610,000. That is the average number of people in the United States that die from heart disease every year. Globally, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death.
In 2015, en estimated 17.7 million people were affected, which represented 31 percent of all deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to a stroke.
With close to 25 percent of the population taking statin medications and many additionally follow a reduced fat diet, how death by heart disease increases each year? We are all being lied to about heart health.
These are the words from a heart surgeon as he speaks out on the true cause for heart disease.
Dr. Dwight Lundell is working to ‘write the wrong with medical and scientific fact.’ This heart surgeon is, with at least 25 years of experience, the author of ‘The Cure for Heart Disease’ and The Great Cholesterol Lie’ and past chief of staff and chief of surgery at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa AZ.
In 2012, Dr. Lundell wrote an article that was published in Prevent Disease. Lundell shares his newfound understanding that a healthy lifestyle, which includes natural, whole and unprocessed foods, is what prevent and reverses heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
In his powerful confession, Lundell recalls his two and a half misguided decades as a cardiac surgeon, where he prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications and recommended a low-fat diet. He admits that he has realized the folly of his ways. Lundell has since stopped practicing and has dedicated his career to heart disease prevention.
“We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years’ experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact”.
What Really Causes Heart Disease
Your body is made up of an intricate set of systems, one function is that it is equipped with the ability to protect and heal itself from harm, but this ability is also a concealed weapon since it is also the root cause to almost every disease imaginable.
Your body’s natural defense system, designed to take out foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation is natural and essential in both protecting and healing. As Dr. Lundell states in his article, “chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial”.
Our level of inflammation does not appear from thin air. It is something that is manifesting from our choice of lifestyle.
Your daily habits either feed or extinguish this inflammation fire. In our modern world, we are chronically exposed to toxins that our body was never evolved to process.
Many of us are unknowingly feeding our inflammation and we are doing so by following the recommendations outlined by those responsible for our healthcare system and government. Not knowingly, many of us are causing repeated injury to our blood vessels while purchasing these heart and stroke approved nutrient—lacking low fat products.
Fats Are Not the Enemy
As Dr. Lundell reveals, this injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet that have been recommended for years by mainstream medicine. In addition to consuming and excess of carbohydrates coming from flours and sugar, and the thousands of products containing these ingredients, we are also consuming far too many omega-6 rich foods, which are coming from vegetable oils such as corn, soy, canola, peanut, sunflower and safflower.
Flour, sugar and vegetable oils? These are but the three ultimate key ingredients in the recipe for almost every packaged product on your supermarket shelf – and dare I say – you will even find them in the organic and natural varieties.
Organic vegetable oils, sugar and flour are not better for you. While they may not be GMO and are void of toxic chemicals and pesticides, an organic certification does not equal a nutritionally wealthy product.
If you read the ingredients label on a conventional or organic, at least 80 percent of the time you will find a vegetable oil in that list, such as canola, corn, soy, peanuts, safflower, sunflower, etc. As innocent as it may look, oils are super concentrated sources of fat, and oil intake adds up quickly when you remember that it is found in almost 80 percent of our pre-made foods.
Omega 6 fatty acids are essential for your wellbeing, as your body cannot produce them and they must be obtained from our food choices. Omega 6 is a part of every cells membrane and it controls what goes in and out of the cell, however, omega 6 must be in the correct balance with omega 3, which is an even more essential fatty acid, which a majority of the population is deficient of.
When our intake of omega 6 is out of balance with omega 3, the membranes of our cells produce chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Imbalances of omega 6 and omega 3 range from 15 to 1 as high as 30 to 1.
These ratios might not display the magnitude of our imbalance now, but it is a fact that the optimal omega 6 / omega 3 ratio is actually 3 to 1. With an imbalance so immense, that is a lot of cytokines creating inflammation in our population.
What makes matters worse, any excess weight that you are carrying from eating these foods also creates overloaded fat cells that release large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar.
It starts with an innocent handful of potato chips and a chocolate chip cookie and it turns into a vicious cycle that over time, creates heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes as the inflammation fire grows. There is no justification for the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we feed the fire, little by little each day.
Try to Visualize the Damage Being Done
Take a moment a picture a fresh pad of steel wool. Now visualize yourself slowly rubbing this abrasive sponge over your soft skin until it becomes tender, red and nearly bleeding. If you could tolerate this form of pain and repeated the action, the area would swell, bleed and become infected after the repeated harm.
This uncomfortable visualization is a good way to conceptualize the inflammatory process that could be taking place inside your body right now.
Whether the inflammation takes place internally or externally, the process is still the same. Foods that we consume create miniscule damage, but just as in the steel wool effect, over time the miniscule damage creates small injuries compounding into more injuries, which results in adding to the wild-fire to inflammation.
