Hearts are a big deal, to put it simply, and we love reading the latest studies and findings about the small steps we can take outside of the doctor’s office to keep your ticker in tip-top shape. Our interest was especially piqued when we saw a recent headline, 11 Surprising Ways to Prevent a Heart Attack. Tip number one was near and dear to our hearts: take probiotics
It’s true! According to health journalist Julie Revelant, daily probiotic intake has the potential to enhance heart health. An International Journal of Cardiology study found that when patients with congestive heart failure took a type of probiotic saccharomyces boulardii, their conditions improved.
Joel Kahn, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, says heart-minded individuals can “ask your doctor about the TMAO blood test, which measures how healthy your GI tract is and determine your level of TMAO, a chemical in the gut that directly damages the arteries and the heart.”
With a little digging, we learned that TMAO is created when people eat red meat. You see, meat contains an amino acid derivative called L-carnitine, and when bacteria in the gut encounter L-carnitine, they digest it, in turn producing TMAO. Side note: the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently recommended that red meat consumption be kept to a minimum, going so far as to call it “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This is yet another reason to consider keeping your intake down.
Some other surprising facts we learned about heart health:
Spice is Nice
A British Medical Journal study found that enjoying a spicy meal once a week significantly reduced the risk from dying of heart disease. Our Ancho Chili Avocado Kefir Dip is a great, slightly spicy side dish that perfectly complements Taco Tuesday.
Not surprising, people who see the glass as half-full have better cardiovascular health than their pessimistic counterparts.
Your Mouth is a Window to Your Heart
Numerous studies have linked gum disease and heart disease. What’s the connection? Inflamed or receding gums allow oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to the arteries, creating inflammation and paving the way towards a heart attack.
These are just a few of the fun facts about probiotics and heart-health we uncovered. Be sure to check back next week for the next part in our series!