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If you’re planning to clean out your body for spring, wait until you see why experts are divided over detox diets, cleansing juices, and fasting. Whole foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best bet for your heart. The jury is still out on potential health benefits of detox diets because evidence is scant. If you eliminate foods that cause your gut to react unfavorably, “you will give your digestive system a well-earned rest,” he says. However, Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, a professor of nutrition at Boston University and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that as long as you’re healthy, your body’s own detox systems — lungs, liver, kidneys, and skin — will do their jobs quite well on their own. Blake believes some detox diets, like the one that calls for buttered coffee, which is high in saturated, animal-based fat, could actually be harmful to your heart. Rid your diet of all animal products — including dairy and animal-derived fats — added sugar, and processed foods, Esselstyn says.
There are pros and cons to fasting, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, MPH, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss Prescription, an assistant professor at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda Maryland, and an attending physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In animal research studies, intermittent fasting — one day on, one day off — protected rats against oxidative damage to their hearts, according to results published in March 2015 in the journal PLOS One.
A cleansing diet that involves just juicing isn’t as good as it seems, even if it includes lots of healthy celery and beets, which are natural detoxification aids, says Esselstyn. The problem is that juicing is actually processing the fruits and vegetables, and processed foods aren’t as healthy as whole foods, he explains. Nitrates are being investigated for their potential cardiovascular benefits, including their ability to lower blood pressure, according to a report published in the Journal of Nutrition. From our SponsorsEveryday Solutions are created by Everyday Health on behalf of our sponsors. Created more than 30 years ago by medical pioneer Dean Ornish, MD, the Ornish Diet was designed as part of lifestyle changes to reverse heart disease.
Recent variations of the Ornish Diet allow some fish or white-meat chicken (skinless), prepared without added fat — broiling, baking, or grilling are your best bests.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, Diet is designed to lower your cholesterol.
A lot more varied than the Ornish Diet, the TLC Diet is not designed as a weight-loss diet, but you probably will eat fewer calories than you burn and shed pounds. The doctor-designed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, Diet focuses on eating more fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less fat and sugar. Researchers looking at more than 36,000 healthy women ages 48 to 83 in Sweden found that those whose diets most closely resembled DASH were at lower risk for heart failure. Inspired by the diet of people who live along the Mediterranean Sea and whose cooking styles are perfect for a healthy heart diet, the Mediterranean Diet is more than just a meal plan. According to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine, eating a diet rich in nuts, olive oil, fruits, veggies and a little red wine can help fight against heart problems better than eating a low-fat diet. Researchers evaluated nearly 7,500 men and women ranging in ages 55 to 80 for about five years.В  They were assigned to one of three groups including individuals who dined on an olive oil-focused Mediterranean diet, another group who ate a Mediterranean diet with nuts as the central ingredient and those who ate a low-fat diet. At enrollment, the participants had no history of stroke or heart attack, but they did have other risk factors such as obesity, smoking, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure.
The low-fat group ate a diet filled with potatoes, fruits, low-fat dairy, breads, veggies and lean fish.


