Flashback Friday: Slow Your Beating Heart – Beans vs. Exercise

Flashback Friday: Slow Your Beating Heart – Beans vs. Exercise
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A cup a day of beans, chickpeas, or lentils for three months may slow resting heart rate as much as exercising for 250 hours on a treadmill.

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The accumulated weight of evidence linking elevated resting heart rate to a shortened lifespan—even in apparently healthy individuals—makes a strong case for it to be considered in the assessment of risk. It’s got strong advantages. Taking one’s pulse is cheap, takes little time, it’s understandable to people, and it’s something everyone can do, at home, to measure their progress to become an active participant in their own health management.

Every ten beats per minute increase is associated with a 10 to 20% increase in the risk of premature death. There seems to be a continuous increase in risk with increasing heart rate, at least for values above a beat a second. So, we can just look at our watch, and if our heart is beating faster than the seconds going by—even when we’re sitting quietly, then we have to do something about it, especially when we start getting up to 80 or 90. Men with no apparent evidence of heart disease with a pulse of 90 may have five times higher risk of sudden cardiac death—meaning their first symptom is their last—compared to those down in the safety zone. Living up around 90 increases heart disease risk at a level similar to smoking.

If you ask most doctors, though, 90 is considered normal. The accepted limits of heart rate have long been set at 60 and 100 beats per minute. How did they come up with that? It was adopted as a matter of convenience, just based on the scale of the squares on EKG paper. A historical accident, like the QWERTY keyboard, that just became the norm.

60 to 100 doesn’t even represent the bell curve. These cardiologists measured the heart rate of 500 people, and concluded that 45 to 95 was a better definition of normal, rounding to 50 to 90, which a survey of leading cardiologists concurred with. Now, we know that normal doesn’t necessarily mean optimal, but doctors shouldn’t tell people with heart rates in the 50s that their heart rate is too low. In fact, these people may be right where they should be.

Certainly, a heart rate higher than 80 should ring an alarm bell, but what can we do about it? Exercise is one obvious possibility. Ironically, you make the heart go faster so that the rest of the time your heart beats slower.

The public health benefits of physical exercise, especially for heart protection, are widely accepted, and among the many biological mechanisms proposed to account for this risk-reducing effect is autonomic nervous system regulation of the heart. That’s your brain’s ability to slow down the resting beat of your heart.

If you put people through a 12-week aerobic conditioning program of cycling, StairMaster, and running on a treadmill, you can drop their resting heart rate down from around 69 to about 66; so, a three beat per minute drop. And, of course, you have to keep it up; stop exercising, and your resting heart rate goes right back up.

Exercise is just one way to drop our heart rate, though. The way to our heart may also be through our stomach. What if, instead of three months of exercise, you did three months of beans? A cup a day of beans, chickpeas, or lentils. The first randomized controlled trial of beans for the treatment of diabetes. And indeed, participants successfully improved their blood sugar control, dropping their average A1C level from 7.4 to 6.9, but this was also the first study to ever assess the effect of bean consumption on heart rate, and, indeed, one of the few to determine the effect on heart rate of any dietary intervention. This is particularly important in diabetics, since having a higher resting heart rate not only increases their risk of death just like everybody else, but also appears to predict greater risk of diabetic complications, such as damage to the nerves and eyes.

So, how did beans do? A 3.4 beat drop in heart rate—just as much as the 250 hours on a treadmill. We’re not sure why beans are as powerful as exercise in bringing down one’s resting heart rate. In addition to the potential direct beneficial effects of all the good stuff in legumes, there is also the potential displacement value of reducing some of the animal protein foods. Regardless, we should consider eating pulses for our pulse.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: blackzheep via Adobe Stock. Image has been modified.

The accumulated weight of evidence linking elevated resting heart rate to a shortened lifespan—even in apparently healthy individuals—makes a strong case for it to be considered in the assessment of risk. It’s got strong advantages. Taking one’s pulse is cheap, takes little time, it’s understandable to people, and it’s something everyone can do, at home, to measure their progress to become an active participant in their own health management.

Every ten beats per minute increase is associated with a 10 to 20% increase in the risk of premature death. There seems to be a continuous increase in risk with increasing heart rate, at least for values above a beat a second. So, we can just look at our watch, and if our heart is beating faster than the seconds going by—even when we’re sitting quietly, then we have to do something about it, especially when we start getting up to 80 or 90. Men with no apparent evidence of heart disease with a pulse of 90 may have five times higher risk of sudden cardiac death—meaning their first symptom is their last—compared to those down in the safety zone. Living up around 90 increases heart disease risk at a level similar to smoking.

If you ask most doctors, though, 90 is considered normal. The accepted limits of heart rate have long been set at 60 and 100 beats per minute. How did they come up with that? It was adopted as a matter of convenience, just based on the scale of the squares on EKG paper. A historical accident, like the QWERTY keyboard, that just became the norm.

60 to 100 doesn’t even represent the bell curve. These cardiologists measured the heart rate of 500 people, and concluded that 45 to 95 was a better definition of normal, rounding to 50 to 90, which a survey of leading cardiologists concurred with. Now, we know that normal doesn’t necessarily mean optimal, but doctors shouldn’t tell people with heart rates in the 50s that their heart rate is too low. In fact, these people may be right where they should be.

