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Lethal Meals: Postprandial Dysmetabolism and Your Heart

{written by : Dr Keith Scott}

Article word count : 788 -- Article Id : 679
Article active date : 2008-09-25 -- Article views : 16354


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Most of us think that it is only the accumulation of years of eating a bad diet that puts us at risk for heart attack or stroke. However researchers have recently discovered a harmful phenomenon called postprandial dysmetabolism. This is an abnormal metabolic state that occurs during and immediately after..





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Most of us think that it is only the accumulation of years of eating a bad diet that puts us at risk for heart attack or stroke. However researchers have recently discovered a harmful phenomenon called postprandial dysmetabolism. This is an abnormal metabolic state that occurs during and immediately after eating certain meals. Postprandial dysmetabolism not only puts us at risk for a heart attack immediately after eating but also increases the long-term risk for heart attack and stroke. The good news is that simple lifestyle changes and the increased consumption of culinary herbs and spices have an immediately positive effect on this dangerous condition.

The primary cause of postprandial dysmetabolism is the occurrence of elevated levels of glucose and fats in the bloodstream following the consumption of an unhealthy meal.
The excessive quantities of glucose and lipids that pour into the blood following a high fat, high sugar meal causes a massive release of damaging free radicals and a cascade of pathological, tissue damaging events.
The body"s own antioxidants are unable to cope with this deluge of free radicals and a state of oxidative stress ensues. Oxidative stress, in turn, causes the damaging processes that characterize postprandial dysmetabolism.

Features of postprandial dysmetabolism:

  1. Inflammation: A general inflammatory process occurs that not only aggravates the deposition of LDL (bad) cholesterol but increases the chances of atherosclerotic plaque rupture in the arteries thereby enhancing the risk for a heart attack or stroke.
  2. Endothelial dysfunction: The endothelium (or lining) of the arteries responds to oxidative stress by signaling the arterial wall to constrict, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  3. Thrombosis: The blood exhibits hypercoagulability - i.e it has a greater tendency to clot and form thromboses in the heart and brain.
  4. Increased sympathetic nerve activity: Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system causes vasoconstriction and narrowing of the coronary and other arteries.

The characteristics of postpradial dysmetabolism all combine to substantially increase the risk of cardiac and cerebral events both immediately after a meal and in terms of long term atherosclerotic damage to the cardiovascular system.
It is important to note that it is not the high levels of glucose and fats per se that causes the damage. Rather it is a state of oxidative stress resulting from the high levels of glucose and fats that is at the root of the problem.
The prevention of free radical damage and oxidative stress by increasing consumption of anti-oxidant rich foods such as spices is one of the ways in which we can prevent the occurrence of postprandial dysmetabolism.
Although eating substantial quantities of both animal and plant fats will cause a rise in triglyceride levels, not all types of fats or oils will cause oxidative stress. Research has shown that neither canola oil nor salmon oil cause postprandial oxidative stress while animal fats and olive oil do indeed cause this pathological condition.
Does this mean that we have to avoid eating sweet and oily foods completely? Although the sensible thing would be to substantially reduce the excessive intake of these foods - and it would also help us to lose weight if we needed to do so - there are other ways to obviate the effects of the damaging, postprandial dysmetabolic cascade.
While high blood glucose and triglyceride levels are the primary cause of postprandial dysmetabolism it is the resulting oxidative stress that actually causes damage to the arteries. And there are effective ways to counter oxidative stress and free radical damage.

Prevention of Postprandial Dysmetabolism

  1. Eat a diet high in minimally processed foods especially vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, lean protein, vinegar, fish and canola oil.
  2. Lose excess weight and exercise regularly.
  3. Do not rest immediately after a meal. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of heart attack in those who rest or sleep immediately after a meal. Light exercise after a meal helps to reduce high glucose and triglyceride levels and thus reduces the effects of postprandial dysmetabolism.
  4. Spices: Include many different culinary herbs and spices in your diet. Spices have the highest antioxidant activity of all food types, contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds and reverse most of the pathological processes associated with postprandial dysmetabolism: They reduce the rapid absorption of fat and sugar from the gut, control high blood sugar, have strong anti-inflammatory properties, help dilate the arteries, inhibit the deposition of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the arteries and lessen the risk of thrombus formation.

The discovery of postprandial dysmetabolism has increased our understanding of the crucial role that the immediate effects of a meal play in the causation of cardiovascular disease. However it has also provided us with simple, effective measures that we can take to prevent this injurious condition from occurring.

Author Bio :
Dr Keith Scott is a medical doctor who has written several books including "Medicinal Seasonings, The Healing Power of Spices" and "Natural Home Pharmacy" http://www.medspice.com

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