Steven Masley MD, LLC https://drmasley.com Tune up your brain, heart, energy, waistline, and sex life! Tue, 19 May 2020 13:51:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://drmasley.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-PAN1360re-32x32.jpg Steven Masley MD, LLC https://drmasley.com 32 32 Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for Your Heart? https://drmasley.com/is-coconut-oil-good-or-bad-for-your-heart/ https://drmasley.com/is-coconut-oil-good-or-bad-for-your-heart/#respond Tue, 19 May 2020 13:38:20 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8356 The post Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for Your Heart? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Coconut oil has received repeated positive reviews from selected health experts in the wellness industry, but are these accolades really warranted?

A recent March 2020 article published in Circulation[1], a journal of the American Heart Association, evaluated 16 clinical studies that had compared the effects of coconut oil consumption with other fats, evaluating their impact on cholesterol, inflammation, and blood sugar control.

My goal for this blog is to summarize this recent article, share my thoughts on how coconut oil may impact your risk for a future heart disease, and look at other health claims regarding coconut oil, as well.

Epidemiological studies that have compared cultures that used coconut products have shown very low rates of heart disease, yet much of the coconut consumed in these studies was from coconut meat (which includes fiber) or coconut milk, not just the extracted coconut oil itself. These populations also happen to be far more physically active and eat less sugar than most other cultures, so it would be very challenging to say with conviction that coconut oil consumption might prevent heart disease based upon this epidemiological evidence.

Impact of Coconut Oil on Cholesterol

Although cholesterol is not the most important risk factor for heart disease (blood sugar levels and blood pressure control are likely more important) it remains one of the many factors we consider when evaluating the long-term risk for heart disease.

In the past, studies have shown that consuming coconut oil raises both your LDL cholesterol (less healthy) and HDL cholesterol (healthier) similarly. Rather than focusing on either total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol by themselves, the best predictor for your risk for future heart disease has been your LDL to HDL ratio (LDL/HDL, in essence the ratio of garbage to garbage trucks in your streets), that determines how clean your arteries might be.

In contrast to reports from individual studies performed in the past, combining the results from all 16 studies showed that LDL cholesterol increased twice as much as HDL cholesterol, worsening the LDL/HDL ratio. The authors concluded that regular use of coconut oil and the cholesterol changes that follow would increase the risk for heart disease and future cardiovascular events by about 5-6 percent.

Unfortunately, this meta-analysis did not review studies sharing more advanced cholesterol profiles that consider particle size, as the size of LDL and HDL particle size in the blood stream is likely more important than just the cholesterol numbers. Coconut oil appears to increase large, fluffy (healthier particles) than small, denser (less healthy particles.) Past studies that compared particle sizes would suggest that coconut oil´s impact on cholesterol is more neutral than bad. Although we have never had any studies to confirm that the beneficial impact of coconut oil on particle size may result in true cardiac benefits.

Impact of Coconut Oil on Inflammation and Blood Sugar Control

Despite past claims that coconut oil may help blood sugar control and inflammation, in this recent analysis of 16 studies, there was no difference in blood sugar or inflammation levels between coconut oil and other oils.

In contrast, several other previously published studies have shown that extra-virgin olive oil will enhance blood sugar control and decrease inflammation.

How About the Impact of Coconut Oil on Artery Function?

Several years ago, a study in subjects with established heart disease[2] analysed the impact of coconut oil versus other fats on artery wall function. When people were fed coconut oil, their arteries tended to constrict and show a decrease in blood flow (called endothelial dysfunction) more than the other oils studied. This study also showed that use of coconut oil increased oxidation of HDL cholesterol and inflammation within the artery wall. At least for people with established heart disease, this would make using coconut oil relatively contraindicated.

How About the Impact of Coconut Oil on Brain Function?

Past studies have shown that for people with established memory loss, adding medium chain fats (specifically caprylic acid and capric acid) could improve cognitive function and show promise short term for stopping the progression of dementia. There are no studies using only coconut oil that show this same benefit. However, coconut oil is only 12% caprylic and capric acid, with 50% lauric acid, plus other longer saturated fats. Coconut oil has been marketed as a good source of medium chain fatty acids, but in truth if you really wanted to treat memory loss, I would strongly suggest using only caprylic and capric acid formulations and skipping the coconut oil.

Important Specifics for Cooking with Coconut Oil

The smoke point of virgin coconut oil is only 300° F, meaning that it will be damaged if heated past medium heat. There has been a rumor that coconut oil is a good choice for high heat cooking, yet this is simply not the case. You can use it at low or medium heat, but from a health perspective, do not use it for high heat cooking.

