September 1, 2007
How Low Can You Go?
Type-2 diabetes has become common among not just Americans, but people worldwide. However, it might be a condition that’s more easily rectified. According to new research from the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Vienna, Austria, all it could take is a small reduction in blood pressure.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled study called ADVANCE, 11,140 patients received either a placebo or a single pill containing a fixed combination of an ACE inhibitor (perindopril) and a thiazide-like diuretic (indapamide). While the reduction in blood pressure was modest — an average of 5.6/2.2 mm. Hg — at 4.3 years, the treated group had a relative risk reduction of 14% for coronary heart disease events, 18% for cardiovascular deaths, 14% for deaths of any cause and 21% for developing new or worsening kidney disease.
Stephen MacMahon, who worked on the study, calculates that one death could be avoided among every 78 patients treated for five years. Treatment such as this could prevent as many as 1.5 million deaths, even if given to just half of the world’s diabetics, MacMahon explained.
As the American Heart Association points out, the majority of diabetic deaths are due to cardiovascular disease.
“Having diabetes alone elevates an individual’s risk to the same level as having coronary artery disease itself, and this means that we and our patients must work together to control all risk factors as well as possible,” says Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.
He continues, “We spend both great effort and considerable financial resources in trying to treat diabetes effectively, and here is a simple solution. Just lower the blood pressure!”
For more information about diabetes and blood pressure, visit www.AmericanHeart.org.
Putting Almonds Out to ‘Pasteur’
Nuts often are in the news these days, usually for their link to childhood allergies. However, the latest headline to hit newsstands is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to pasteurize California almonds.
According to the Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group based in Cornucopia, Wis., the USDA developed this plan in response to outbreaks of salmonella in 2001 and 2004 that were traced to almonds. However, raw produce and nuts are not inherently risky for foodborne illness, despite recent contaminations of California-grown spinach and lettuce, the institute points out.
That said, the USDA’s plan creates other health concerns. To pasteurize the almonds, for instance, the product would be treated with toxic fumigants or go through a high-temperature sterilization process, the institute notes.
“The almond ‘pasteurization’ plan will have many harmful impacts on consumers and the agricultural community,” says research director Will Fantle. “Only 18 public comments from the entire U.S. — and all from almond industry insiders — were received on the proposal. The logic behind both the necessity and the safety of the treatments processes has not been fully or adequately analyzed, as well as the economic costs to small-scale growers and the loss of consumer choices.”
Perhaps as a result of these concerns, several domestic companies that use California almonds already are investigating foreign sources of the nut. The equipment required to meet the USDA’s mandate is expensive, as would be outsourcing the process.
For more information, visit www.cornucopia.org and click on The Authentic Almond Project.
By the Book
If there were a simple cure for obesity, then 66% of American adults wouldn’t be overweight, increasing their risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. However, changing a few of the foods we eat and the way we prepare them might be the answer, at least according to George Mateljan.
The organic food guru and Health Valley Foods founder recently authored a book that attempts to identify “The World’s Healthiest Foods.” Here, Mateljan reveals how you can energize your life in just four weeks by eating foods that contain the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for the least number of categories … and still taste great. He even promises a healthier heart, better memory and an improvement in your hair and skin as a result.
Mateljan’s tips include:
• Eating fresh fruit with each meal to help the digestive process
• Adding fish, shellfish, flaxseeds or walnuts to one meal each day for anti-inflammatory protection
• Reducing consumption of refined sugars, which can lead to reduced immune system function
• Reducing consumption of refined grains, which can lead to blood sugar elevations. (This suggestion, however, isn’t popular with bakers.)
For more information about the book, visit www.WHFoods.org.