Food and Heart-Health

It seems as though every day you read something new about the health properties of a specific food. The problem is that every day the advice changes. Caffeine: is it good for your heart or bad for your heart? What about dairy products? Another day, another opinion.

In an effort to make sense of all the conflicting opinions, the American College of Cardiology’s Nutrition and Lifestyle Workgroup conducted a meta-analysis of nutritional studies. Their goal: to determine a scientific consensus about a variety of foods that have received contradictory recommendations.

The results, which appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, focused on heart health. Here are the verdicts:

Foods that are Bad for the Heart

The meta-analysis found scientific evidence of harm from these foods, and recommend limiting or avoiding them:

Added Sugars were found to promote atherosclerosis and increase cardiovascular risk.

Energy Drinks were found to increase blood pressure and risk of arrhythmias.

Foods that are Good for the Heart

The meta-analysis found scientific evidence of benefit from these foods, and recommend partaking of them:

Legumes are a heart healthy source of protein and fiber.

Coffee in moderation reduces the risk of stroke, diabetes, and digestive diseases.

Tea improves the health of arteries, reverses dysfunction of blood vessels, and reduces cholesterol.

Mushrooms are beneficial because of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Alcohol in moderation has anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory properties.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, whether plant-based or marine-based, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin B12 should be supplemented in people who are deficient.

Foods We Just Don’t Know About

Dairy Products are a source of minerals and vitamins, but also of saturated fat and salt.

Fermented Foods and Seaweed have not been studied well enough to provide definitive evidence, although it seems that they improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.

Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including dieticians, who give each client the coordinated care they need. Moreover, to ensure optimal health for our participants, we also serve them nutritious meals daily.

We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.

Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.

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