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Functional Medicine®

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Functional Medicine Explained

Improper Nutrition Tied to Heart Disease, Diabetes

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Nearly half of all deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes in the United States are associated with diets that skimp on certain foods and nutrients, such as vegetables, and exceed optimal levels of others, like salt, a new study finds.

Using available studies and clinical trials, researchers identified 10 dietary factors with the strongest evidence of a protective or harmful association with death due to “cardiometabolic” disease.

“It wasn’t just too much ‘bad’ in the American diet; it’s also not enough ‘good,'” said lead author Renata Micha. “Americans are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, vegetable oils or fish,” she said.

Micha is an assistant research professor at the Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.

Data Reveals Overwhelming Statistics

The researchers used data from multiple national sources to examine deaths from cardiometabolic diseases — heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — in 2012, and the role that diet may have played.

“In the U.S. in 2012, we observed about 700,000 deaths due to those diseases,” Micha said. “Nearly half of these were associated with suboptimal intakes of the 10 dietary factors combined.”

Too much salt in people’s diets was the leading factor, accounting for nearly 10 percent of cardiometabolic deaths, according to the analysis.

The study identifies 2,000 milligrams a day, or less than 1 teaspoon of salt, as the optimal amount. While experts don’t agree on how low to go, there is broad consensus that people consume too much salt, Micha noted. Other key factors in cardiometabolic death included low intake of nuts and seeds, seafood omega-3 fats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and high intake of processed meats (such as cold cuts) and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Each of these factors accounted for between 6 percent and 9 percent of deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“Optimal” intake of foods and nutrients was based on levels associated with lower disease risk in studies and clinical trials. Micha cautioned that these levels are not conclusive. Optimal intake “could be modestly lower or higher,” she explained.

Low consumption of polyunsaturated fats (found in soybean, sunflower and corn oils) accounted for just over 2 percent of cardiometabolic deaths, according to the study. High consumption of unprocessed red meats (such as beef) was responsible for less than one half of 1 percent of these deaths, the analysis showed.

The take-home message: “Eat more of the good and less of the bad,” Micha said.

Proper Nutrition for Optimal Health

Vegetable intake, for example, was considered optimal at four servings per day. That would be roughly equivalent to 2 cups of cooked or 4 cups of raw veggies, she said. Fruit intake was deemed optimal at three daily servings: “For example, one apple, one orange and half of an average-size banana,” she continued.

“And eat less salt, processed meats, and sugary-sweetened beverages,” she said.

The study also found that poor diet was associated with a larger proportion of deaths at younger versus older ages, among people with lower versus higher levels of education, and among minorities versus whites. Dr. Ashkan Afshin is acting assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“I commend the current study’s authors for exploring sociodemographic factors, like ethnicity and education, and their role in the relationship of diet with cardiometabolic disease,” said Afshin, who was not involved in the study. “This is an area that deserves more attention so that we may fully understand the connection between diet and health,” he said.

The study doesn’t prove that improving your diet reduces risk of death from heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but suggests that dietary changes may have an impact.

“It is important to know which dietary habits affect health the most so that people can make healthy changes in how they eat and how they feed their families,” Afshin said.

The study was published March 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an accompanying journal editorial, researchers from Johns Hopkins University urged caution in interpreting the findings.

According to Noel Mueller and Dr. Lawrence Appel, the results may be biased by the number of dietary factors included, the interaction of dietary factors and the authors’ “strong assumption” that evidence from observational studies implies a cause-and-effect relationship.

Still, the editorialists concluded that the likely benefits of an improved diet “are substantial and justify policies designed to improve diet quality.”

SOURCES: Renata Micha, R.D., Ph.D., assistant research professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston; Ashkan Afshin, M.D., Sc.D., acting assistant professor of global health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle; March 7, 2017, Journal of the American Medical Association

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

Additional Topics: Weight Loss Eases Back Pain

Back pain and symptoms of sciatica can affect a majority of the population throughout their lifetime. Research studies have demonstrated that people who are overweight or obese experience more back complications than people with a healthy weight. A proper nutrition along with regular physical fitness can help with weight loss as well as help maintain a healthy weight to eliminate symptoms of back pain and sciatica. Chiropractic care is also another natural form of treatment which treats back pain and sciatica utilizing manual spinal adjustments and manipulations.

TRENDING TOPIC: EXTRA EXTRA: New PUSH 24/7®️ Fitness Center

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We a focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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