Summary Regarding Coconut Oil Use

In the past I have been on the fence about using coconut oil, thinking there might be some mild heart risk and some modest brain benefit, although for people with known heart disease I have said that it should be avoided.

Yet, as time moves forward and more studies become available, the benefits of coconut have always been a bit sketchy. In reality, if you want brain benefit you would be better off taking formulations with caprylic and capric acid and not cooking with coconut oil. Multiple previous studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil helps to improve cognitive function and to prevent memory loss.

For a young healthy adult, using coconut oil on occasion would be fine, just cook with it at low heat. In a curry, better would be to use coconut milk instead of coconut oil.

From a heart perspective, especially people at high risk for a cardiovascular event, it is best avoided. Better choices would be extra-virgin olive oil for salads dressings and low-heat cooking, and avocado or almond oil for medium-high or high heat cooking.

 

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

[1] Neelakantan N, Hoong Seah JY, Van Dam RM. The Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Circulation. 2020;141:803–814. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA

[2] Nichols SJ et al. Consumption of saturated fat impairs the anti-inflammatory properties of HDL lipoproteins and endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006;48:715-20.

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Mixed Salad with Chicken https://drmasley.com/mixed-salad-with-chicken/ https://drmasley.com/mixed-salad-with-chicken/#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 19:20:09 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8328 The post Mixed Salad with Chicken appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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As it gets warmer, Nicole and I have been looking forward to having a salad for dinner—something light and refreshing. Feel free to select ingredients that you have on hand and substitute with what is fresh and available. If you would prefer a vegetarian version, double the garbanzo bean portion and skip the chicken, or for a pescatarian option, use grilled shrimp instead of chicken. You can use green or black unpitted olives, whatever you have in the pantry.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon avocado oil

10 ounces boneless chicken breast, sliced into ½-inch strips

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 head of Boston lettuce (or butter/bibb lettuce), chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon capers

1 medium carrot, grated

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 olives

1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat, add avocado oil, then add chicken, salt, black pepper, and thyme and heat for about 5-7 minutes with an occasional stir until chicken is lightly browned and internal temperature is at least 165° F (there will be no pink in the center of the strips). Reduce heat to a simmer, stir in garlic and heat one more minute, remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile in a salad bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, capers, carrot, and garbanzo beans. In a bowl whisk olive oil, vinegar, and mustard together, then toss dressing with the salad.

Spoon the olives, avocado, and cooked chicken with garlic over the salad and serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Roasted Chicken Marinated with Lemon, Mint, and Parsley https://drmasley.com/roasted-chicken-marinated-with-lemon-mint-and-parsley/ https://drmasley.com/roasted-chicken-marinated-with-lemon-mint-and-parsley/#respond Fri, 01 May 2020 22:00:25 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=6713 The post Roasted Chicken Marinated with Lemon, Mint, and Parsley appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Flavorful, super easy meal to prepare.

Serves: Four

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 1-2 hours

Baking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Small hen, whole chicken, about 3.5 pounds (organic-fed, cage-free)

2 medium lemons, juiced, seeds discarded

¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large dish, marinate whole chicken with lemon juice, mint, and parsley for 1-2 hours, occasionally turning the chicken and spooning liquid and herbs over the bird and into the cavity.

Preheat oven to 395° (F). Transfer chicken to a roasting pan.

Pour the lemon juice, mint, and parsley through a sieve and discard lemon juice.

Massage olive oil, mint, parsley, salt, and black pepper on the chicken.

Bake for about 70-75 minutes, until deep thigh temperature reaches at least 165° F with a meat thermometer.

Transfer whole chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

 

Enjoy!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

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Can You Reduce Your Risk for Severe COVID-19? https://drmasley.com/can-you-reduce-your-risk-for-severe-covid-19/ https://drmasley.com/can-you-reduce-your-risk-for-severe-covid-19/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2020 03:40:05 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8253 The post Can You Reduce Your Risk for Severe COVID-19? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Over the next 12 to 18 months, before a vaccine and effective therapies for the coronavirus become available, millions of us will be infected by the coronavirus. Some estimates suggest that up to 50% of the population will be infected in the next year. When that happens, we all hope that we are in the 80% of people that have the mild form of the disease. This blog focuses on what you can do to help ensure that a mild case includes you, if you contract the virus.