The results showed that of the 288 cardiovascular events that occurred among the participants, 109 were in the low-fat group. Researchers say after looking at the data, the only statistically significant link was found between the Mediterranean diet and stroke, which shows a 30 percent reduction in relative risk.
One of the lead authors of the study noted that one of the primary reasons the Mediterranean diet seems to boost heart health is its combination of good-quality fats like monounsaturated found in olive oil and a host of other good fatty nutrients contained in fish, nuts and veggies. Bufalino recommends his patients start with substituting less healthy options with more healthy ones such as changing up your salad dressing to vinegar and olive oil instead of creamy dressings or cutting out your morning muffin and eating 10 to 12 almonds instead. Went to Aldi at lunch and was able to stock up on a surprising number of items that fit this diet. How to prep for a colonscopy A gastroenterologist discusses the best ways to prepare for this test.
A large-scale study conducted on more than 2,500 people revealed that the Mediterranean diet cuts the chance of developing a heart disease by 47 percent compared to similar adults who didn’t follow the diet. According to the research, following a Mediterranean diet is more beneficial to the heart than physical activity. More than 2,500 Greek adults, aged between 18 and 89, have taken part to the research, who collected data each year in the 2001-2012 period.
Almost 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women who participated developed or died from heart disease, suffering strokes or coronary heart diseases caused by damage to the heart’s arteries. The researchers found that for every one-point increase in the dietary score there was a 3% drop in heart disease risk.
Other heart disease risk factors, like gender, age, family history, smoking habits, hypertension, family history diabetes, high cholesterol or family history were eliminated by the researchers when the conclusions of the study were drawn. The Mediterranean diet consists on fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish, whole grains, nuts, beans and even red wine. The study will be revealed in full at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego, next week.
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There haven't been any randomized controlled trials on the benefits or risks of detox diets in people, according to a review of studies published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. He believes an effective detox plan won’t harm or endanger the heart, a concern with some approaches. You won’t need any help from popular detox ideas, whether it's a fast, a juicing diet, or an herbal tea. Gerbstadt says, “Just because the heart benefits, it doesn’t mean other organs do.” The same study found that fasting could cause an oxidative imbalance (between antioxidants and pro-oxidants) in the liver and brain that could lead to inflammation, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Beets and celery, in particular, contain nitrates, and their juices contain larger amounts than most people would get from just eating either vegetable. On this heart diet, you eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and soybean products until you’re full but no meat or dairy products save for non-fat milk and non-fat yogurt. One variation, called the Spectrum diet, emphasizes stress reduction and exercise in addition to the diet itself.
Losing or maintaining a healthy weight is an important component for your heart health, Johnson says. Its focus is on lowering high blood pressure, another heart disease risk factor, so you’ll limit your salt intake to either 1,500 or 2,300 milligrams a day, depending on your needs.


Johnson says the DASH Diet is a great heart diet because you eat little, if any, red and processed meats and lots of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables while watching salt. Ninety-six events happened in the group who ate the olive oil Mediterranean diet, and there were 83 heart-related occurrences in the individuals who consumed the Mediterranean diet with nuts as the main staple.
The study was conducted in Greece and points out the diet’s major health benefits, tracking a 10-year heart disease risk on the general population.
The study gathered detailed surveys about their medical condition, dietary habits and lifestyle. The researchers evaluated the subjects on a scale from 1 to 55, based on their level of intake for 11 food categories. The analysis confirmed the fact that an increased heart disease risk is related with male gender, older age, high C-reactive protein levels and diabetes. The traditional Mediterranean diet is liked to reduced risk of diabetes, weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also reduced risk of heart disease. The participants lived in and around the Greek capital of Athens, and the researchers claim that the Mediterranean diet can reduce cardiovascular risks.
The purpose of a detoxification programВ is to support the organs that eliminate toxins from your body, enabling the toxins to be metabolized and excreted, he explains. Join the conversation!Free NewslettersPersonalized tips and information to get and stay healthier every day. And alcohol and sugar in any form (including honey, molasses, and corn syrup) are off-limits, too. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts, plus heart-healthy olive oil as its fat source.
It is important to note that both groups also drank wine and ate plenty of fish, fruits and vegetables with their meals. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet scored in the top third and were 47 percent less likely to develop a heart disease in the 10-year period of the follow-up, compared to the bottom-third of the scale, which included the people who didn’t follow the diet. You also need to cap cholesterol at 200 milligrams, so you’ll have to read labels and crunch the numbers to stay within the guidelines. You’ll have 6 to 8 servings of whole grains, 4 to 5 servings of vegetables, 4 to 5 servings of fruit, 2 to 3 servings of no- or low-fat dairy, 3 to 6 servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry, and 2 to 3 servings of heart-healthy fats or oils each day, plus 4 to 5 servings a week of nuts, seeds, or beans. While some people swear by eating mindfully to watch their cholesterol levels, others might want to follow a more structured diet plan. But she cautions it may be too restrictive, especially when it comes to healthy fats and fish, which have heart-healthy omega-3s.
It is the poduct of marketing experts rather than nutrtion experts, designed for impulse buying and eating. News & World Report recently ranked the Ornish Diet the best for heart health this year, along with a few runners up.



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