Is coconut oil just for rubbing on your titties, or is it truly a ‘superfood’?

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Coconut oil. So many people are balls deep in this shit, banging it in smoothies and what-not, and touting it as a ‘superfood’. Should they be?

Let’s get one of the most important points out of the way: it tastes fucking delicious. Obscenely delicious. Like, crazy, fucking delicious. That’s pretty much why I use it. End point.

But coconut oil isn’t anything that special, it’s just a fat, and mostly saturated fat, which has about as good a rap as Biebs (although modern research is suggesting saturated fat is not a fucking villain after all, so you can cool your jets over that. Meanwhile, Biebs continues to prove he’s a complete toss-bag). Studies are showing that although it contains mostly saturated fats, coconut oil has a positive effect on blood cholesterol by increasing HDL levels. HDLs remove excess cholesterol from the tissues and carry it to that legendary liver, who then converts the cholesterol into bile salts (which enter your digestive tract, help break down fats, and then get shat out). That’s why they’re winners. LDLs do the opposite thing – they transport cholesterol to tissues where they can be used to synthesise cell membranes and steroids and what-not. That’s all great, but when levels of LDLs are excessive, the LDLs start bogging the cholesterol any old fucking place – like your precious arteries. This makes the arteries narrow and gooey, increasing your risk of heart disease (or your heart completely shitting itself and you being very sick or very dead). Not good. That’s why LDLs are generally considered cunts.

So besides being ok for the heart, coconut oil contains mostly medium chain fatty acids which are easy for the body to utilise as energy. Some of those are called lauric acid, and these are the chums which have some anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects. Excellent. But eating arseloads of lauric acid in coconut form is not going to fucking cure AIDS or TB or chronic, oozing vaginal thrush on their own, so calm the fuck down.

Also, coconut oil is simply shithouse when it comes to essential fatty acids. It contains only small amounts of linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids) and zero linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acids). So that is the opposite of excellent. But if it is part of a varied diet containing other fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids, then it’s no biggie.

I sound like I’m being a bit of a jerk to coconut oil. Sorry coconut oil, you’re not a loser, but you’re not a superfood so take off that ridiculous gold star badge, you are embarrassing yourself. Be consoled though, dear coco, that there are no oils that are perfect. Olive has little omega-3 and is unstable (not like Lindsay Lohan unstable, I mean it chemically. Oh wait.. that still kind of works for poor old Linds). Palm oil is out, as its trade kills fucking orangutans like some sort of unstoppable, cuntful rebel force, and man those little orange dudes are cute, so we simply cannot have that. It’s also associated with heart disease – fuck that. Canola oil is no saint either, despite the promises on its packaging – it’s extraction uses heat resulting in a processed, partially oxidised (ie. rancid) oil which increases inflammation. Damn you greasy kings of the tastebuds, damn you all.

So, in summary, coconut is not a superfood, but it’s not a syphilitic cock either. It’s a welcome PART of your diet. Having a salad? Don’t be silly, don’t use coconut oil like a fuck-knuckle. Use a liquid oil like macadamia or olive. But if you’re making Shannon’s Chocolate Salty Balls, well then, for fuck’s sake, get the coconut oil out. Coconut oil has some excellent properties, but let’s not be silly sausages – we must also give a respective nod to avocado, oily fish, nuts, and flaxseeds.

The more I research nutrition, the more I realise, it comes down to simple bloody variety.

Greasily yours,

Shannon x

P.S. It’s also grouse for rubbing on titties.


REFERENCES: For any rad nerds out there.