Certainly, a heart rate higher than 80 should ring an alarm bell, but what can we do about it? Exercise is one obvious possibility. Ironically, you make the heart go faster so that the rest of the time your heart beats slower.

The public health benefits of physical exercise, especially for heart protection, are widely accepted, and among the many biological mechanisms proposed to account for this risk-reducing effect is autonomic nervous system regulation of the heart. That’s your brain’s ability to slow down the resting beat of your heart.

If you put people through a 12-week aerobic conditioning program of cycling, StairMaster, and running on a treadmill, you can drop their resting heart rate down from around 69 to about 66; so, a three beat per minute drop. And, of course, you have to keep it up; stop exercising, and your resting heart rate goes right back up.

Exercise is just one way to drop our heart rate, though. The way to our heart may also be through our stomach. What if, instead of three months of exercise, you did three months of beans? A cup a day of beans, chickpeas, or lentils. The first randomized controlled trial of beans for the treatment of diabetes. And indeed, participants successfully improved their blood sugar control, dropping their average A1C level from 7.4 to 6.9, but this was also the first study to ever assess the effect of bean consumption on heart rate, and, indeed, one of the few to determine the effect on heart rate of any dietary intervention. This is particularly important in diabetics, since having a higher resting heart rate not only increases their risk of death just like everybody else, but also appears to predict greater risk of diabetic complications, such as damage to the nerves and eyes.

So, how did beans do? A 3.4 beat drop in heart rate—just as much as the 250 hours on a treadmill. We’re not sure why beans are as powerful as exercise in bringing down one’s resting heart rate. In addition to the potential direct beneficial effects of all the good stuff in legumes, there is also the potential displacement value of reducing some of the animal protein foods. Regardless, we should consider eating pulses for our pulse.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: blackzheep via Adobe Stock. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

What is that about a shortened lifespan? See my video Finger on the Pulse of Longevity.

Having “normal” risk factor values in a society where it’s normal to drop dead of preventable diseases like heart disease is not necessarily a good thing. Learn more with When Low Risk Means High RiskEverything in Moderation? Even Heart Disease?, and How Not to Die from Heart Disease.

For more on the musical fruit, see:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

100 responses to “Flashback Friday: Slow Your Beating Heart – Beans vs. Exercise

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      1. Marilyn,
        And one of the best measures of CV fitness is heart rate recovery (drop in beats per minute after one minute recovery). If your recovery rate is 12 bpm or less, you are in trouble as predicted mortality over 6 years is much higher than those with a 13 or higher bpm drop.

        https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199910283411804
        Heart-Rate Recovery Immediately after Exercise as a Predictor of Mortality

        According to Dr. Mirkin, my favorite fitness guru, healthy people, the drop rate will be at least 20 bpm; fit athletes, 50 bpm.

        https://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/do-you-need-a-heart-rate-monitor.html

        1. Gengo I do check pulse at high, then about 1 minute later. I was told that is particularly important in assessing the value of high intensity intermittent exercise. What is enough and not too much.
          Thanks so much for your post!

          1. Marilyn,
            You might be aware of this work but if not I think you (and others) might it of interest.

            https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-03/cp-het030217.php

            “How exercise — interval training in particular — helps your mitochondria stave off old age

            They found that while strength training was effective at building muscle mass, high-intensity interval training yielded the biggest benefits at the cellular level. The younger volunteers in the interval training group saw a 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity, and the older volunteers saw an even more dramatic 69% increase. Interval training also improved volunteers’ insulin sensitivity, which indicates a lower likelihood of developing diabetes. However, interval training was less effective at improving muscle strength, which typically declines with aging. “If people have to pick one exercise, I would recommend high-intensity interval training, but I think it would be more beneficial if they could do 3-4 days of interval training and then a couple days of strength training,” says Nair. But, of course, any exercise was better than no exercise.”

            Interested folks should be aware that almost anyone can start an interval training program.
            https://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/intervals-for-everyone.html

            On the other hand, the rat study discussed in the links below indicates sustained aerobic exercise is best for brain nerve cell growth.

            “Cardio or weights: what exercise is best for your brain?
            https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/cardio-or-weights-what-exercise-best-your-brain

            https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP271552
            “Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained”

            My take is it’s ideal to incorporate all three types of exercise, although I greatly prefer HIIT and weights (I realize many if not most people, especially those working, may not have the time or energy for all three, in which case I would personally do HIIT for the lower body and weights for the upper, as Dr. Mirkin has recommended, very time efficient). Also incorporating all three can easily lead to overtraining, as I know from personal experience.

            On a related note, psychological attitudes toward aging, and physical and mental fitness are very important. I do not generally use the words “elderly, geriatric” or even “senior” (I say “mature”), because it promotes a negative stereotype, which is self defeating. Cf.

            https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/mind-and-muscles-how-to-age-well

            By the way, here’s an article on the importance of attitude. I love to read about mature athletes. Great role models.