By now, most of us have heard about the risk factors that make it more likely to get a severe form of this illness. Yet despite these risk factors, the healthier you live the better your chance for a milder form of the COVID-19 disease. The most serious risk factors include:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Immunocompromised state
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Severe obesity (BMI more than 40)
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart disease, including hypertension
  • Asthma

Those people who are at high risk for severe disease should follow all the CDC recommendations for social distancing, hygiene, and isolation. This will give scientists time to develop a vaccine and effective treatments for when they become sick.

Yet, some of the common risk factors that increase your risk for severe COVID-19 you can do something about, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart disease, including hypertension
  • Asthma

Diabetes Increases Your Risk for Severe COVID-19 in a Dramatic Way, Yet You Can Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle choices.

The key steps to improve blood sugar control are to:

1. Avoid sugar and refined carbs (including flour). Most processed foods are loaded with sugar and refined carbs. Now that we are in the middle of the corona pandemic, there has never been a better time to focus on the ingredients that you choose to consume.

2. Follow a Mediterranean Diet which means eating more vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts; using extra-virgin olive oil as your predominate cooking oil; consuming more Mediterranean herbs and spices, and avoiding sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals found in processed foods. The US News and World Report has named the Mediterranean Diet as the best diet to prevent and treat diabetes 3 years in a row.

3. Adding more activity. All of us need at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity daily for better blood sugar control, which should include some daily form of aerobic activity plus some form of strength training at least 3 days per week. Both are extra important for blood sugar control.

a. Walking can certainly count as a form of aerobic activity, and in today’s new world this means while maintaining a 6-foot social distance. But as walking is less intense than other forms of exercise, ensure that you walk for at least 60-90 minutes daily.

b. Now that most gyms have been temporarily closed, walking, cycling, and gardening are the easiest forms of activity for us to do. Recently, I have been trying to cycle 5-6 days per week.

From following these basic steps, I feel blessed that I have helped literally thousands of people reverse type 2 diabetes and improve their blood sugar control. Keep in mind that better blood sugar control can make a powerful difference in your immune system’s ability to fight infections.

5% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune disease that requires insulin products daily for blood sugar control. The better their blood sugar control, the better their immune system functions and the less ill they become when they are sick. All the steps that help people with type 2 diabetes are also helpful for improving control of type 1 diabetes.

Heart Disease and Hypertension

Like type 2 diabetes, many people with heart disease and hypertension can reverse their symptoms and even shrink their arterial plaque with lifestyle changes.

As abnormal blood sugar control is the #1 cause for heart disease, it should not surprise you that the same steps that improve blood sugar control noted above improve your blood pressure control and help to stop and reverse arterial plaque growth. Please see my recent blog on improving blood pressure control without needing medications by clicking here.

Studies have shown that we can prevent 90% of heart disease with the right lifestyle changes. This is the time to take action to reverse heart disease and hypertension!

If You Have Asthma:

Controlling your asthma symptoms decreases your risk for lung complications when you become sick. If you become sick, you will be better off if you optimize your asthma control and lung function in advance. Be sure to have an “Asthma Action Plan” up to date with your medical provider, which includes:

  • Continue your current medications, including any inhalers with steroids in them (“steroids” is another word for corticosteroids).
  • Know how to use your rescue inhaler.
  • Avoid your asthma triggers, which can include dust mites, molds, pets, passive (and active) tobacco exposure, and specific foods.

a. If your doctor has suggested a HEPA filter for your home and you have been avoiding doing this, now is the time.

b. If you need to take dust mite measures, such as getting rid of carpet in your bedroom and adding a dust mite cover for your mattress and pillows, do so.

c. Stay active as able and optimize your lung function as able.

d. If you are exposed to passive tobacco smoke, take steps to avoid it completely.

  • Stay up to date with your physician’s recommendations to optimize your lung function.

Some of the other risk factors that we cannot easily modify include:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Severe obesity (BMI more than 40)
  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Immunocompromised

With lung and kidney disease, if you smoke, then absolutely stop using tobacco.

The good news for all high-risk people is that your ability to fight infections and minimize their severity will improve nicely with a healthy diet, meeting your essential nutrient needs, staying active and being fit, and managing your stress.

In addition to healthy eating, please remember to optimize your immune function by taking a good quality multivitamin with at least 15 mg of zinc daily, by getting some source of omega-3 fats 2-3 times per week (seafood or either fish oil or DHA from algae), and that you get at least 2000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Even though we are social distancing, do take the time to speak to family and friends frequently. This is not the time to be emotionally isolated. We all need love and support. Reach out by phone, email, Skype, and other forms of communication to stay in close touch with people you love.

