healtheo360 Wellness Blog

Move Over Statins: Legumes Are Nature’s Cholesterol Busters

Posted by healtheo360 on Apr 7, 2014 4:43:38 PM
iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- A serving of legumes a day may keep bad cholesterol at bay, a new study has found.

Researchers in the United States and Canada have found that daily consumption of non-oil-seed legumes – like chickpeas, lentils or peas – can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” and cut the risk of heart disease.

People who ate one three-quarter-cup serving of legumes daily had a 5-percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels – a decrease that suggests a 5- to 6-percent reduced risk of major vascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

“Legumes are generally considered healthy, but there [are no guidelines] about their intake from public policy officials,” said Dr. John Sievenpiper of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center in Canada, lead author of the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Sievenpiper added that “legumes can complement statins” in the fight against cholesterol, serving as a crucial ingredient in “a healthy diet portfolio” for the general population, regardless of heart disease.

Nutritionists and preventive cardiologists not involved in the research said the new findings were noteworthy.

“It is a well-known fact that high-soluble, fiber-rich foods, like legumes, produce significant effects on LDL numbers and actually add to the cholesterol-lowering effects of statins,” said Dr. Chip Lavie, medical director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Preventive Cardiology at Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in Louisiana.

Lavie added that while a 5-percent reduction may not seem huge, studies show that for every 1 percent fall in cholesterol, there is a 1- to 2-percent fall in cardiovascular risk.

“People should seriously think about adopting legumes in their diet,” he said. “The LDL-lowering effect aside, it’s a healthy thing to be doing, anyway.”

Dr. Walter Willett, a nutritionist and epidemiologist at The Harvard School of Public Health, agreed.

“[The study] appears to be a useful summary of the literature on metabolic effects of legume consumption and suggests that there are benefits, especially if beans or other legumes replace red meat,” Willett said.

There may be another benefit, as well – to the environment. Willett said that if more Americans replaced some of the red meat they eat with legumes, it could cut greenhouse gas production and other adverse environmental effects linked to livestock production.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Double Duty Drug: Statins May Fight MS

Posted by healtheo360 on Mar 22, 2014 3:14:46 PM

Jaykayl/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cholesterol-busting statins may have an unexpected benefit for patients with multiple sclerosis, a new study found.

Researchers in the U.K. studied 140 patients diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease, known as secondary progressive MS. They found that high doses of statins -- about double the average amount that patients take to keep their cholesterol levels in check -- reduced the rate of brain shrinkage in these patients.

“I see hundreds of patients with secondary progressive MS in my clinic,” said Dr. Jeremy Chataway, a neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London and lead author of the study, published Tuesday in The Lancet.

“These patients are physically disabled and have no treatment,” Chataway added, calling the study ”an exciting first step.”

Statin treatment led to a 43 percent reduction in the rate of brain shrinkage in the patients in the study, according to Chataway. The hope is that putting the brakes on this shrinkage will slow the progression toward physical disability.

Neurology experts not involved with the research said the new findings are promising -- but preliminary.

“Patients with secondary progressive MS are usually a step away from a cane, or already bed-bound or in a wheelchair,” said Dr. John Cobroy, professor of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The study is both well-executed and interesting, he said, but added that he feels the results should be further analyzed in advanced trials before doctors rush to give statins to all patients with MS.

While past research has suggested that the anti-inflammatory properties of statins may curb the damage in the brain seen in MS, researchers are still steps away from a full understanding of this relationship. Still, if statins -- a widely used drug with a good safety profile -- prove to have benefits against MS as well, they may be a welcome option against a disease for which treatments are so sparse.

This study “gives us first indications for treating and helping restore what’s potentially lost,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “It’s proof of concept that you can take an existing strategy and repurpose it to target something else.”Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Heart Disease Patients: Benefit from Low-Dose Statins

Posted by healtheo360 on Feb 10, 2014 9:48:10 AM

 

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The War Against Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Posted by healtheo360 on Nov 25, 2013 5:12:31 PM

America's Heart Problem

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Lower Cholesterol: Make 5 Lifestyle Changes

Posted by healtheo360 on Nov 13, 2013 11:48:04 AM

Cholesterol has long been seen as a villain for heart health, but our understanding of this beast is changing. New recommendations suggest that risk factors should determine who should receive drugs called statins to lower cholesterol levels, and who should simply make lifestyle changes to combat the problem.

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