            Mind and Muscles – How to age well
            “This is Karla McKinlay country.

            On the undulating bitumen of the Maffra backroads, the 72-year-old retired anaesthetist has honed a physique that allows her to do things many people 50 years her junior would find impossible. Last year she completed the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. For the uninitiated, that’s a 3.8-kilometre swim and 180-kilometre bike ride, topped off with a marathon across the unforgiving windswept south-eastern tip of Oahu Island.”

            “This is no “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” platitude, as Baker makes clear in a study his team has just run. They had two groups of older adults read fake newspaper articles about how the elderly negotiate stairs. One group read an article saying stair climbing worsens with age due to “frailty, shakiness and general inability”. Switching paradigms, the second group read how stair climbing improves with age due to “accumulations of experience, resiliency and fitness”.

            On a subsequent stair-climbing task, not only were those who read the downer message about ageing less confident and more scared of falling, their biomechanics worsened and they were less steady on their feet. It’s a phenomenon called priming, where simply activating a mental concept such as “being old makes you unsteady” can be self-fulfilling.”

            “We haven’t been able to draw the link between negative stereotypes and older athletes, because they don’t seem to buy into that identification with an older adult group,” said Baker.”

            1. Gengo, wow, so much good info here. I’ll be reading, checking it all out in the days to come. (Schedule right now awfully busy.)
              Will have more ability to encourage people to exercise. Such a small percentage of Americans of any age are fit. I do think it’s a factor in the incidence of so many chronic diseases. And probably a big part of neurological problems like depression and Alzheimer’s.
              Thank you so much!!!

  1. What else can one do to bring down pulse? It appears that if one exercises and eats beans he or she can bring it down by about 6 points but if it’s high that doesn’t bring it down enough.

    1. Vigorous, prolonged exercise will bring it down dramatically in most people. My own experience has demonstrated this anyway. During sedentary times, like the winter when I can’t run as much my resting heart rate goes up to about 70. Starting running again and it gradually drops to about 55.

      1. Vigorous exercise will bring down the heart rate for sure, but you will trade one problem for another when you wear down your joints.
        Eat your beans and then take a bubble bath.
        If you don’t like my name you can call me Phil DeGrave, that was my nickname I was given when I worked a Summer job at a Funeral Home,
        I’m dead serious.

        1. Yerky, I disagree that “ vigorous exercise wears down the joints”, as long as there is sensible recovery time.
          Lack of use is far more likely to do that. Adequate muscle supports and protects the joints. Good leg muscle keeps the leg veins healthy as the muscles assist in preventing blood from pooling in the veins.
          Then there is the problem many older people have with balance. I get many who complain their balance problems are an ear issue. In most cases it is not their ears, it’s a lack of sufficient leg muscle for proper balance.
          If you can’t put socks on standing up, that’s a wake up call to exercise before you risk falling.
          Diet is important, of course, but exercise is also vital, especially as people age.

          1. Are you an orthopedist?
            When you last played a slot machine did 3 prunes come up?
            Vigorous is ok for age 20-50. After 50, it is not required to do vigorous exercise unless it is a hobby, or you enjoy it,
            or want to enter contests to win prizes, but not for general health.

            1. The World Health Organization disagrees with you Yerky – da noive of dem guys huh?

              ‘Strong evidence demonstrates that compared to less active men and women, older adults who are physically active have:

              • lower rates of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness,
              • healthier body mass and composition and enhanced bone health; and
              • higher levels of functional health, a lower risk of falling, and better cognitive function.

              Inactive people should start with small amounts of physical activity and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity over time. Inactive adults and those with disease limitations will have added health benefits when they become more active.

              Recommendations:
              In older adults of the 65 years and above age group, physical activity includes leisure time physical activity, transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), occupational (if the individual is still engaged in work), household chores, play, games, sports or planned exercise, in the context of daily, family, and community activities.

              The recommendations in order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, reduce the risk of NCDs, depression and cognitive decline are:

              1. Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
              2. Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
              3. For additional health benefits, older adults should increase their moderate intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity.
              4. Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
              5. Muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, should be done on 2 or more days a week.
              6. When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activitydue to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.’

              https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/physical-activity-recommendations-65years.pdf?ua=1

              1. To me the word vigorous meant run as fast as you can for 30 minutes or get on an exercise bike and do your maximum or keep your heart rate
                at 140 for 30 minutes or do as many burpees as you can in 5 minutes etc.

                I do a complete workout program 6 days a week.

            2. Yerky,

              >>> Vigorous is ok for age 20-50. After 50, it is not required to do vigorous exercise unless it is a hobby, or you enjoy it,

              Vigorous exercise has many benefits for the over 50. As Marilyn says, adequate recovery is essential. Also, of course, older people need to be careful not to exceed their capacities, and probably should seek professional guidance to establish a safe exercise program.

              It’s not hard to find studies supporting this view, e.g.
              Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults: A Review of Existing Evidence and Current Recommendations for the General Population https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0749069018304968

              “Data regarding the effects of exercise on many of the major causes of disease and disability in the elderly support more widespread recommendations of *******vigorous***** exercise in the elderly.”

