April 20, 2012

Overweight? Here’s how
to avoid heart disease

If you’re overweight, your doctor has probably warned that you’re at a much higher risk of heart disease. In fact, you probably already have the first signs of it — high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It’s true that excess body fat is a major risk factor for heart disease. But two new studies suggest you don’t have to die of a heart attack.

Both studies looked at the impact of a fruit juice cocktail on major heart-disease risk factors. The results are stunning.

The first study examined the effects of increasing doses of the cocktail on the development of oxidized LDL cholesterol and markers of cell adhesion. The former, as you have read here, is the penultimate cause of so-called cholesterol damage to your arteries. The cholesterol must become oxidized before it’s dangerous! When it oxidizes, inflammatory cells can attach to your endothelial cells through adhesion molecules. These hot cells will inflict damage on the oxidized cholesterol they consider to be a foreign invader.

In this study, the cocktail dramatically lowered the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. And it dramatically lowered adhesion molecule markers as well. That’s impressive!

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But that’s not all this cocktail can do for your heart. In the second study, the same team looked at additional protective effects. The enzyme MMP-9 is a protein that degrades collagen. It’s implicated in the development of hypertension and atherosclerotic plaque rupture. This study found highly significant reduction in MMP-9 in men with abdominal obesity. This was the first such report on the effects in humans. More, there were improvements in the all important nitric oxide activity and in blood pressure with greater use of the cocktail.

So what was the main ingredient in this cocktail? None other than the superfood cranberries.

Cranberries are one of the most powerful berries around. You may know that cranberry juice is great for your bladder and urinary tract. But cranberries are good for your vascular system — and your entire body — as well.

What I find amazing about this study is that the researchers didn’t use the whole food (as I recommend) or even the juice. They used a cocktail containing the superfood. The researchers attributed all the effects to the cranberries. That means the cranberries came through in spite of the other ingredients in the cocktail.

I just love this. And, it’s a processed cocktail, not the whole food that did the job. Just imagine the benefits of the whole food if a juice cocktail has these effects. Imagine the splash on billboards if Pharma found a petrochemical statin to have these effects. But no, this is just a food, and if the growers tell you about it, the FDA will jail or fine them.

I don’t recommend the volumes of juice cocktail used in these studies. Over the 12-week period, the researchers increased volumes from 125 ml per day to 500 ml per day. The latter is a half-quart. Since it was a processed cocktail (albeit low calorie), there’ll likely be lots of unneeded constituents in it. Why not use the real McCoy — cranberries themselves?

Cranberries, as all berries, are a superfood. Here you see the powerful effects of nutrients you’ll only find in plants. If you’d prefer a great tasting combination of many of these superfoods, I strongly recommend Advanced Bionutritionals Advanced Greens Formula. It has cranberry extract as well as other incredible extracts of some of the world’s greatest superfoods. Please begin your quest for health with foods!

I took this greens formula with me on my arduous John Muir Trail trek last September. It rounded out the rest of my diet of raw nuts and seeds on the trail! It can help round out your diet as well. And if you’re overweight, it just might help you avoid a heart attack.

Ref: J Am Coll Nutr, 2009; 28(6); Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99(2).

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