Chowdhury, R., Warnakula, S., Kunutsor, S., Crowe, F., Ward, H., Johnson, L., Franco, O., Butterworth, A., Forouhi, N., Thompson, S., Khaw, K., Mozaffarian, D., Danesh, J. & Di Angelantonio, E. (2014). ‘Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol 160 Iss 9, p.658. Available at http://wphna.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2014-03_Annals_of_Int_Med_Chowdhury_et_al_Fat_and_CHD_+_responses.pdf

Intahphuak, S., Khonsung, P. & Panthong, A. (2010) ‘Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil’, Pharmaceutical Biology, Vol 48 Iss 2, pp.151-157. Available at http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880200903062614

Marina, A., Che Man, Y. & Amin, I. (2009) ‘Virgin coconut oil: emerging functional food oil’, Trends in Food Science & Technology. Vol 20 Iss 10, pp.481-487. Available at http://www.researchgate.net/publication/223558266_Virgin_coconut_oil_emerging_functional_food_oil

Marina, A., Che Man, Y., Nazimah, S. & Amin, I. (2009) ‘Antioxidant capacity and phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil’, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. Vol 60 Iss 2 pp.114-123. Available at http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09637480802549127

Nevin, K. & Rajamohan, T. (2006) ‘Virgin coconut oil supplemented diet increases the antioxidant status in rats’, Food Chemistry, Vol 99 Iss 2, pp.260-266. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814605006412

Ng, C., Leong, X., Masbah, N., Adam, S., Kamisah, Y. & Jaarin, K. (2014) ‘Heated vegetable oils and cardiovascular disease risk factors’, Vascular Pharmacology. Iss 61 Vol 1, pp.1-9. Available at http://www.pubfacts.com/detail/24632108/Heated-vegetable-oils-and-cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors.

Nurul-Iman, B., Kamisah, Y., Jaarin, K. & Qodriyah, H. (2013) ‘Virgin coconut oil prevents bloody pressure elevation and improves endothelial functions in rats fed with repeatedly heated palm oil’, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Vol 2013. Available at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/629329/


Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse with Salted Caramel Ooze

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You might want to find yourself some duct tape, because you’re going to have to tape down your erectile tissue. Shit’s gonna happen when you taste this. The inspiration for this dish came from one of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne, where their signature dessert is “Peanut Butter Parfait, Salted Caramel & Soft Chocolate”. Fuck. It’s amazing. It’s completely worth being fat for. However, is it worth being a diabetic with oozing leg sores for? Not so much. So, I set about recreating it in a healthy way. Now, stay with me – the guts of this dish is avocado. Avo-fucking-cado. But fret not – that fucker is masked with cacao, coconut, dates and glorious-would-love-to-smear-myself-in-it peanut butter. Then top that cheeky amalgamation with oozey, sticky, salted caramel (the nectar of the gods). To finish it off: it has more salty nuts on it than a bus seat. The result is more satisfying than I imagine Jamie Foxx to be.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

Mousse:

– 2 teaspoons chia seeds

– 2 tablespoons coconut milk

– 1/2 a ripe avocado

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 4 tablespoons CoYo (coconut yoghurt)

– 8 fresh Medjool dates (soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drained)

– 4 teaspoons cacao powder

– 4 tablespoons peanut butter

– a generous sprinkle of salt

***** you may need to add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup/honey/rice malt syrup/coconut nectar/whatever

Salted Caramel Ooze:

– 1 cup coconut milk

– 2 teaspoons butter (you can use coconut oil if butter offends you)

– 10 fresh Medjool dates, (chopped very finely and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drained)

– 2 tablespoons maple syrup

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– a considerable sprinkle of salt, to taste

– a handful or two of roasted salted peanuts, chopped to top


How to produce this duct-tape worthy dish:

– let’s get our mousse ready. It’s a piece of piss

– soak the chia seeds in the coconut milk for about 10 minutes. By then it will resemble a specimen of elephant semen and that is just what we want

– as usual, the food processor is our labourer. Simply put all the ingredients (the avocado, elephant semen, vanilla, CoYo, dates, cacao, salt and peanut butter) in there and give it some shit until the consistency is as smooth as Clooney. Give it a taste – does it need the maple syrup? If so, add it in and blend again. Then divide it between two suitable receptacles and pop it in the fridge to chill

– ooooooh, it’s salted caramel time. Place the coconut milk, butter, dates, maple syrup and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then turn it down to low for a few minutes so it thickens up like a pregnant woman’s ankles