              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304477/ The Importance of Physical Activity Exercise among Older People

              “The dose of PA or exercise is described by the duration, frequency, intensity, and mode [8 ]. For optimal effects, the older person must adhere to the prescribed exercise program and follow the overload principle of training, i.e., to exercise ******near the limit of the maximum capacity to challenge the body systems sufficiently*******, to induce improvements in physiological parameters such as VO2max and muscular strength [1 ].”

              “Furthermore, endurance exercise training in older people decreases resting and submaximal exercise heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure and increases stroke volume [26 ]. This is especially notable during peak effort in which stroke volume, cardiac output, contractility, and oxygen uptake are increased, while total peripheral resistance and systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased.
              Thus lowering after-load in the heart muscle, which in turn facilitates left ventricular systolic and diastolic function, *******emphasizes the importance of high intensity training also for the elderly*******”

            3. I think caring for joints is very wise but doesn’t require avoidance of vigorous exercise. Stairs, biking, and rowing are low impact and work well for HIIT. Yoga and/or Tai Chi are also good. Recognizing that the earlier in life people start doing these things the better is not the same as saying these things aren’t important later.

              If people begin using the wonderfully improved information about fitness and longevity then the already challenged notion that we should sit in the corner with a warm blanket once the hair grays will have to be abandoned.

          2. What is “good leg muscle”? If you are referring to increased, or in the elderly, at least maintained muscle mass, cardio has never been shown to add or restore muscle mass at all, in fact many studies show it can cause muscle wasting.

            Look at the legs (and faces) of marathon or even casual, frequent runners, they’re excessively skinny and overall look very unhealthy, especially in person as opposed to tv or videos.

            The only way to increase or regain muscle mass is old fashioned slow, careful, and safe weight/strength training, with SUFFICIENT RECOVERY PARTICULARLY IN ELDERLY.

            I can’t WEIGHT for the barrage. HA!

            1. Joe, I did not interpret Marilyn to mean low or medium intensity prolonged cardio. The context of the discussion was vigorous exercise, which to me means high intensity workouts.

              I’m a big fan of weights and agree they are overall the best way to build muscle (quite safe and effective if done properly), and that prolonged medium intensity endurance exercise can negatively impact muscle building/preservation

              But high intensity interval training (HIIT) is another matter. HIIT is both anaerobic and aerobic (think sprinting or something equivalent) and does build muscle, apparently quite effectively. Combining the two is a good combination b/c HIIT also increases V02 max, etc effectively. Cf. e.g.

              https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a21071886/hiit-weight-lifting-study/

              The Study

              The researchers split 48 people into three different groups — a control group, a HIIT resistance training group, and a moderate-intensity resistance (MI-RE) training group. The HIIT and the MI-RE group were put on a six-week lifting protocol, while the control group didn’t exercise over the course of the study.
              Results

              Both lifting groups experienced significant strength gains in both their one-rep and five-rep max numbers when the researchers tested them after the six-week period was over. However, the HIIT lifters posted more gains in four of the categories — two in just the five-rep max, and two in both the one-rep and five-rep max.

              What’s more, a few of the MI-RE exercises saw no significant improvements over the first half of the study. That wasn’t the case for the HIIT protocol, which saw significant improvement in every exercise at the halfway point.

              Both groups also showed similar decreases in their body-fat percentages, but the HIIT group displayed a larger decrease in both their systolic blood pressure and their low-density lipoprotein, also known as “bad,” cholesterol.

        2. Vigorous exercise does not have to be prolonged or involve a lot of joint pounding. High intensity interval training can take anywhere from 10 minutes (Tabata) to 40 minutes (Norwegian 4 by 4) including warm up and cool down, and can be done on an exercise bike (or “real” one), treadmill, elliptical machine, rowing machine, etc., all easy on the joints. On a treadmill, you can even walk but alter the grade to reach 80-95% of one’s maximal heart rate (the goal). Most people can easily find/design a HIIT program that suits their capabilities and limitations. The focus is on very short bursts of almost maximal effort, not on prolonged periods of stress.
          In fact, shorter intervals are just as effective as longer ones. Circuit training with weights is also effective. There is no absolutely need to stress one’s joints beyond their capability in order to gain the benefits of vigorous exercise. HIIT nit only improves aerobic capacity effectively but builds muscles, which protect joints.

        3. How ’bout calling you HeyYou. Or….YerFullaBeans.

          Back when I was a kid we liked to hear ourselves toot in the tub. The water showed them too, mixed in with all the bubbles. It seems any foods brought them on, not just beans.

          I don’t find myself farting much nowadays. Should I worry?

        1. I’m on to the beans and legumes. For years I’ve been fixing a big stock pot of beans and greens about once a week. The frozen, individual servings last that long. For a snack I will pop the top on a can of garbanzos and eat the whole can in one sitting. My finger pulse on my carotid is one per second resting. I’m 60 now and don’t exercise so much (little running) so I’m counting on the pulses to get the right pulse.

