Heart Health Tips from Drs. Rick and Karin Dina D.C.

Drs. Rick and Karin Dina, D.C.In this month of Valentine’s Day, there is always much focus on the heart, as it is an icon that represents many important emotional values that contribute to health and well-being, such as love, kindness, and connection with others. When it comes to our literal, physical hearts, those life giving organs that pump blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every part of our body for our entire lifetimes, we can engage in the spirit of Valentine’s Day by showing our own hearts the level of love and kindness they truly need and deserve. As many of you already know, heart disease is the leading cause of premature (and preventable) death in the United States and many other modern industrialized nations. The great news is that there are simple, yet extremely powerful steps we can take to prevent, and even reverse this disease process, as well as measurements to let us know if we are on the right or wrong track toward taking the best care we can of our hearts.

Most of us have heard about many of the traditional risk factors for heart disease, such as high total cholesterol, high LDL, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cigarette smoking. While the connection between heart disease and these risk factors is well established, newer science has revealed a number of additional markers of blood vessel pathology that are also thought to be significant indicators of the potential for developing the type of vascular (blood vessel) disease that damages our hearts. They have complex sounding names such as c-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and vascular adhesion molecule, and are indicators of inflammation within our artery walls. This more recent research has revealed that all else being equal, the more inflammation that exists within an artery wall, the greater likelihood there is for oxidized fats and cholesterol, dead cells, etc. to collect and contribute to the plaque build up that can eventually cut off blood flow to critical organs such as our hearts and brains.

Some of the causes of this inflammation have to do with internal physiological factors, such as excess body fat and sustained high blood sugar levels. Interestingly, there are also external factors that are associated with increasing levels of these newer disease indicating inflammatory markers when we consume them. One of those is from eating certain types of typical modern foods that have been prepared by many common cooking methods, especially those that reach the highest temperatures for the longest periods of time. These external factors we are discussing are a group of substances known as dietary AGEs, just one of several major categories of Cooked Food Toxins, as they are referred to within the peer reviewed scientific literature. Several classes of these toxins also occur in cigarette smoke at even greater levels than are found in cooked foods.

By eating greater amounts of health promoting, whole, natural, uncooked plant foods, we can avoid a great deal of these issues that can damage the blood vessels that feed our hearts. This includes both the traditional risk factors and the more newly revealed markers of inflammation. In the Science of Raw Food Nutrition™ classes taught here at Living Light, we go into much more detail about where these newly identified and newly understood substances are found, how they work, and most importantly how to avoid or minimize them, even if you are not completely raw and/or not completely vegan.

We hope that in this month of Valentine’s Day you will be inspired to take good care of your heart both emotionally and physically. Combining heart healthy words and actions toward yourself and others with heart healthy, whole, natural, uncooked plant foods helps to nourish the heart on many levels. May your hearts take good care of you as you take good care of them.

Dr. Rick Dina, D.C.


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Reissigová J, Tomecková M. State of the art coronary heart disease risk estimations based on the Framingham heart study. Cent Eur J Public Health. 2005 Dec;13(4):180-6

Uribarri J, et al. Diet-derived advanced glycation end products are major contributors to the body’s AGE pool and induce inflammation in healthy subjects. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1043:461-5

Vlassara H. Intervening in atherogenesis: lessons from diabetes. Hosp Pract (Minneap). 2000 Nov 15;35(11):25-7, 32, 35-9

Vlassara H, et al. Inflammatory mediators are induced by dietary glycotoxins, a major risk factor for diabetic angiopathy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Nov 26;99(24):15596-601.


2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elven  |  February 20, 2011 at 8:53 am

    “thank you much,I have more to learn about life it seems….”

    • 2. livinglightinternational  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      We have wonderful resources here at Living Light. Please enjoy our website and blogs. There is good information, recipes, articles and much more!


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