– those dates in the caramel are brilliant but they add some lumps, so you might want to whizz that shit in the blender to make it smooth, then stir in the salt (don’t be stingy on the salt – you’re only shortchanging yourself)

– now pour that ludicrous salted caramel ooze onto the mousse, top with the peanuts and fucking devour it


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I have erect tissue just writing about this,

Shannon x


Whipped Kiwi & Mango Layers

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What happens when a mango, a banana and a kiwi have a three-way, while coconut yoghurt stands by, panting, cheering and clapping? Dangle in a couple of macadamia nuts, and: awesomeness, that’s what happens. Rather than loitering on the sidelines like perverts, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, C and E all get in on the action too. They’re right in there. What if I told you some Omega-3 fatty acids heard about the erotic gathering and wanted an invitation? Don’t let the word ‘fatty’ put you off, these chia-seed sisters are alright. Be serious and give those sheilas the green light. What a nice little party we are getting! But, in a situation like this, you could understand one’s hindquarters being a smidge nervous. Things are heating up, and an anal rampage could be on the agenda. Don’t worry, little rump, this concoction will only result in things coming out of you. Factor in the yoghurt’s healthy bacteria, the magnesium and oodles of fibre, and you’ve got yourself a big ol’ shit brewing. Fantastic.

Now, is it a dessert or a breakfast? Completely your call. It’s bloody tasty enough to be a dessert, but it’s healthy and satisfying enough to qualify as a breakfast. It tastes like a holiday, and I don’t mean it tastes like refluxed alcohol mixed with a stranger’s spit – it tastes like a tropical dream. It feels so naughty, but it is oh so nice.


Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup mango

– 1 kiwifruit (I prefer the gold ones, but green is fine)

– 2 Medjool dates (fresh)

– 1 banana, sliced (you can omit this if you wish, but it’s a tasty addition)

– 1 tablespoon chia seeds

– 4 tablespoons coconut milk (this is to soak the seeds in, you can use water instead or normal milk)

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt

– little handful roasted macadamias

– 1 teaspoon desiccated coconut

– a wee drizzle of honey


Get Layin’:

– pop your little chia seeds into the coconut milk for a soaking. Let them enjoy that little bath for about 10 minutes. They’ll soak it up and get all gelatinous and weird

– Mr Blender, get out here. Bang the mango, kiwifruit, dates, vanilla and soaked chia seeds in there and give it a zoom

– now, let the laying commence. Alternate layers of the fruit brew with sliced banana and coconut yoghurt

– when those ingredients are spent, chop up your macadamias and sprinkle them over the top, along with the petite portion of desiccated coconut. Finish that classy number off with a teeny drizzle of honey

– pop it in the fridge, the chia seeds will continue to draw in the fluid so that it firms up even more. It will be happy to go in a couple of hours, or sit overnight and wait for a breakfast rendezvous


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Tropically yours,

Shannon x


Fluff-Cakes: Flourless Pancakes

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In my quest for healthy comfort food, I have tried some ‘healthy’ pancake recipes. Like the one that is just eggs and bananas. Tried that. They’re ok, but they’re not fucking pancakes. They’re eggs, with banana in it. It’s just fucking offensive. I hate being lied to. Don’t put a banana on my plate with a bit of fucking egg in it and tell me it’s a fucking pancake. That’s what shits me about a lot of ‘healthy’ food pages. The recipes taste like fucking healthy food, and don’t get me started on the textures. It angers me. So I harnessed my pancake-rage and turned it to focus. I got Mum on the blower, “give it to me straight, Mum, what’s in those crack-cakes you call pancakes”. Turns out it was fuckloads of sugar, butter, eggs and flour. No wonder they’re so delicious. I played around with it, and tested it on my unsuspecting toddler (sucks to be him). This is where we are at – and people: it’s good. The texture isn’t flawless, but they’re healthy, tasty, fluffy and easy. I’m not fucking with you.