      1. Thanks so much! I know this is one area of my life that needs work. I follow a WFPB diet with no oil, very little salt and sugar. But stress and need for more exercise are probably the issues. I will focus on those.

    2. Cheryl,
      This assume the two approaches are complementary, which they might well be, but still an open question.

      My money is on long term frequent aerobic and strength training exercise, of the sort recommended by (84-yr old) Dr. Mirkin, which is based in alternating easy and hard workouts. Of course, one has to increase fitness gradually and work up to vigorous exercise.

      https://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/benefits-of-combining-strength-and-endurance-training.html

      https://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/how-to-do-interval-training.html

      As others have mentioned, meditation / mindfulness breathing exercises also might help.
      https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/meditation-offers-significant-heart-benefits

      1. Thanks so much! I will definitely check out these links.It is great to have a community who helps by responding to posts, giving links and hints. Thanks to all who have responded!

        1. Thanks very much, Barb. Very interesting.

          I was pleased he mentioned that challenging exercise and cognitive stimulation also produce neurotrophic factors. A trifecta!

          1. Marilyn Kaye, I particularly like the chart shown at the approx. 4.3 minute mark. “Effects of IF on the body and brain that thwart obesity and chronic diseases”

            There were several naysayers in the comment section over the last couple of IF videos here at Nutrition Facts, but I am further convinced by the reknowned scientists I watch on tedtalks that IF, plant based diet, good sleep and vigorous exercise are key to protecting our brains as we age. (also, says on that chart lowers blood pressure and heart rate)

  2. I have been a vegan for the last three years. Before that my resting pulse rate was in the range 52 to 60. I was and am physically very active. Around 12 hours of tennis, biking, stairmaster, yoga and swimming every week. After becoming vegan my resting heart rate is now 49 to 55. Before being a vegan, lentils and beans were my staple diet. My point being that becoming just vegan helps in bringing your resting heart rate down. By the way I have a Garmin Fenix watch that measures your pulse rate continuously for the past four hours and presents it in the form of a graph.

    1. Ashok, that is the same with me. I am active too in sports, and eating wfpb. My resting heart rate now is between 46 and 49. Before becoming vegan it was 10 beats more ie 58.

      YR, yes, I agree. I wouldn’t sign up for it. In this study though I was happy to see them mention gender differences in other study results. Their study showed no apreciable difference between genders in response to exercise. The heart rate only decreased by about 3 beats per minute though. Blair is right on though imo about eating right with wfpb diet. I would add maintaining low body weight, lots of exercise, getting good sleep, drinking enough water, and avoiding magnesium deficiency… just my experience.

      1. Barb
        That’s interesting. As a vegetarian and exercising regularly and very vigorously (weights, trail running, some jogging, mostly), my RHR was ~42-45. After going vegan about 3 years ago, it did not drop further. Just as well, I figure. So it might depend on your starting RHR…

  3. “What if, instead of three months of exercise, you did three months of beans?”
    – – – – –

    It’s hard to believe that anybody who likes/needs daily exercise as much as I do would agree to be part of such a study. For three whole months, yet! Packing in the food with no using up the calories? Just sitting like a blimp all day if they wanted? Wondering who funded such a study and how many takers they were able to scrounge up.

    Learn how to meditate. Not only does it slow down your breathing, but also your pulse.

  4. OFF TOPIC

    Anyone here use Curcumin Phytosome Meriva for joint pain? I have been reading and becoming concerned about the lead cointained in curcumin supplements. Does anyone know of a brand that has been tested for lead and passed with an acceptable score? Using the powder or root will not provide the strength needed to help with joint pain. Thanks.

    1. Hi Lola –
      2 years ago I had a R hip joint that was so inflamed and painful that I could not walk, at all. I had to use a crutch and could put no weight on the leg. It came on out of the blue. I went to an orthopedic specialist who showed me the arthritis on that xray and I started mentally preparing for a joint replacement come winter. This was in the Spring. Meanwhile I spoke with a chiropractor friend of mine who recommended I try a product called Cosamin ASU. I bought some online through Costco (best price) and started taking it per the label (I was cautioned not to use the DS version of the product). I also researched “inflammation” on this site and, per Dr. Greger, started eating 1/4C bing cherries/day per this NutritionFacts.org video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-inflammatory-life-is-a-bowl-of-cherries/
      And guess what happened? The pain and malfunction in my 67 year old hip joint has completely resolved and has not returned. I still take the Cosamin ASU occasionally (not daily) and still eat the cherries occasionally because they are wonderful and yummy! But my joint works fine and there is no pain at all.
      Just thought I’d share in case any of this is helpful to you.

      1. “The pain and malfunction in my 67 year old hip joint…”
        – – – – – – –

        Yup, you’re obviously not the same Ruth who said she was in her mid-eighties. Maybe it was “Ruthie.”

      2. Sometimes people will get inflammation for no reason at all, then it will go away in 6 months for no reason at all.
        Sure, people want a quick fix, but just hang in there with a good centenarian diet and appropriate exercise for yourself and situation
        and you are doing the best you can do.