Sugar and Inflammation
We are already accustomed to the fact that sugar is sweet poison. But what does it play in inflammation? When we consume our favorite simple carbohydrate, whether that be the vanilla syrup in your latte or the after lunch chocolate box, our body digests these carbohydrates into smaller and simpler forms such as glucose.
Once glucose molecules make their way into the bloodstream, the pancreas secretes insulin hormones to push this glucose into cells for energy. Insulin works to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood.
If a cell is already full and does not need glucose, the glucose will be rejected. When glucose is rejected from entering the cell, blood sugar rises, producing more insulin and now extra glucose is converted to and stored as fat.
When blood sugar levels remain high for longer periods of time, the blood vessels are not able to fully relax or dilate. Sugar molecules have the ability to attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off the inflammation.
The passage of blood becomes more difficult due to inflammation, leading to cardiovascular damage. Poor circulation due to damaged blood vessels increases the risk of a stroke and heart attacks.
Regenerate and Repair
We can put the inflammatory fire out. What we choose to consume directly affects our health and well-being and it is time to put more attention on how food choices affect our bodies and how quickly they add up. Start by choosing more foods that are as close to their natural states as possible.
Make vegetables the first focus, consume fresh vegetables in every color of the rainbow with each and every meal and put an emphasis on leafy greens! Include low-glycemic fruits such as berries for their antioxidant content and enjoy fruit in more moderate amounts.
Eliminate all forms of vegetable oil, such as the previously mentioned soy, canola, corn, peanut, safflower, sunflower, etc., organic or not. Keep in mind: one tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use coconut oil or pasture-raised butter. Yes, Butter.
Animal fats actually contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the touted ‘healthy oils’ labelled polyunsaturated. It’s time to forget the “science” that has been programmed into your head.
As Dr. Lundell states “the science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today”.
This theory about the cholesterol led into the no-fat, low-fat trend that in turn has created the very foods that are causing this epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat and replace it with oils that are high in omega 6.
Choose whole food ingredients that your grandmother used to cook food with. Avoid pre-made foods and convenience products that you find all over the supermarket aisles, this is not real food.
By eliminating inflammatory foods and including more whole fresh options, you are increasing your nutrient intake and are working to reverse years of damage done to your arteries.
Remember that food is our most simple building block in our body, making up every cell. You literally are what you eat, and your choices play a huge role in creating either further damage or regeneration and repair.
Tips To Keep Your Heart Beating
Choose the Right Oils/Fats
Avoid vegetable oils at all costs. Switch to a grass fed better, coconut oil or avocado oil for all cooking purposes and use olive oil, hemp oil and walnut oil in cold dishes.
Get In Animal Based Omega-3
Sufficient intake of omega 3 is essential; remember that goal of a 3 to 1 ratio. Consume whole food omega 3 sources such as wild salmon, arctic cod, Atlantic haddock, Pollock, Atlantic mackerel, freshwater trout.
These are the lowest foods with mercury levels. Hemp, flax, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and seaweeds are also some examples of plant based sources; however, these ‘ALA’ sources of omega 3 have been researched and clearly indicate that the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited.
Less than 5 percent of ALA gets converted to EPA and less than 0.5 percent of ALA is converted into DHA.
Optimize Your Insulin Levels
Look into testing your fasting insulin levels with your healthcare provider. If your fasting insulin level is not lower than 3, consider increasing your healthy fat intake and limiting or eliminating grains and sugars until your level is below 3.
Be In Movement
Get your daily walks in and take part in any form of exercise that suits your individual needs, whether that might be yoga, weight training, trail walking, pilates, biking or anything else. Movement is essential for all aspects of health and well-being. You don’t have to buy a gym membership to move and you do not need lift weights to work out.
Create Healthy Outlets for Stress and Negative Emotions
High levels of stress hormones can release excess inflammatory chemicals, in order to resolve the stress and any past or current emotional challenges create a healthy outlet for you. Whether it be through exercise, yoga, journaling, drawing, meditation, take time to recharge.
Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D inhibits inflammation, and many of us are deficient in this hormone-vitamin. It is best when it is obtained directly from the sun, thus aim to get at least 20 unprotected minutes when the weather allows it.
For those of us with a snowy winter supplementation of 4,000 to 6,000 IU daily is essential.
Currently our most clinically studied herb for inflammation I turmeric. While there are many people mentioning it, it is still a powerful one to begin with.
Turmerics active ingredient is called curcumin, which has been linked to many health benefits. It is a natural antioxidant and it has anti-inflammatory properties that support, not only cardiovascular health, but the health of every organ in the body and the whole system altogether.