Ingredients:

– 1 1/4 cup almond meal (if you’re not gluten-free, use 1/4 cup wholemeal flour in lieu of the extra 1/4 cup almond meal, for extra fluff)

– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 3 eggs

– 1/4 cup coconut milk (or whatever milk you fancy)

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or macadamia oil or melted butter)

– 2 tablespoons honey


Get fluffin’:

– get yo’ fuckin’ blender out

– pop all the wet stuff in the blender and whizz it until it’s combined

– now get your dry bits in on the action

– whizz it for a minute or so. In fact, whizz the shit out of it

– get a frypan heating up over a medium heat

– now, when it comes to greasing the ol’ frypan, you have a couple of options. The superior flavour option is without a doubt, fucking butter. But, coconut oil is pretty good too. I use butter because I’m dirty and excellent

– pour the batter into the pan making pancakes of about 8cm diameter. Don’t be tempted to make them too big, because, like a heavy rooting partner, they’ll be too hard to flip

– the downside of these little champs is that they burn easily. So keep an eye on the little pricks. They’ll need turning in 1-2 minutes. The other side will cook pretty quick so just watch

– now serve those Fluff-cakes up nude, or with maple syrup, or with fruit. Put fucking cream and jam on them if you want, it’s in your hands


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I’m on your team, fluffballs.

Truthfully yours,

Shannon x


Sniff out Shannon’s Kitchen on Facebook


Chocolate Goo-Goo Cake

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Chocolate cake: one of life’s winners. But with a fucktonne of sugar, flour and oil, it might pork you up the ring-piece if you overdo it. So, if you would rather take your health risks in the form of binge drinking, fries and pingers, then making your chocolate cake more nutritious could be a goer. Chocolate Goo-Goo Cake has less sugar, is wheat-free, has more protein and healthy fats, and is bloody tasty and moist. In fact, its moisture content could rival a dirty Aussie bloke’s crotch in Thailand. Like the double entendre there? So bloody clever. Now cake fans, it’s cake time. Get a load of her:

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 Ingredients:

The cake:

– 3 cups almond meal

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1/3 cup cacao powder

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter or macadamia oil)

– 1/2 cup milk (rice, coconut, dairy, soy, whatever the fuck you like)

– 5 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or rice malt syrup)

– 3 tablespoons yoghurt (I like CoYo – dairy-free coconut yoghurt, it tastes like sexual relations if sexual relations tasted coconutty and awesome)

– 4 eggs, lightly beaten

The frosting-goo:

– 100gm good quality chocolate (I get stiffies for PANA chocolate, matter of fact I’ve got one now)

– 1/3 cup coconut cream (or normal cream)

– 3 tablespoons peanut butter (not essential, but awesome)

– pinch of salt.. be generous


 How to go Goo-Goo:

– preheat the oven to 160C

– pop the almond meal, cacao powder, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and stir it all around like a crazy-mofo

– then add in all the wet ingredients and give it another good crazy-mofo stir. It will form a thicker batter than a conventional cake, so don’t think you’ve balls-ed it up, you haven’t

– use a round 20cm cake tin, and grease and flour it (or line it with baking paper) and spoon that chocolatey goodness into the tin

– bang it in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on that fucker. Almond meal is more sensitive than flour

– let that baby cool on a cake rack, and make the frosting next

– melt the chocolate and peanut butter in a bowl over a simmering saucepan of water. Or chuck it in the microwave, I give zero fucks

– at the same time, gently heat the cream in another saucepan. I’m not sure the microwave would work for this. Mum? What do you reckon? MUM!

– when the cream is warm, and the chocolate and peanut butter have melted and gotten all up in each other’s business, mix it all together. Then sprinkle some salt over it and stir that through

– now get that frosting goo onto that sexy cake

– note that you now are the proud owner of a stiffie and a fucking awesome chocolate cake. Go forth and conquer


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 Get stuck into it, friends,

Shannon x


Margarine is bullshit

ImageMargarine is bullshit.

Men might like it because it doesn’t make you work to spread it – completely understandable. Perhaps women like its supposed health benefits. But it is bullshit. It tastes like shit and it is damn unhealthy. 