      3. Ruth,
        Thank you for your comments and advice. I am glad that glucosamine is working for you but the evidence is just not there for its efficacy. Even the Arthritis Foundation doesn’t endorse its use finding it no better than a placebo. Perhaps in your case it was merely a matter of temporary inflammation that resolved with its use. In my case, it is bone on bone knees. I am using some of the ingredients in that Costco product you mentioned already but not the glucosamine and chondroitin. But thanks for reaching out to help. I appreciate it.

      1. Spring03
        I understand what you are saying but using turmeric in your diet is still not sufficient to bring about the same strength as in a supplement form. Consumer Lab points that out quite well but unfortunately they have not confronted the issue of possible lead contamination in the supplement.

  5. WHAT ABOUT BARLEY?

    I kept having cravings for barley, so I started eating organic hulled barley.

    I also eat 100% whole rye and (rarely) 0rganic 100% whole wheat.

    I know whole grains are life extending, but do they lower my pulse?

    1. Sydney, I don’t know about barley lowering one’s pulse, but it sure seemed to be good for the Roman Gladiators!

      “Roman gladiators, also known as hordearii, (which translates directly from Latin as “The Barley Men”) owed their peak physical condition to a predominately vegan diet of beans and barley.  Their low fat high carb diet provided them improved blood flow and cardiovascular health, while also providing more than enough protein to build enormously powerful physiques.”

    1. It is interesting that high fat keto is promoted for helping the mitochondria by people like Fung but in this article high fat is causing mitochondrial problems and amyloid and they are relating amyloid and obesity.

      1. Nope it was a precursor to amyloid.

        Either way, the high fat diet wasn’t exactly doing the whole autophagy thing and giving the brand new mitochondria.

        Sorry for coming back with an off-topic, it just was something I was trying to make sense of the autophagy thing.

        1. I am going to request that as a topic.

          High fat diets being the cause of mitochondrial dysfunction rather than the solution to it needs to get out there.

          Mitochondria / autophagy would have been the last reason I could come up with for Keto, other than things like epilepsy.

          Dr Fung has people thinking they can do a high fat substitute for fasting, but messing up the mitochondria would be a serious argument against it.

      2. Promoting high fat diets is thoroughly irresponsible to my mind. Highly profitable though.

        This report popped up in my inbox a few hours ago

        ‘A research team has previously shown that fatty particles from the bloodstream may boost the growth of breast cancer cells. They now show that through an unexpected mechanism not previously described in cancer cells, the fat particles bind to the breast cancer cell surface and are then taken into the cell, providing a large supply of fuel that drives proliferation of the cancer cells.
        High-fat diets and obesity have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and worsen outcomes and prognosis of breast cancer patients………..
        “Our new work demonstrates that breast cancer cells can engulf large amounts of preformed fat from the blood using an unexpected mechanism of fat particle uptake called ‘endocytosis of lipoproteins’.” The uptake results in metabolic reprogramming of the cells to take advantage of this “free lunch” and reveals a direct connection between dietary fat and cancer cell biology.’
        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191212142654.htm

        1. Tom,

          That is really interesting. That is another good topic against high-fat diets.

          I was still looking at the mitochondrial impact of a high-fat diet and it also affects mitochondrial biogenesis, so it hurts the mitochondria in more than one way.

          Our results support the hypothesis that HFDs and/or high-fat flux through the mitochondria reduce the expression of nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins and transcription factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis.

          Obviously, most of the proponents of high-fat diets immediately push people over to intermittent fasting, and very low-calorie diets, both of which probably help more than the high-fat component, but a lot of them try to pimp oil and heavy cream on people. Bulletproof coffee and MCT oil and Coconut oil, etc.

          1. When I looked mitochondrial problems within something like Parkinson’s, they said:

            Higher intake of methionine is associated with higher ROS generation as well as damage to mitochondrial DNA

            They hypothesized that methionine-restricted diets and high carb diets as a potential dietary management people with mitochondrial diseases.

            Anyway, I think that is one topic that I haven’t seen videos on and it is one of 3 reasons people are going Keto in the first place.

            Weight loss
            Heal Mitochondria / and that one is related to cancer
            Diabetes

            Dr. Greger was so successful with the Diabetes topic.

            People have lost 50 pounds – including 2 of my friends and they don’t buy the “Can’t lose weight” part and his cancer topic used “Why go Keto when you can do chemo” and his chemo talk said that chemo only buys 10 days and people get sick and hate any food they eat while on chemo and THAT is why they do Keto instead of chemo – and he built that argument for them.

            But high-fat damaging their mitochondria might help move some of them toward Dr. Ornish instead because of Seyfried’s “Cancer is a mitochondrial disease” concept.

            I have walked myself out of so many disease symptoms that I know firsthand that the information is so ridiculously confusing and the vast majority of people do not understand any of it and if you watch how television news people and WNPR radio people and magazine people and the BBC deal with it, they do, “Butter is back” and “I am so glad eggs aren’t bad for you” concepts most of the time.

            1. Cholesterol is another thing that is linked to damaged mitochondria

              https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041022105304.htm

              metabolic syndrome may be attributable to altered mitochondrial function

              They did a study where family members with – hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hypermagnesemia – all had the same mitochondrial mutation.

