Rational Wellness Podcast 021: David Foreman on Heart Disease Prevention

David Foreman, the Herbal Pharmacist, discusses strategies to prevent heart disease with Dr. Ben Weitz.  I started the discussion by laying out the American Heart Association position that the cause of heart disease is the consumption of saturated fats like red meat, butter, and cheese. In the last ten years, this theory has been challenged and we have learned that sugar and processed carbohydrates are bigger players as the cause of coronary artery disease than saturated fats, though trans fats are also recognized to be a factor as well. Recently, the American Heart Association published a paper reasserting its position that saturated fat is the true cause of heart disesase, though rather than recommending substituting whole grains, they are now focusing on substituting vegetable oils, like soybean and corn oil. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510

But a closer look at the four core studies cited by the American Heart Association paper from the 1950s shows that while substituting vegetable oils like soybean oil for saturated fats did lead to a lower rate of death from heart disease, there was an increased risk from cancer so that there was really no decreased risk of death. This shows us that such easily oxidized, vegetable oils can create inflammation that is a factor in virtually every chronic disease, including heart disease. They also stated that coconut oil, being primarily a saturated fat, is bad for your heart.

David explained how he transformed himself from a traditional pharmacist to an Herbal Pharmacist. First he explained that 30% of traditional medicines actually originated from plants. He spent some time with his ex-brother-in-law, who was a professional athlete and he ate really well and he looked and felt great and recovered from sports injuries really quickly, which highlighted the benefits of eating right. He also knew that the majority of the medicines he was prescribing don’t address the root cause of disease but rather just mask the symptoms.

I then asked David what causes heart disease? I mentioned that I had recently been to a health conference where they were serving Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee with butter and coconut oil.  Should we be putting butter and coconut oil in our coffee or should we avoid eating red meat, butter, and coconut oil, like the American Heart Association says and should we be substituting vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil?  David said that he’s not a big fan of corn oil and soybean oil and when the American Heart Association came out with their big endorsement of corn oil again he wanted to bang his head into the sharp corner of the wall. David said that in his household, they eat butter and olive oil and coconut oil and they eat meat, chicken, and fish.  When it comes to coconut oil in your coffee, David doesn’t particularly like it but doesn’t think it will harm you, unless you have a very unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking cigarettes and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Those vegetable oils trigger more inflammation and we know that inflammation is a causative factor in so many chronic diseases.

David talked about how in the 70’s when everybody became fat phobic and we started eating low fat diets and levels of obesity and diabesity started to rise. When you take the fat out of your diet, most people think that what they should substitute for the fat are carbohydrate foods like bread and pasta and rice and potatoes, not realizing that your body makes cholesterol from these carbohydrate foods. This is what you should be worried about, not the cholesterol found in eggs or the saturated fat found in butter. You have far more to fear from inflammation and oxidation.

David talked about why salmon is such a heart healthy food but there are sustainability issues and many families cannot afford to eat wild caught salmon 2-3 times per week to maintain high levels of omega three fats. David recommends eating Krill oil regularly, which also naturally contains the antioxidant, astaxanthin. Krill oil is better digested and better absorbed than regular fish oil, so you don’t need as much of it. David noted that when he started to take krill oil instead of conventional fish oil, he could notice the benefits to his skin and the way he felt and it worked much better for him at a lower dosage than fish oil.

David talked about why oat meal is not as healthy as we think it is. It does contain beta glucan, which is heart healthy. But most people eat processed oatmeal, which is higher glycemic and they add sugar and dried fruit to their oatmeal, so they end up getting a blood sugar surge. So it may be better to take beta glucan capsules than to eat oatmeal.

David explained why drinking red wine, even though it contains polyphenols like resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant.  But the wine is not the best way to get resveratrol, since you need 100s of mgs of resveratrol to get the therapeutic effect, so it is better to take a supplement.

Being healthy, vitality is really about balance. Eating right, getting a proper amount of exercise, take your supplements, and spirituality are the keys to improving our heat health.

The best way to get in touch with David Foreman is through his web site, the Herbal Pharmacist,  http://herbalpharmacist.com/  and check out his blog there.

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