Margarine is usually made from unsaturated vegetables oils like canola or olive oil, which are generally healthier than saturated oils. However, the health benefits of these oils are lost in processing, as the structure of the oil is completely changed when it is turned from liquid to solid. It started out alright, got interfered with, and got clapped out. Like this poor bloody dog.

It started out a cute, natural dog.

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Then people fucked with it.

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Now it’s different. It’s changed. Shit got weird, and it’s not ok.

That’s what margarine is like. It started out just fine – a healthy oil. Then people fucked with it. It’s different. It’s changed. It got weird, and it’s not ok.

Margarine used to be produced through hydrogenation, resulting in the formation of trans fats. They are loved by commercial industries because they are very stable and increase foods’ shelf life. They’re probably as tasty as all hell, too. Then after decades of community use, it was discovered and revealed that these fats are friggin’ nasty. Real jerks. They mess up your cholesterol levels and have been linked to inflammatory disorders and even cancer. Pump the brakes, trans fats, you’re out of control.

Australia has started to crack down on trans fats, reducing the use of hydrogenation and commencing another process: interesterification. Interesterification produces artificial fat molecules not found in nature, but its use results in a product with significantly less trans fats. But they’re no knights in lubricated, shining, greased armour. Studies have found that interesterified fats adversely alter cholesterol (LDL/HDL) levels too, as well as disturbing blood sugar balance (if you’re interested to read a study about this, click here). So as well as cocking up your cholesterol, it may increase your risk of developing diabetes. Dia-bloody-betes?! Well that’s no damn good. Like with those pricks, trans fats, other adverse health effects may expose themselves over time.

Why would you risk damaging your precious rig for something as disappointing and flaccid as margarine? Butter may have high saturated fat, but it is natural and it tastes amazing. If I encountered a hungry cannibal, and they set their sights on my meaty thighs, I would halt them pre-slaughter and insist that they baste me in butter. Because I’m worth it,

Shannon x

P.S. Check that your butter is pure. Its ingredients should be ‘cream, water, salt’ only, no additives or preservatives. Do it right.

READING FOR NERDBURGERS:

Gebauer, S., Psota, T. & Kris-Etherton, P. 2007, ‘The diversity of health effects of individual trans fatty acid isomers’, Lipids, Vol 42 Iss 9. Available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-007-3095-8

Harder, B. 2007, ‘A trans fat substitute might have health risks too’, Science News. Available at https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/food-thought/trans-fat-substitute-might-have-health-risks-too

Karupaiah, T & Sundram K. 2007, ‘ Effects of stereospecific positioning of fatty acids in triacylglycerol structures in native and randomized fats: a review of their nutritional implications’, Nutrition & Metabolism, Vol 4 Iss 16. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1947992/

Micha, R. et al. 2010, ‘Food sources of individual plasma phospholipid trans fatty acid isomers: the Cardiovascular Health Study’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol 91 No 4. Available at http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/4/883.full.pdf+html

Sundram, K, Karupaiah, T. & Hayes, K. 2007, ‘ Stearic acid-rich interesterified fat and trans-rich fat raise the LDL/HDL ratio and plasma glucose relative to palm olein in humans’, Nutrition & Metabolism, Vol 4 Iss 3. Available at http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/4/1/3


Eat Your Heart Out: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

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Hearts: they keep us from being jerks and they also keep us alive, which is preferable and cool. They pump harder than a horndog to move that nutritious blood around your body. They can’t take holidays either, those poor suckers, and if they do – well, you dead. So let’s treat them like the winners that they are, and feed them the sort of rocket fuel that makes them happy. 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) envelops a range of diseases, such as heart attacks, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease caused by atherosclerosis (accumulation of plaque on arteries) and thrombosis (sneaky, dirty, nasty blood clots). CVD accounts for significant morbidity and mortality in the developed world and is a leading cause of death in Australia (Heart Foundation 2013). Risk factors for CVD include advancing age, family history, dyslipidemia (cholesterol levels more deranged than Gadaffi), hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption (Lord, help us), inactivity, and, importantly, diet.

