YOU Are Heading for Heart Disease and Diabetes, But There's Good News!

Well, that is, if you're an American living in America. Conclusive research and tracking of national health trends reveal that over 80% of Americans are heading for or already have heart disease and/or Type 2 Diabetes (they tend to go together). And don't stop reading if you think this doesn't apply to you-the demographic is getting younger and younger. Health care professionals are calling this an epidemic that shows no signs of letting up.

But in July of 2014 scientists had exciting news: Increasing fruit consumption reduces cardiovascular disease by up to 40 percent! In fact, the findings (the result of a seven-year study of nearly a half million people in the China Kadoorie Biobank) revealed that the more fruit people ate, the more their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) declined.

The study consisted of 451,681 people and was conducted in 10 different areas of China, five rural and five urban. And what's especially important, this research was built around a seven-year follow up analysis, making it a very thorough and credible study.

While the study was done in China, it has universal application because cardiovascular disease, including ischaemic heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death worldwide. The results of the follow-up period not only revealed that eating fresh fruit reduces CVD by 40 percent, but that it also lowers baseline blood pressure (BP) and reduces the overall risk of death from any disease by 32 percent!

Any disease ? Really? I wondered if all this was true for diabetes, so I went to the American Diabetes Association website to find out what their take on this research is. Sure enough, they agree with it. They do offer a small caveat, however: "Fruit contains carbohydrate so you need to count it as part of your meal plan. Having a piece of fresh fruit or fruit salad for dessert is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get the extra nutrition you're looking for."

The site went on to mention that fresh and frozen whole fruits are always the best choice because of the live nutrients and enzymes you're getting. And the word whole is key here. Don't mistake juiced fruit as the same thing as whole fruit. Fiber is needed to slow the absorption of fructose contained in fruit. So unless you're using a high speed blender that will blend the entire fruit (skin and all), stick with eating the entire fruit.

And the American Diabetes Association says eating specific whole fruits has also been proven to lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Blueberries, grapes and raisins, apples, pears, bananas, and grapefruit are the heroes here and should all be eaten three or four times a week. We incorporate these into our morning oatmeal and snack on them throughout the day.

But our favorite way to be sure we're getting oodles of whole fruit daily is to put frozen fruit chunks through a Yonanas® "ice cream" maker. We got ours for around $29 at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

I'm not a sales rep and I get no monetary reward for talking about this cool machine. I'm talking about it because we love how it makes a healthy ice cream of straight frozen fruit. It works overtime in the summer, and in the fall and winter we use it to make "ice cream" toppings for our hot homemade pies, warm tapioca pudding, and hot oatmeal.

All you do is freeze fruit chunks for at least 24 hours. Then you insert your frozen fruit into the machine chute and push down using the plunger and collect the end product in your dessert bowls. Pictured above is banana yonana.

And clean-up is very easy. Just remove the chute assembly from the Yonanas maker base, unscrew the cone and scrape out any extra Yonanas that might be in there. Separate the few parts in the chute assembly and clean them in soapy water or the dishwasher.

But back to the study: It's not surprising to note that researchers are boldly stating that fruit consumption is an extremely effective way to cut CVD risk and Type 2 diabetes, and that it should now be considered as a key approach to maintaining and improving heart and overall health. In other words, fruit consumption has moved from the category of "suggestion" to the category of "strongly advised." The bottom line? Increase your fruit consumption and you'll reduce the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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