Daily intake of garlic may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, says a researchers from Shandong University in China. Compared with placebo groups, garlic consumption is associated with a 5.4% reduction in cholesterol levels and a 6.5% reduction in triglyceride levels.
“Although the size of the effect is modest, garlic therapy should benefit patients with risk of cardiovascular diseases, as garlic may also reduce blood pressure, decrease plasma viscosity, etc.,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Garlic has been suggested to exhibit several health benefits, including inhibiting enzymes involved in lipid synthesis, decreasing platelet aggregation, preventing lipid peroxidation and increasing antioxidant status.
Garlic comes in different forms, including garlic powder (doses ranging from 600 mg to 900 mg per day), garlic oil (8.2 mg to 15 mg per day), or aged garlic extract (1.8 mg to 7.2 mg per day).
The most pronounced cholesterol-lowering effects were observed for garlic powder, while garlic oil produced the best triglyceride-lowering effects.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Increased intakes of fatty fish may reduce a woman’s risk of heart failure by up to 30%, according to new findings from the U.S. and Sweden.
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are well documented. To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements and improved vascular function.
This study adds to previous data in men from the same researchers and published in the European Heart Journal (Vol. 30, pp. 1495-1500). That study, said to be one of the largest studies to investigate the association between omega-3 intake from fatty fish and heart failure, found that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart failure by 33%.
Heart failure, which arises when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, is the leading cause of hospitalization among the over-65s, and is characterized by such symptoms as fatigue and weakness, difficulty walking, rapid or irregular heartbeat and persistent cough or wheezing.
In this study, the researchers analyzed data from 36,234 women participating in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Dietary intake data for the women, aged between 48 and 83, was obtained using 96-item food-frequency questionnaires.
Over the course of 18 years of study, 651 cases of heart failure were documented. Eating one serving of fatty fish per week was associated with a 14% reduction in the risk of heart failure, compared with women who did not eat any fatty fish. Furthermore, eating two servings of fatty fish per week was associated with a 30% reduction.
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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 62(6): 935-936, 2010
I am definitely not convinced that saturated-fat consumption leads to heart disease. In fact, I see the exact opposite!
Authors of the MR-FIT trial were determined to prove the case. They enrolled 350,000 men, all of whom were considered at high risk of heart disease. In one set of participants, cholesterol consumption was reduced by 42%, saturated fat by 28%, and total calories by 21%.
What happened? Nothing. The authors referred to the results as “disappointing,” stating that “The overall results do not show a beneficial effect on Coronary Heart Disease or total mortality from this multifactor intervention.”
The Women’s Health Initiative was a huge government study, costing almost three quarters of a billion dollars. Among 20,000 women in the study who adhered to a diet low saturated fat diet for eight years, there was no reduction in the rates of heart-disease or stroke.
Then there was the Cochrane Collaboration, in 2000. This group rigorously selected 27 low-fat and cholesterol-lowering trials to review (more than 200 trials were rejected). Their conclusion was that diets low in saturated fat have “no significant effect” on heart attack mortality. Lead researcher Lee Hooper, PhD, said “I was disappointed that we didn’t find something more definitive.”
More recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a review of 21 studies. The studies ranged from 5 to 23 years in length and encompassed 347,747 subjects. In the authors’ own words: “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD.”