Now, any dingleberry could probably tell you that diet affects the incidence of heart fuck-ups, but it’s good to know that epidemiological studies agree. Some foods are beneficial in preventing and treating CVD, and some will gladly jizz all over your heart, spit on it, and walk away high-fiving their evil counterparts. Friggin jerks! 

Foods that are Mr Good Boys:

Nuts: Various studies concur that consuming nuts several times a week significantly reduces heart disease and the incidence of myocardial infarctions (when you heart goes “tick.. tick.. tick.. tick BOOM! = not good). Explanations for this benefit include the high quantities of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in nuts. These fats have positive effects on blood lipids by lowering LDL (low density lipoproteins = the bad-arse cholesterol) and total cholesterol, which helps rebalance weirdo-wacky-harmful cholesterol levels. The fats also reduce LDL oxidation. Oxidation of LDL involves that bad-arse cholesterol reacting with free radicals. Let me explain this: imagine the LDL is some dickhead you know. They’re already a dickhead, but then they go and take Crystal meth and then they turn into a right cock, and start punching everyone and smashing things. That is oxidised LDL. It is volatile and it goes and messes up your sweet arteries, damaging the tissues and building plaques (atherosclerosis). So if you reduce this occurrence, and combine it with the anti-inflammatory qualities of nuts, you have yourself a reduced risk of atherosclerosis (remember that shitty stuff that clogs your arteries?).

Arginine, an amino acid present in many nuts, may also prevent and slow progression of CVD.  Arginine is a substrate for nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and inhibits atherosclerosis progression through anti-platelet activity. Nitric oxide also helps guys get boners. Just sayin’. Nuts also contain fibre, vitamin E and minerals essential to general heart health. Pass me a nut please, actually, pass me two, as they are best served in pairs. Sorry, Lance, but it’s true.

Whole Grains: These monkeys lower the risk for CVD through various mechanisms. Soluble fibre found in most whole grains lowers blood cholesterol levels by binding with bile acids in the gastrointestinal tract, causing their excretion (like the person on the dance-floor who falls over and drags you down with them). The liver then increases cholesterol consumption to replace lost bile acids, thereby reducing blood cholesterol levels. Thanks liver! You really are a giver.

Whole grains are legendary antioxidants as well. So like their friends, nuts, they prevent oxidation of LDLs (remember those filthy meth-heads?) which reduces the clogging of your arteries and your risk of CVD. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect (through their balancing effect on insulin), which has a positive effect on blood vessel integrity. Aim for a couple of servings of whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats, for example) a day, at least! Refined grains, on the other hand, are harmful to the heart, explained down below.

Fruits and Vegetables: 

Large scale studies have found that a minimum of 5 serves of fruit/vegetables daily reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by around 30%. Fruit and vegetables are rich in many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants and fibre. These nutrients affect various physiological functions, such as improving blood lipids, blood viscosity and agglutination (whether or not they stick like shit to a blanket), reducing oxidation, reducing blood pressure, and increasing insulin sensitivity. The high fibre content reduces cholesterol (like those lovely Whole Grains). Antioxidant content in fruit and vegetables also benefits individuals by preventing damage to the blood vessels, thereby reducing that shitty, clogging, atherosclerosis.

Combatting hypertension is also essential in managing CVD. Some flavonoids, such as those found in onions and peaches, can assist nitric oxide function, improving blood vessel function. The mineral magnesium is abundant in many fruit and vegetables. It behaves as a calcium channel antagonist which stimulates vasodilation (nice, loose, chilled blood vessels). These effects could reduce blood pressure and strain on the heart. High potassium intake also lowers blood pressure as it encourages the kidneys to excrete sodium.