Now is the time to optimize the way you take care of yourself. Not only will it reduce your risk for severe COVID-19, but it will improve your energy and quality of life as well.

If you have additional questions, please leave a question in the comment section below so that I can try to help.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN

 

 

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Steamed Mussels with Parsley, Garlic, Celery & Ouzo https://drmasley.com/steamed-mussels-with-parsley-garlic-celery-ouzo/ https://drmasley.com/steamed-mussels-with-parsley-garlic-celery-ouzo/#respond Fri, 17 Apr 2020 19:01:25 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8238 The post Steamed Mussels with Parsley, Garlic, Celery & Ouzo appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Mussels are at their peak in the winter and into early spring. Mussels are a good source of both omega-3 fats and zinc which help boost our immune function. I continue to see fresh mussels for sale in grocery stores, and if you do not see them fresh, you can thaw frozen mussels and use them instead.

In Greece and Cyprus, ouzo is a dry anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed (sometimes diluted with a little water, poured over ice, and sometimes served straight). You often need to visit a liquor store to find it—at least in Florida they are keeping liquor stores open during the COVID-19 pandemic as essential businesses. The ouzo adds a lovely flavor to this easy-to-prepare dish, and you could substitute other liquors for ouzo although that will change the flavor substantially. Even though you use ouzo with alcohol in the preparation, the dish itself will be essentially alcohol-free as the alcohol evaporates with cooking and steaming.

Alternatively, you can also add onions, carrots, and baby potatoes to the celery if you want to turn this dish into a full meal without the need for a vegetable side dish.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2.5 pounds live mussels

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium celery stalks, chopped (include green tops if available)

¼ cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)

¼ cup ouzo

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

½ cup parsley, chopped

 Directions:

Immediately prior to cooking, scrub mussels and remove the beard (any brown fibers emerging from the shell) with your fingers, or use pliers if needed. Rinse and drain. If any mussels do not close fully, discard them.

Heat a large pot, to medium heat, add olive oil, then celery, and sauté for 2 minutes with an occasional stir until celery starts to soften. Add lemon juice, ouzo, and bring to a gentle boil.

Add mussels, cover the pot, and steam for 3 minutes until they just begin to open. Sprinkle the garlic and half the parsley over the mussels, close the lid, and steam another 2 minutes.

Next stir the pot with a large spoon, then add remaining parsley, cover, and steam a final 2-3 minutes, until nearly all the mussels have opened. (If there are a few mussels that do not open in the end, discard them.)

Remove from heat, stir again one last time, and serve in bowls immediately, with an extra bowl for empty shells once eaten.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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2021 Reverse Heart Disease Retreat https://drmasley.com/2021-reverse-heart-disease-retreat/ https://drmasley.com/2021-reverse-heart-disease-retreat/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2020 01:50:17 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8225 The post 2021 Reverse Heart Disease Retreat appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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February 2021 Reverse Heart Disease Retreat

With Dr. Steven Masley at his home in St. Petersburg, FL.

Join me in my home in St. Petersburg, Florida for an intimate, 2-day retreat to enable you to prevent and reverse heart disease.

The dates will be in February 2021, with advanced cardiovascular testing performed the day before the retreat starts.           

(Exact dates for the February 2021 retreat will be available in the Fall of 2020)

My goal for this event is to give you the tools needed for you to transform your life and overcome fears you might have regarding a future heart attack or stroke.

During this retreat, you will discover the real causes of heart disease—it is not just about cholesterol.

By the end of this retreat, you will know:

  • Which foods to eat and which to avoid
  • What nutrients and/or supplements you might be deficient in and a plan to ensure you optimize your nutrient needs
  • The physical activities that you need to boost your heart performance
  • The toxins in our environment that you should know about and avoid
  • And how to better manage your stress to keep you calm and balanced

These are the pillars that enable you to prevent and reverse arterial plaque growth with a personalized plan for you.

