So, what are Dr. Houston’s recommendations on how to eat for optimal heart health. His “Integrative Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program Diet” is a mix of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. This incorporates great amounts of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats of the Mediterranean diet and low sodium of the DASH diet. It also includes a significant amount of lean meat and only one serving of grain daily. This Dr. Houston bases on the history of human evolution:
“Think about it: Grains (the seeds of wild grass) entered the human diet relatively late in evolutionary terms, not until farming began some ten thousand to twelve thousand years ago. Up until that time, humans could certainly have gathered these seeds and eaten them, but the amounts they actually consumed would have been small, since grains are difficult to collect, chew and digest. It was only when humans figured out how to grow grains in large amounts and then soak, grind, and cook them that they became a mainstay of the diet. But while our digestive, immune, cardiovascular, and other bodily systems were adept at handling meat, vegetables, and fruits, grains were literally a shock to the system. They necessitated a major genetic adaptation that many of us still haven’t managed to achieve. It’s quite common to have problems handling the gluten in wheat, for example, which triggers inflammation, allergic reactions, and intestinal damage, all of which hamper nutrient absorption. And, of course, when grains are refined to produce the white flour found in bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, and more, their negative effects on blood glucose, body weight, digestion, and the cardiovascular system are nothing short of an abomination. That’s why I recommend that you limit your servings of grains to just one per day, and leave refined grains completely out” (pg. 119-120)
The Highlights of the Integrative Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program Diet:
- Vegetables: 6 servings daily (Rainbow: lots of colors!)
- Fruits: 4 servings daily (Berries)
- Protein: 2-4 servings daily (wild fish and game) Bake, Broil or Roast. Do NOT fry.
- Grains: 1 serving daily
- Fats: 2-3 servings daily (Mono or Poly unsaturated) Olive oil!
No Trans/hydrogenated Fats!
- Dairy: 2 servings
- Dried Beans/Nuts/Seeds: 1-2 servings daily
- Sweets: 1 serving WEEKLY
Foods to Avoid:
- Artificial Sweeteners!
Okay to use raw honey or stevia.
- Refined Carbohydrates: bread, pasta, rice, white potatoes, sweets.
If its white do NOT eat it!
- Added Salt.
- Trans/Hydrogenated Fats.