Friday October 19, 2018

Health and Wellness: A mediterranean diet can reduce risk of heart disease

Astonishingly, a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of death even if you already have a history of cardiovascular disease. Read to know more

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Mediterranean food. Image Source: Wikimedia commons
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  • Cholesterol-lowering statins have long been thought of as the most effective way to treat heart disease
  • Experts say that even for those taking statins, adopting a Mediterranean diet could add further health benefits
  • A Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of death even if you already have a history of cardiovascular disease

For some patients with heart disease, a Mediterranean diet could better treat their condition than cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, according to a recent study.

A Mediterranean diet favors fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil over red meat, dairy products and processed foods.

Speaking at a global heart disease conference in Rome, an Italian expert said the study sought to answer a specific question.

“So far research has focused on the general population, which is mainly composed of healthy people,” said Professor Giovanni de Gaetano, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Italy. “What happens to people who have already suffered from cardiovascular disease? Is the Mediterranean diet optimal for them too?”

For the study, the researchers looked at 1,200 Italians with a history of heart disease over a period of seven years. What they found is those who adhered more closely to a Mediterranean diet were less likely to be among the 208 people who died during the course of the study.

After adjusting to age, sex, socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, the researchers found that people who ate a mostly Mediterranean diet had a 37 percent less chance of dying during the study period.

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Cholesterol-lowering statins have long been thought of as the most effective way to treat heart disease, which kills nearly 615,000 Americans annually. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 28 percent of Americans over 40 were taking some kind of statin when surveyed in 2011 and 2012.

Statins are popular worldwide and several studies have shown they can lower cholesterol levels, reducing the likelihood of major heart problems.

Experts say that even for those taking statins, adopting a Mediterranean diet could add further health benefits.

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“It is good to know that even if you already have a history of cardiovascular disease, adhering to a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of death, said Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper.

“This study suggests that even if you are already receiving medical care, if you add a Mediterranean diet, it will have further benefit. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even if you have had a heart attack or stroke is really important and continues to benefit you.” (VOA)

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Farmers To Grow Modified Cotton With Its Seed Edible

Many of the world’s roughly 80 cotton-producing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, have populations that face malnutrition that could be addressed with the new plant

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Cotton
An experimental cotton plant is shown at a Texas A&M research facility in this handout image provided by the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in College Station, Texas, U.S. VOA

U.S. regulators have cleared the way for farmers to grow a cotton plant genetically modified to make the cottonseed edible for people, a protein-packed potential new food source that could be especially useful in cotton-growing countries beset with malnutrition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Tuesday lifted the regulatory prohibition on cultivation by farmers of the cotton plant, which was developed by Texas A&M University scientists. The plant’s cottonseed cannot be used as food for people or as animal feed yet in the United States because it lacks Food and Drug Administration approval.

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Cotton plant. pixabay

Cotton is widely grown around the world, with its fiber used to make textiles and the cottonseed used among other things to feed animals such as cattle and sheep that have multiple stomach chambers. Ordinary cottonseed is unfit for humans and many animals to eat because it contains high levels of gossypol, a toxic chemical.

With financial help from a cotton industry group, scientists led by Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist Keerti Rathore used so-called RNAi, or RNA interference, technology to “silence” a gene, virtually eliminating gossypol from the cottonseed. They left gossypol at natural levels in the rest of the plant because it guards against insects and disease.

“To me, personally, it tastes somewhat like chickpea and it could easily be used to make a tasty hummus,” Rathore said of gossypol-free cottonseed.

After cottonseed oil, which can be used for cooking, is extracted, the remaining high-protein meal from the new cotton plant can find many uses, Rathore said.

Cotton
If all of the cottonseed currently produced worldwide were used for human nutrition, it could meet the daily protein requirements of about 575 million people. Pixabay

It can be turned into flour for use in breads, tortillas and other baked goods and used in protein bars, while whole cottonseed kernels, roasted and salted, can be consumed as a snack or to create a peanut butter type of paste, Rathore added.

If all of the cottonseed currently produced worldwide were used for human nutrition, it could meet the daily protein requirements of about 575 million people, Rathore said.

Other countries would have to give regulatory approval for the new cotton plant to be grown, though U.S. regulatory action often is taken into consideration.

Also Read: Food Cooked on The Barbecue Can Impair Your Lungs

The new cottonseed’s biggest commercial use may be as feed for poultry, swine and farmed aquatic species like fish and shrimp, Rathore said.

Many of the world’s roughly 80 cotton-producing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, have populations that face malnutrition that could be addressed with the new plant, Rathore added. (VOA)