Protecting your heart will also improve your circulation—giving you:

  • More energy
  • Better romantic and sexual performance
  • Better sports performance
  • Improved brain performance and processing speed
This retreat includes advanced medical testing to assess your arterial age & your risk for cardiovascular disease, including:

  • Carotid Intimal Media Thickness Testing; (Carotid IMT) uses non-invasive ultrasound testing to measure your arterial age and arterial plaque status
  • Nutrient intake evaluation; 3-day food questionnaire with detailed analysis to clarify your current nutrient intake allowing us to formulate a plan to ensure you meet your future nutrient requirements
  • Advanced laboratory studies; fasting lipid profile, hs-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), fasting chemistry profile, and thyroid-stimulating hormone test (And if you have had other testing in the last 1-2 years, please send those results for me to review prior to the retreat.)
  • Max Pulse; this non-invasive testing assesses for cardiovascular disease and arterial stiffness
  • HeartMath;  testing to assess your ability to become calm and relaxed

The medical testing will be performed at the Masley Optimal Health Center.

Located at the Baycare Outpatient Center (Carillon) 900 Carillon Parkway, #201 St. Petersburg, FL 33716. Testing sessions will be scheduled for the day prior to the start of the retreat.

I will review your results during a group session with all of the participants at the 2-day retreat.

My clinic partner, Dr. Tarin Forbes, the medical director and president for the Masley Optimal Health Center will provide two presentations over the two days and also finalize a long-term medical plan for each of you during a group session.

Breakfast and lunch will be served both days at our home, as well as dinner the 1st evening of the retreat.

We can accommodate many food options, including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, or paleo food preferences.

Cooking demonstrations and tips will be included to help improve your cooking skills.

**Enrollment is limited to not more than 10 people to ensure we can address everyone’s questions and concerns.

We anticipate that this event will sell out, so enrollment will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.

What is the price for the retreat?

  • The price for this life transformation retreat is $4,000 per person (The value of this opportunity is priceless and has the potential to transform your life.)

  • We do not accept any form of medical insurance (including Medicare) for this retreat or for the medical testing performed at the Masley Optimal Health Center.

How do I register for this retreat?

  • Please send an email to info@drmasley.com for sign up instructions.

  • Once your registration has been confirmed:

    • We will contact you to schedule your testing at the Masley Optimal Health Center in St Petersburg, Florida for the day prior to the start of the retreat.  We will send you the contact information once you are registered.
    • We will send a request for you to send prior medical records from your medical provider for Dr. Masley and Dr. Forbes to review in advance. 
    • We will also send you a 3-day food questionnaire to fill out and return in advance of the retreat. 

What is included with the retreat?

  • Testing at the Masley Optimal Health Center 

  • The 2-day retreat at Dr. Masley’s home.

  • Meals and food at the Masley home

  • A group follow-up call with Dr. Masley 3-4 months after the retreat.
  • Autographed book written by Dr. Masley

What is NOT included?

  • Transportation to and from the retreat and the clinic for testing

  • Hotel/lodging for the retreat

  • Your ongoing regular medical care over time

  • Future medical visits with Dr. Masley or Dr. Forbes at the Masley Optimal Health Center are not included in the price of this retreat.

As space is very limited, refunds for cancellations are not permitted, although you could have the option to send someone else in your reserved place if you were unable to attend.

If you have any questions, please email us at info@drmasley.com with Retreat 2021 in the subject line.  

 

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

About Steven Masley, MD

FAHA, FACN, CNS, CCD

Through his bestselling books, successful clinic, PBS programs, thriving online community, and educational outreach, Dr. Masley inspires a new generation of enlightened and empowered health care consumers to take control of their health through knowledge and direct, intentional participation in the care they receive.

His practical approach toward educating consumers about their health, treatment options, nutritional regiments and scientific research provides a roadmap for thousands of individuals to achieve optimal health, and live life to its fullest potential.

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Banana-Almond Bread (gluten and dairy free) https://drmasley.com/banana-almond-bread-gluten-and-dairy-free/ https://drmasley.com/banana-almond-bread-gluten-and-dairy-free/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2020 21:26:48 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8183 The post Banana-Almond Bread (gluten and dairy free) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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While we are in social distancing mode, I wanted to share a recipe that would be a treat, with ingredients you could likely still find at the store, and that was nutrient-rich. Hopefully everyone has almond meal (almond flour) in their pantry, and if not most stores are still carrying it; you can also grind any nut in your pantry into nut flour using a food processor. Bananas, almond butter, and eggs appear to still be available in most stores.

Banana tree at my home

Here is a surprise, a delightful gluten-free, dairy-free dessert that could be served as a dessert, snack, or a light breakfast. Cinnamon’s blood sugar lowering properties, the lack of grain flour, and the brain healthy fats from eggs, pecans, and almonds make this a fabulous alternative to most cakes or traditional banana bread that are overloaded with sugar. If you wanted a bit more sweetness, you could add a quarter cup of honey to the recipe with the liquid ingredients, but I think the bananas and dates add enough natural sweetness that you do not need it.