              Hypermagnesemia….. Magnesium is another pimped product. Is it helping or harming the mitochondria?

              1. Hyper magnesium is usually from kidney damage is what they said, so animal proteins get added to the high fat diet issue. High sugar diet and being on prescriptions also damages the mitochondria. Insulin resistance is also associated- so Keto when from high fat versus fasting is still on the list, but there is a study of high fat helps mitochondria and there is something where the term “acetone treated” was used, so there may be back and forth studies, but most people on Keto don’t go into ketosis and they are just doing a high fat diet anyway.

                Well, autophagy is such a big draw to their position that I really want Dr Greger to handle that issue and tight junctures was another hot topic for them.

                I was the only non-Keto person in a community and I could hold my own, but people would swoop down about topics like mitochondria regularly.

        2. Fumbles,

          Thanks fo the link; it was fascinating. I learned quite a bit. Starting with “High-fat diets and obesity have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and worsen outcomes and prognosis of breast cancer patients.” The endocytosis of lipoproteins was certainly interesting, as was the fact that cancer cells make their own fat, apparently. Though that must be somewhat costly metabolically. I wonder what these cancer cells use the fat for?

          And then I found this: “Researchers found that eating low-fat foods reduced a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer by 21%. What’s more, the women on low-fat diets also cut their risk of dying from any cause by 15%.” But the article continues: “”This is the only study providing randomized controlled trial evidence that a dietary intervention can reduce women’s risk of death from breast cancer,” said study author Dr. Rowan Chlebowski.” Now, I find it hard to believe that this is the only study with this kind of evidence. But maybe it is.

          But if high fat diets were known to worsen outcomes and prognoses of breast cancer patients, why wasn’t I or any other breast cancer patient I know told about this by our doctors? Or even warned about the increased risk of breast cancer, especially in my case, given my family history? Apparently, this has been known for years. I am reminded of Dr. Greger saying that it takes about 17 years for clinical research results to make it into clinical practice. That is way too long.

          1. Thank you for this info. I am a breast cancer survivor (of 21 years). When I was diagnosed I asked my doctor what I should eat. He said, “anything you want to eat”, he apparently didn’t think diet had anything to do with it.Fortunately, I didn’t follow that advice. I went macrobiotic (that was before I knew anything about the WFPB diet–and maybe before it was very much on the radar). Macrobiotic food is basically WFPB but at that time used a little oil and more salt than WHFB diets do, and doesn’t use many fruits. It does cut out processed food, meat, and dairy, however. I believe that is why I am still alive and have not had a relapse–I was eating whole, unprocessed foods and not junk–just grains, greens, beans, veggies, and some fruits

            That view, however, that diet is of little to no importance is still prevalent. A family member of mine was told the same thing recently when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. His doctors told him to eat whatever he wanted to eat. It was a very discouraging to hear that once again.

            1. Lonie,

              Thanks for sharing that link. I plan to print it out to share with the oncologist at my next visit.

              It makes me so mad! The oncology clinic passes out CRAP in the waiting room: packages of chips, crackers, cookies, etc high in added oils (among other junk). My cynical self would say: They want the repeat business. And maybe new business from family members, friends, etc who accompany patients to their clinic visits.

  6. Hello, I would like to know what is the minimum amount of fat that a healthy diet should contain. I’m currently eating a low fat whole foods plant-based diet that contains only 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed per day as a source of fat. I do not eat nuts and oils becouse I don’t like them. I eat lots of fruits, veggies, oatmeal, starches, beans and rarely soy products such as tofu and soybeans
    Is it possible to get an omega-6 deficiency long term?

    Thank you

    1. Fruitarians often get Omega 3 deficiency is what some doctors have talked about

      Eating a lot of greens and eating flax and soy and avocados and bananas are good fat sources.

      Is it that you don’t like the flavor or are you struggling with weight issues or afraid of fats or are you following someone’s teachings.

      You can choose any of the doctors diets and probably be okay. Dr Ornish gives omega 3 pills and limits foods with fats, so he might be a good one to follow or Dr Esselstyne.

      You can take Omega 3 pills if you know you eat low most of the time.

        1. Thanks for the reply Deb. I will follow Dr.Greger recommendation of eating 1/4 cup of nuts per day + 1 tablespoon of grounded Flaxseed per day. That should be fine! I’m not symptomatic but it is better to prevent than cure

          Thanks !

      1. Deb, Good points.
        I’d like to add in support of your comments that even the ultra low fat traditional diet of the Okinawans contained small amounts of preformed DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids from fish and pork, consistent with Dr.
        Greger’s supplementation recommendation.

