a reflection of overall cardiovascular health, should be measured in clinical practice to provide additional information for patient management.

Decades of research have shown that CRF is a stronger predictor of mortality than established risk factors such as cigarette smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, and that low levels of CRF are associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, and mortality rates attributable to various cancers.

In addition to improved cardiovascular outcomes, higher…