Eat heaps and heaps of fruit and vegetables. Just do it.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These guys are very special, so they have a post all of their very own, see here:

http://shannonskitchen.com/2014/06/02/omega-3-fatty-acids-whats-so-special-about-fish-oil/

Foods that will buggar it all up:

Certain foods can contribute to the onset or exacerbation of CVD, and include:

Refined grains:  Western diets are high in refined carbohydrates. God damn it. Refined grains have lost many micronutrients during processing and this lack of nutrients compromises the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, undertake repair and thrive. Boooooooooooo. Studies suggest higher refined carbohydrate messes with cholesterol levels – increasing LDLs (those monsters) and reducing HDLs (the friendly cholesterol). Refined grains are ranked high on the glycaemic index as they are digested quickly, causing blood sugar elevation. This blood sugar spike triggers increased secretion of insulin. If refined grains are consumed in excess over long periods, metabolic damage and insulin resistance can occur. This constant spiking and falling of blood sugar levels and insulin levels damages blood vessels and promotes inflammation, which in turn can increase atherosclerosis. Let’s not ignore that consumption of refined grains is also correlated with obesity, a predominant risk factor for CVD.

We have all heard dudes roostering on about saturated fat being bad for the heart, but modern research suggests that refined grains are more detrimental to CVD risk than saturated fat (if you are interested for more information, check out this and that). So to look after your ticker, and your entire body (waistline included) ditch refined grains and replace them with whole grains.

Trans Fatty Acids: Trans fats. What a bunch of absolute menaces. Complete arseholes. They are artificial and are found in many fried foods and hydrogenated vegetable oils such as margarine. That’s right, margarine is not healthy. Consumption of trans fats has been strongly associated with a higher risk of CVD. Trans fats adversely affect blood lipids, and excessive consumption raises LDL cholesterol (bad dudes) while lowering HDL cholesterol (good dudes). These absolute dropkicks also promote inflammation and thrombus formation (blood clots that can find themselves causing very inconvenient blood-vessel roadblocks: the kind that make you go dead). They are in deep-fried foods, many packaged foods (like snack foods), baked foods, and margarine.


There is so much more to talk about, and so many foods to have and to leave. But if you’re eating real food (whole foods, not packet foods) then you’re on the right track. Food doesn’t just determine your size, it also determines the health of your precious inners. Like you, I kind of need my heart. I’m still going to eat a sausage roll every now and then, I’m not going to lie to you. But let’s try to do more of the good stuff, and less of the bad.

Savvy?

Shannon x


READING, IF YOU’RE A NERD:

Anderson, J. and Hanna, T. 1999. ‘Whole grains and protection against coronary heart disease: what are the active components and mechanisms?’. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70 (3), pp. 307-308. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/307.full 

Appel, L., Br, S, M., Daniels, S., Karanja, N., Elmer, P. and Sacks, F. 2006. ‘Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension a scientific statement from the American Heart Association’. Hypertension, 47 (2), pp. 296-308. Available at: http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/47/2/296.full 

Connor, W. 2000. ‘Importance of n- 3 fatty acids in health and disease’. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71 (1), pp. 171-175. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/1/171S.full

Damasceno, N., Perez-Heras, A., Serra, M., Cofan, M., Sala-Vila, A., Salas-Salvado, J. and Ros, E. 2011. ‘Crossover study of diets enriched with virgin olive oil, walnuts or almonds. Effects on lipids and other cardiovascular risk markers’. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 21 pp. 14-20. Available at: http://predimed.onmedic.net/Portals/0/crossover.pdf 

Dauchet, L., Amouyel, P., Hercberg, S. and Dallongeville, J. 2006. ‘Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of cohort studies’. The Journal of Nutrition, 136 (10), pp. 2588-2593. Available at: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/10/2588.full 

Dokken, B. 2008. ‘The pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: beyond blood pressure and lipids’. Diabetes Spectrum, 21 (3), pp. 160-165. Available at: http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/3/160.full

Gillingham, L., Harris-Janz, S. and Jones, P. 2011. ‘Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids are protective against metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk factors’. Lipids, 46 (3), pp. 209-228. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-010-3524-y 

Heart Foundation Australia. 2013. Data and Statistics. Available at: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/information-for-professionals/data-and-statistics/Pages/default.aspx

Hu, F. 2003. ‘Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78 (3), pp. 544-551. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/544S.long

Hu, F. 2010. ‘Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91 (6), pp. 1541-1542. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/6/1541.full.pdf+html 

