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…

5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Glass of Wine Tonight

It seems like no one can get enough of red wine, scientists included; every day there seems to be another study touting the amazing benefits of the plum-colored beverage. Lucky for us, the proof is in the long-stemmed glass (just one, since drinking more may be detrimental to your health). Here are five reasons unwinding with a glass of red after a long day should be on your list of to-dos — one reason for every workday!

  1. It’s good for your heart: Antioxidants in red wine called flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and increasing the production of good cholesterol. According to researchers at the University of California, Davis, certain varietals have more concentrations of flavonoids than others. Of the most common red…

Heart risks from high saturated fat intake have been exaggerated, study finds

Researchers in Norway have found that elevated levels of saturated fat, as part of a very high-fat, low-carbohydrate (73% fat, 10% carb) diet (VHFLC), increase the health promoting form of cholesterol, HDL, without raising the harmful kind, LDL.

The topic of saturated fat continues to be contentious with this new randomised controlled trial, adding to a growing body of evidence that the diet-heart hypothesis from original research headed up by Ancel Keys is flawed.

The diet-heart hypothesis proposed that dietary saturated fat elevated blood cholesterol, and the latter drove heart disease mortality like nothing else.

The Norwegian study (FATFUNC), which compared the effects of VHFLC and a low fat, high carbohydrate diet on cholesterol after three months, found that both regimens reduced triglycerides, but only in the group with higher dietary saturated fat did HDL increase.

Why You Need to Be Eating Fat If You Want to Lose Weight

The secret to dropping pounds, reducing your risk of heart disease, and feeling better overall may just be filling your plate with fats. While eating more fat doesn’t mean drowning your veggies in butter, it does mean focusing on two types of “good” fats: MUFAs, or monounsaturated fats, and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats), which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Why are good fats so, well, good for you? For one, unsaturated fats contain disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin E, and have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping many of our body functions, like our immune system and heart, in top shape. If you’re trying to drop pounds here’s another important reasons to embrace good fats: MUFAS have been shown to help burn away belly fat.

While MUFAs and PUFAs reign supreme, a little bit of saturated fat in your diet may not be as bad as previously thought. Recent studies have suggested that saturated fats in foods like milk, cheese, and meat may not be as harmful as previously thought, after a analysis found no correlation between a high saturated fat diet and an increased risk of heart disease. Coconut oil, a plant-based saturated fat, has actually been shown to raise levels…

PCSK9 and HMGCR genetic variations that lower bad cholesterol affect risk of cardiovascular events

In a new study published in the December 1, 2016 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a collaboration of international researchers, studied variants in the genes encoding HMGCR (the target of statins) and PCSK9 (the target of PCSK9 inhibitors) that affect cholesterol levels, and found that variants that lowered LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol in each gene were associated with nearly identical protective effects on the risk of cardiovascular events per unit reduction in LDL cholesterol.

“PCSK9 inhibitors are currently available, but we still await the dedicated cardiovascular outcomes trials. Our findings suggest that treatment with a PCSK9 inhibitor, used either alone or in combination with a statin, should reduce the risk of cardiovascular events to the same degree as do statins per unit reduction in LDL cholesterol,” said Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH, Chairman of the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group,…

Should You Be on the DASH Diet?

This year’s trendy diet is actually not a diet at all. The DASH diet, which the US News and World Report routinely marks as the best overall diet every year, is actually a healthy-eating plan that includes sensible rules to cut salt, fats, and sugar and upping fruits and veggies in order to lower bad cholesterol levels and possibly lose weight. If you’re ready to try the diet that everyone’s talking about, read on for DASH’s highlights.

What Is the DASH Diet?

DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in order to help people lower blood pressure. While it’s not a diet that promises rapid weight loss, many people do find success in dropping pounds slowly while following the DASH diet by cutting out the types of high-sugar, high-fat foods that aren’t allowed on the diet.

How to Do the DASH

Luckily, the DASH diet doesn’t include any gimmicks, powders or snack bars — you just need fresh, whole foods and enough time to prepare healthy meals. In general, follow these guidelines:

  1. First, estimate how many calories you’ll need to maintain weight. For example, the DASH diet recommends that a sedentary 30-year-old woman eat…