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Do the French Know Something about Heart Disease We Don't?

The people in France have one of the lowest rates of heart disease of any country in the world. What makes that statement even more unusual is the diet of the French. It is high in sugars & fats. Vegetarianism is almost non-existent. They are also not worried about smoking or wine consumption. The prefect diet for arthrosclerosis and heart disease. Yet, their rate of cardiovascular disease is the lowest in the western world.

So what gives? The French have one of the highest consumptions of red wine in the world. Many smoke cigarettes. They also have some of the longest life expectancies. French red wine has a magic ingredient, oligomeric proanthocyanidine (OPC) in the grape seeds. This substance has amazing properties to protect the consumer against degenerative diseases, especially cardiovascular issues. (1) White wine doesn't offer this protection since the seeds do not remain in the white as it ferments.

Maybe adding red wine to your diet might be an answer, but there are some other things you can do for protection against cardiovascular disease. Nutritional deficiencies can be an issue. Some deficiencies in the diet can cause an amino acid called homocysteine to accumulate in the bloodstream. There is a direct relationship between high levels of homocysteine and the risks of strokes and heart attacks. Another indication of those at risk is low Vitamin C levels especially in smokers and elderly males.

Even taking a small amount of Vitamin E, about 25 IU a day, can counteract the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.  It can also stop the formation of blood clots. The Harvard University published two studies that demonstrated that people who took at least 100-750 IU of Vitamin E a day reduced their risk of heart disease substantially (2) Vitamin E can also protect against Drinker's Heart (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) (Oxidation of LDL means free radicals convert it to a free radical making it sticky inside your arteries.)

Other vitamins that can help with homocysteine include Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid. Studies show the lower the level of these vitamins, the higher the level of homocsyteine.

A high zinc intake can block the amount of copper that is absorbed by the body. Copper deficiency can cause damage to the heart and arteries. Just 3 mg of copper a day can lower LDL cholesterol and raise the good HDL. Levels of zinc and copper should be checked.

Magnesium levels also have a link to heart disease. Supplementing with magnesium can definitely reduce risk of cardiac arrest, angina and premature death. Seventeen coronary bypass patients were studied after surgery. Magnesium was found to aid in prevention of blood pressure increase caused by adrenaline. The magnesium prevented coronary artery constriction. (3)

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Footnotes:

(1) C. Kilham - OPC: The Miracle Antioxidant, 1997
(2) New England Journal of Medicine - 1993; 328: 1444-9
(3) Anaesthesiology, 1991: 74-973-9)

Source of information:

What Doctors Don't Tell You - Heart Disease by Harald Gaier

 

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2007 Donabee.com - All Rights Reserved  Last updated on Monday, November 19, 2007