Liu, S., Stampfer, M., Hu, F., Giovannucci, E., Rimm, E., Manson, J., Hennekens, C. and Willett, W. 1999. ‘Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: results from the Nurses’ Health Study’.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70 (3), pp. 412-419. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/412.full

Lopez-Garcia, E., Schulze, M., Meigs, J., Manson, J., Rifai, N., Stampfer, M., Willett, W. and Hu, F. 2005. ‘Consumption of trans fatty acids is related to plasma biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction’. The Journal of Nutrition, 135 (3), pp. 562-566. Available at: http://nutrition.highwire.org/content/135/3/562.full 

Mellen, P., Walsh, T. and Herrington, D. 2008. ‘Whole grain intake and cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis’. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 18 (4), pp. 283-290. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17449231 

Reaven, P., Parthasarathy, S., Grasse, B., Miller, E., Steinberg, D. and Witztum, J. 1993. ‘Effects of oleate-rich and linoleate-rich diets on the susceptibility of low density lipoprotein to oxidative modification in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects’. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 91 (2), p. 668. Available at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/116247/pdf/render

Sabate, J. and Wien, M. 2013. ‘Consumption of nuts in the prevention of cardiovascular disease’. Current Nutrition Reports, pp. 1-9. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13668-013-0059-x 

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Wang, C., Harris, W., Chung, M., Lichtenstein, A., Balk, E., Kupelnick, B., Jordan, H. and Lau, J. 2006. ‘n- 3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary-and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84 (1), pp. 5–17. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/1/5.full

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Omega-3 fatty acids: What’s so special about fish oil?

omega3

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats found in fish, some vegetable oils and some nuts and seeds (like chia seeds and flaxseeds aka linseeds). Interest in these nutrients, related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), arose when the high-fish diet of Eskimos revealed a correlation between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and low rates of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acid studies have shown decreased mortality and morbidity from myocardial infarctions (big-arse heart attacks), stroke and heart disease.

These fatty acids aid prevention and management of CVD as they reduce blood viscosity, platelet aggregation, fibrinogen and thrombin levels which reduces blood coagulation – in other words, it makes your blood less sticky. It can also reduce constriction of blood vessels by blocking the synthesis of a prostaglandin called thromboxane. So this benefits you by lowering your blood pressure. Which makes your heart even less likely to explode! Yay!

Omega-3 fatty acids have also shown to lower blood cholesterol. Doctors, nurses, the bloke at the pub and crazy health nuts all agree that high cholesterol (hyperlipidaemia) is a significant risk factor for CVD. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to inhibit synthesis of VLDLs (very low density lipoproteins) and triglycerides in the liver. This blood cholesterol reduction then lessens atherosclerosis (the formation of that shitty gunk on the inside of your beautiful arteries, the sort that go KABOOM and cause doom and/or gloom). Atherosclerosis is also reduced by omega-3 fatty acids via suppression of production of inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins, eicosanoids and cytokines. This anti-inflammatory effect can also aid other conditions like arthritis and eczema.

So, eat fish and nuts and seeds. Or be lazy and take a top quality fish oil (make sure it is cold pressed).

SOURCES/READING:

Braun, L. and Cohen, M. 2010. Herbs & Natural Supplements. 3rd ed. Sydney: Elsevier Australia.

Connor, W. 2000. ‘Importance of n- 3 fatty acids in health and disease’. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71 (1), pp. 171-175. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/1/171S.full 

Hu, F. 2003. ‘Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78 (3), pp. 544-551. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/544S.long 

Osiecki, H. 2010. The Nutrient Bible. 8th ed. Eagle Farm, Qld.: Bio Concepts Publishing.

Rolfes, S., Pinna, K. and Whitney, E. 2012. Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition. 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Sarris, J. & Wardle, J. 2010. Clinical Naturopathy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Practice. Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier Australia.

Wang, C., Harris, W., Chung, M., Lichtenstein, A., Balk, E., Kupelnick, B., Jordan, H. and Lau, J. 2006. ‘n- 3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary-and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84 (1), pp. 5–17. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/1/5.full