A common segment on daytime talkshows is “bring on Doctor X to sell product Y which will improve Z.” Whole shows are based off this formula, and it’s a successful one. They all combine to paint a picture of health being simple – just take a pill and everything is ok. They also make things complicated – is coffee good or bad this week? The volume of information is overwhelming. I understand why people just say “forget it.”
So, let’s start poking holes in what we know. The British Journal of Sports Medicine published a review and analysis on dietary fat and how it relates to health outcomes (cardiac death, heart attacks etc). We’ve always been told to watch our diet for those fatty meats, oils, butter etc due to the “pipe” theory of cardiac health. This told us that heart attacks were caused by blobs of fat clogging the artery. Logically it would make sense that you reduce the saturated fats to make things better…
Except that’s not what the researchers found. They found no link between a persons bad fat intake and a variety of poor heart outcomes. Also, dietary changes did not help people already labelled as “at-risk”.
It seems that inflammation is the real issue.
Little “pimples” form in the artery walls. These bumps break off and cause blockages somewhere else. This is the argument behind the Mediterranean diet – like I needed another reason to go back to Greece.
Of course, this is a Physio blog and diet is not my area (I’ll eat my black olives quietly in the corner). Luckily the researchers identified a few other tips that can helpful for those of you that want to live longer:
- 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on 3 days per week is enough to decrease insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity (good news for those of you with type 2 diabetes)
- Chronic stress reduces life expectancy – take care of your mental health and your physical health will improve
- Walk and eat real food, your body will thank you
It is always a good idea to chat with your family physician before starting an exercise program. If cleared, the team at Palermo Physio and Wellness in North Oakville has extensive training in exercise prescription for people with medical issues and would be happy to help on a path to healthier you.
MScPT, BA Kin