Most people over age 30 know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels fairly well. But how many even know what homocysteine is, much less their blood level of homocysteine?
Doctors don't give routine tests for homocysteine because - get this - there are currently no pharmaceutical drugs to lower this dangerous compound. And dangerous is an understatement. According to Dr. Ben Kim, homocysteine levels are believed to be one of the best objective indicators of how long you are going to live.
A high blood level of homocysteine is a reliable risk factor for each of the following:
•Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
•Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
•Thyroid-related health challenges
•Neurological conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
I spoke with a woman who had recently experienced a stroke. She told me her cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure levels were all normal. Apparently, the only indicator for her stroke was her very high level of homocysteine.
In other words, we should know what our homocysteine level is and we should know how to keep it low.
Which is why I delighted to see a study about how diet influences homocysteine (click here to read the abstract from the Journal of Nutrition).
Researchers examined the diets and homocysteine levels of 872 men and women aged 18 to 60 years old. Based on their diet pattern, participants were categorized into diet "groups". Those who consumed the most plant protein were significantly less likely to have high levels of homocysteine, with a higher intake of plant protein having a protective role against homocysteine.
Conversely, the high animal protein diet was positively associated with high homocysteine levels, or "hyperhomocystemia". In fact, participants who consumed the most animal protein were over twice as likely to have high homocysteine levels as those who consumed the least.
According to researchers: "A diet rich in fruits and uncooked vegetables decreased the risk of hyperhomocysteinemia, whereas diets rich in red meat, chicken, and tea with milk were positively associated with hyperhomocysteinemia (high homocysteine levels)."
So find out what your homocysteine level is - and take action as necessary!
I've often been asked to do one-on-one nutrition counseling, but could never find the time. Now that my daughter is school-age, I'm finding I not only have the time, but the desire to help people at a more practical level.
The good news is we don't have to live in the same region to do personalized nutrition counseling: email and the phone are great! So here's my official announcement to all of you, dear blog readers. (By the way, if you are interested, email me quickly, as I am only taking on a limited amount of clients.)
Do you feel like you need extra help and accountability with your nutrition habits?
Need support and personalized advice – or someone to bounce questions off of?
Want a partner to help you lose weight and improve your health?
Fiber-Girl to the rescue!
I am now offering personalized nutrition counseling for individuals and families via phone and internet!
You can choose from a one-time, 45-minute consultation ($45) or choose from the following packages:
• Two 45-minute sessions in one month ($80)
• Four 45-minute sessions over 2 months ($150)
• Six 45-minute sessions over 3 months ($220)
• Eight 45-minute sessions over 4 months ($290)
Packages include weekly recipes and copy of Free to Eat book
Email me for a free 20-minute phone consultation to see if this is for you! Bronwyn@fibergirl.com
Lord knows, there's more than enough breast cancer in the world. And we know that girls who enter puberty early are at greater risk for breast cancer. Now a study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition tells us how diet influences the time of puberty onset...
Researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, followed young girls throughout their early lives, reviewing their diets at age 3, 7 and 10 years old. Girls who consumed the most meat were more likely to enter puberty early (before age 12) compared with those who consumed the least meat. Specifically, girls who ate the most meat at age 7 were 75% more likely to begin puberty before age 12 than the girls who ate the least meat.
In the words of the researchers: "These data suggest that higher intakes of protein and meat in early to mid-childhood may lead to earlier menarche. This may have implications for the lifetime risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis."
Here's to preventing breast cancer early!
A new study in the Journal of Nutrition this month (June 2010), reveals the power of pistachios.
Researchers put 28 adults with high cholesterol on three different diets to observe the effect of pistachios on blood cholesterol, specifically LDL, or bad, cholesterol that had been oxidized. Oxidized LDL cholesterol is what creates plaque in arteries and is most associated with heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. (Free radicals cause LDL cholesterol to become oxidized, and so antioxidant nutrients also help prevent oxidation.)
Study participants followed a lower-fat diet without pistachios, then switched to a higher-fat diet with one or two servings of pistachios each day. When the pistachios were consumed, participants had significantly higher blood levels of antioxidant nutrients lutein, alpha-carotene and β-carotene, as well as lower levels of oxidized and total LDL cholesterol.
Including pistachios in a healthy diet prevents heart disease and stroke by lowering oxidized LDL cholesterol and naturally increasing antioxidant nutrients. And since studies show pistachios and other nuts don't cause weight gain (refer to past blog post More Nuts Please), we are free to eat pistachios!