    2. Leo

      The World Health Organization recommends that 15% of total calories should come from fat
      https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/nutrientrequirements/fatsandfattyacids_humannutrition/en/

      However both the traditional Okinawan and Japanese diets provided less than 10% of total calories from fat and still delivered the world’s longest lived people
      https://fanaticcook.com/2015/03/14/the-diet-of-okinawa-1949-low-fat-high-carb-very-little-meat/

      The US National Institutes of Health states that there is inadequate data to set an RDA for total fat
      https://www.nap.edu/read/10490/chapter/10

      We need to remember that the human body manufactures almost all the fat it needs from carbohydrates. Consequently only two fatty acids are required from the diet. These are called essential fatty acids
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190204/

    3. Hi, Leo Quintana! According to the Institutes of Medicine, “Fat is a major source of fuel energy for the body and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids. Neither an Adequate Intake (AI) nor Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is set for total fat because there are insufficient data to determine a defined level of fat intake at which risk of inadequacy or prevention of chronic disease occurs. An Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR), however, has been estimated for total fat—it is 20 to 35 percent of energy.”
      I have never heard of anyone being deficient in omega-6 fatty acids, but dietary fat is needed for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, for example. You may be getting more fat than you realize. Oats, for example, provide about 15% of calories from fat. Chickpeas provide 13% of calories from fat. Even black beans and apples come in at about 3%. The flaxseeds you are consuming provide 66% of calories from fat. If you eat avocado, 77% of the calories are from fat. Because fat is about 9 kcal per gram, while protein and carbohydrate are each about 4 kcal per gram, a gram of fat provides more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrate.
      Because your fat intake is likely very low, it would not be a bad idea to eat more of some of the higher fat plant foods. I hope that helps!

  7. Hi, I want to know if doing exercise in a fasted-sate has more health benefits in comparison of doing it in a feed-state. I normally lift weights or do some cardio before breakfast. I look for videos in the website but I could not find anything. Thanks
    Leo

    1. Leo,

      There are lots of ideas out there and it comes down to your individual metabolism and other factors. One of the main considerations is how your body responds to exercise is your own experiences. For a good referenced article on this issue see: https://greatist.com/fitness/why-you-should-exercise-on-an-empty-stomach#6

      My patients have reported on a number of different approaches all of which are well different. The best method is the one that works for you.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

      1. YR,

        I suspect that it will be some quality other than sense of humor.

        Though that is just a hunch.

        Meaning, Dr Amen talked about people who had enough fear to actually do something about their diet lived longer, but all of the 90+ year olds I have ever met loved to laugh. The Blue Zones said that about the Sardinians.

        Maybe they didn’t test different types of sense of humor.

        Some people laugh at themselves and some people laugh at the expense of other people and some people laugh with other people out of love and favor for them. Some people laugh because they don’t take things seriously and I would suspect that each group would have a different answer.

        1. What I have learned in life is that when people have a sense of humor that puts people down, even if their sense of humor is funny, you can trust that they will hurt you in the end. To me, a sense of humor is more about how people are processing information mentally and emotionally.

          Recently, a sports person made a joke about punching a woman and it turned out he had made similar jokes years ago and still found the jokes funny. I am sure his wife doesn’t find it funny, but I know the stand up community pushes to have no topic be safe from making fun of. There are shows about how long it took for comedians to be able to make fun of 9/11 and the Holocaust and I think anybody who is trying to make fun of things and people groups has to have anger issues to want to bully people even in jest.

  8. Hello. I am a big fan and thank you for everything. I am not understanding something. I did a calorie count of the day dozen and got between 1100-1200. Does this mean for my clients I calculate their BMR and their calories burned in a day. subtract the calories from the daily dozen which leaves the remaining calories they have to burn in a day . thank you

    1. Judith, my bmr comes out to be about 1075. If I exercise lightly then I burn more calories. I might average 1500 total calories burned in a day (1075 bmr + 425 for exercise).
      Eating the daily dozen as you calculate it would leave me in a calorie deficit. 1500 cal day expended in a day – 1100 calories from food = 400 calorie deficit per day. (I would be losing weight by your plan.

      The beans, grains and nuts are going to be the most calorically dense menu items. A person requiring more calories would be sure to get enough servings of these foods.

      https://tdeecalculator.net

    2. To add to what Barb has said, according to the link she provided, my BMR if sedentary (office work) is 1487. Even light exercise (1-2 days per week) raises it to 1704 and moderate (3-5) to 1921, which amount of exercise is quite common, I think. In fact, my caloric intake requirement according to that calculator is closer to 2300 calories, more than twice your calorie calculation for the DD.

      This underscores the fact that the Daily Dozen provides too few calories for most people, but then it was not established to provide that information.

  9. Hi, I want to know if doing exercise in a fasted-sate has more health benefits in comparison of doing it in a feed-state. I normally lift weights or do some cardio before breakfast. I look for videos in the website but I could not find anything. Thanks
    Leo

    1. That’s an amazing story. One huckster treating another.

      “Post’s behavior was so bizarre that Dr. Kellogg put him in a wheelchair, told him never to eat meat again, prescribed a diet that was loaded with fiber, gave him daily enemas and took all his money, eventually leaving Post with no funds whatever. Since Post couldn’t pay for his medical advice any more, Dr. Kellogg kicked him out of the sanitarium.”

      1. And they’re both from the Midwest, one from the Upper and one from the Lower. Does the Midwest spawn wackadoodles?

        Wait! I’m from the Upper Midwest. :-/

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