Its February, which means that this is women’s heart awareness month, and it would be remiss not to find a blog topic that can combine my love of agriculture and medicine. In efforts to be supportive of both the American Heart Association’s Go Red campaign for Women’s heart disease awareness and to make the beef producer in me happy, I set out to do a little research on the effects of beef intake on cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk.
I happen to raise beef. I happen to also enjoy eating beef. These two desires can at times go against the dogma of a low cholesterol, low fat Heart Healthy diet, or at least I thought they did.
I would like to make a side bar here. The biggest confusion that most of my patients face is the almost daily changes occurring in modern medicine. For example, take Hormone Replacement Therapy – please take it far far away… just kidding. But it has not been that long ago that hormones were all bad and they caused cancers/heart disease/strokes/etc, and now with more time/studies/interpretation of data, modern medicine has decided that at certain times, and after discussion of the risk involved, hormone replacement may be the best option for a woman. This is just one of many examples of how modern medicine has to constantly restate opinions when new facts emerge.
So, I started looking to see what information there was about beef and a heart healthy diet. The link below is to a very scientific article full of facts and figures.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
shows the comparison between the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) with the HAD (healthy American diet) and the BOLD (beef in an optimal lean diet).
There is apparently quite a bit of research being done to compare the diets above. The BOLD diet did as well as the DASH diet in effecting cholesterol levels for the better. And both the BOLD diet and the DASH diet did better than the HAD diet.
Right now according to ClinicalTrials.gov there are Phase 2 trials at Penn State being done to further investigate the issue of LEAN beef as it relates to Cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels.
But what are optimal cholesterol levels? I thought you would never ask.
Ok so what does to much cholesterol in the system do? Again, I thought you would never get around to asking.
So, if having to much cholesterol in my blood is bad is it all from the foods I eat? Not necessarily, some people have genetically higher levels of cholesterol than other people do. But there are simple changes that you can make in your diet to help prevent high cholesterol levels and cholesterol build up in the arteries. The link below list some of these dietary changes. (And yes, it includes beef in the meal plans)
Building a Heart Healthy Diet with LEAN beef
I guess the recurrent theme to all my research can be summed up in a quote from my Grandfather “Don’t over do anything.”
I guess that can applies to overeating too. My Pa Doc was a pretty smart man.
All things in moderation.