Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Is Listeria?

Listeria Monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause listeriosis. The recent outbreak involves cantaloupe from Colorado, which is linked to at least 16 deaths.

According to the CDC, the disease affects primarily older adults, pregnant women, newborns and those with weakened immune systems.


  1. Pregnant women experience mild, flu-like symptoms.
  2. Others experience fever, muscle aches, headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and possibly convulsions.
You can get listeriosis by eating listeria contaminated food. You can reduce your risks of being infected with listeria by
  • Thoroughly cooking raw food from animal sources
  • Rinse raw vegetables and the skins of fruits under running tap water
  • Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables, fruits and cooked foods and ready to eat foods
  • Don't drink raw unpasteurized milk or dairy products
  • Wash hands and utensils before handling uncooked foods
  • Consume perishable foods as soon as possible.
Be aware the listeria can grow in foods in your refrigerator. The refrigerator should be kept 40 F or lower, and your freezer at 0 F or lower.

If you have a fever, muscle aches or stiff neck while feeling sick, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Antibiotics can cure the illness. However, death can still occur especially with older adults, and in people with other serious medical conditions.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lowering Your Risks Of Heart Disease

I watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta's CNN report titled "The Last Heart Attack" the other night. One of the things mentioned in the program was that large particle cholesterol has a lower risks of causing plague buildup in arteries than small particle cholesterol, especially small particle LDL. Unfortunately, the program did not go into detail on what causes small particle LDL.

Dr. Mark Hyman has a great article titled "Why Cholesterol May Not Be The Cause Of Heart Disease." Dr. Hyman states that it is not the amount of cholesterol that is important for cardiovascular health, but the amount of abnormal cholesterol in your system. Increased levels of abnormal cholesterol and small particle cholesterol will increase your risks of heart problems.

Trans fats, saturated fats and sugar all lead to the increased production of abnormal cholesterol and small particle cholesterol, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Of course, changing your diet to consume as little trans fats, saturated fats and sugars as possible is a big first step in lowering your risks of arteriosclerosis or heart disease from the buildup of plague in your arteries.

High baseline inflammation in your body is also a risk factor for heart disease. Baseline inflammation can increase from high consumption of sugars, trans fats and saturated fats, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, poor dental hygiene and other bodily diseases. Improving your diet, exercising, proper dental hygiene and reducing your stress levels can reduce your risks of heart disease. For some with your doctor's approval, low dose aspirin intake can also help reduce baseline inflammation.

Another thing to consider is the amount of chromium in your diet. In her book, "The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book," Shari Lieberman, PhD., states that in many Eastern nations where low cholesterol levels are common, high chromium levels have been found in their body tissues. Animal studies have also shown that rats given chromium supplements also result in low cholesterol levels and lower accumulation of fatty plagues in their arteries. She goes on to state that low chromium levels results in preventing glucose receptor sites on our cells to work properly. This results in elevated levels of glucose in our blood stream, which ultimately results in elevated cholesterol levels, and the increased risks of plague buildup.

Choline levels in your diet may also be an important consideration. David Canty, Ph.D. in his article "Lecithin And Choline Redeemed," states that an adequate intake of choline through lecithin can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. One of the functions of choline is to metabolize homocysteine. Increased levels of homocysteine in the body has been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease. Lecithin is considered by many to be one of the better sources of choline.

In summary, to reduce your risks of heart disease, you should take steps to reduce the amount of small particle LDL in your body. These steps include:
  • Avoid foods high in trans and saturated fats and sugar, including high fructose corn syrup.
  • Routinely exercise.
  • Proper dental hygiene.
  • Reduce stress in your life.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Make sure that your diet includes adequate amounts of chromium and choline.
  • And keep your blood pressure within normal, healthy ranges.