Makes: One loaf

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Baking Time: 40 minutes

 

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, (organic-fed, cage free), whisked

4 tablespoons almond butter 

3 medium ripe bananas, mashed 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

2 cups almond flour (almond meal, or any nut flour). 

1 tablespoon baking powder 

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup pecans, chopped

½ cup dates, chopped

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° (F). Coat a loaf pan with parchment paper coated with oil and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, almond butter, banana and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

In a separate medium bowl, combine almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, salt, nuts, and dates. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, gently stirring to combine.

Once mixed, pour the batter into the loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserts and comes out dry. Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

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6 Steps to Improve Blood Pressure without Taking Medications https://drmasley.com/6-steps-improve-blood-pressure-without-taking-medications/ https://drmasley.com/6-steps-improve-blood-pressure-without-taking-medications/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2020 21:24:53 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=4873 The post 6 Steps to Improve Blood Pressure without Taking Medications appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Updated March 2020

Blood pressure is likely the best predictor for a future heart attack or stroke, and the best measure of the function and well-being of your arteries. When your blood pressure is elevated, that means that your arteries are sick and dysfunctional, likely constricting and limiting blood flow.

A normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80, anything above this is elevated. If it reaches 140/90 that is the standard cut off for hypertension, the point when you qualify for medication therapy, as your hypertension has made you high risk for a cardiovascular event. And despite that medications can lower blood pressure and help to decrease your future risk for a heart attack or stroke, they can have numerous side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Decreased energy
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Wheezing
  • Decreased exercise performance
  • Decreased libido
  • And a variety of more serious side effects as well.

My goal is to help you have normal blood pressure, without needing medication. I don’t think of blood pressure medications as being bad per se, and for some people they may be essential, but they often have many unpleasant side effects, and my hope is that you won’t need them if you follow the easy-to-follow steps noted below. If you are taking medications to lower your blood pressure, please do not stop them on your own without talking to your own medical provider.

Below are six steps that are as effective as adding a medication, without those side effects, and they are pretty easy to implement, too:

Step 1: Eat five cups of vegetables and fruits every day

Vegetables and fruits provide nutrients such as potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, flavonoids, and an array of other compounds that make your arteries dilate.  Everyone should eat at least five cups of produce every day, and the more colorful the better. It is amazing that doing something so simple is as effective as taken a drug.

Step 2: Exercise for 30 minutes daily

No doubt about it, exercise is great for blood pressure control. Dance, walk, bicycle, or go to the gym and find something that makes you sweat. Anything that gets your heart rate improve your blood vessel function and will improve your blood pressure control.

Step 3: Lose 10 pounds

I won’t say weight loss is easy, but it is super effective at lowering blood pressure (BP). Losing 10 pounds is as effective in controlling BP as taking a BP drug.

Step 4: Spend 10 minutes meditating daily

If you are not good at meditating, then try using an app like HeartMath, which gives you feedback and makes meditating easier. Studies show that for many people adding meditation or using HeartMath is as effective as using blood pressure medication.

Step 5: Specific probiotic supplement species have been shown to improve blood pressure control.

Recent studies have shown that having the right probiotic species in your gut will improve blood pressure control, and taking the right probiotic species is similarly effective to taking a blood pressure medication. Whether you get these probiotic species from food (such as yogurt or kefir) or get them from taking a capsule is up to you and both can be effective with the right species and the right dosages for the proper time.

The following species when used as a supplement have been shown to be effective at improving blood pressure control:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum,
  • Lactobacillus reuteri,
  • Streptococcus thermophilus,
  • Lactobacillus acidophillus

Studies have shown that several factors make using a probiotic supplement more successful:

  1. Use species that are proven to work.
  2. Combining 2 to 3 or more species is better than only taking a probiotic with 1 species.
  3. Total dosage should be at least 10 billion microbes and up to 25 billion every day
  4. Take a probiotic daily for at least 2-3 months. Treating for less time may not be adequate to modify the gut flora.

Step 6: Yes, limit salt intake, but more important is to limit your sugar!

For people with hypertension, decreasing salt intake from a typical American sodium intake of 3,800 mg per day to 2,500 mg per day lowers the top blood pressure reading (systolic) about 5 mm of Hg points, and the lower blood pressure reading (diastolic) 2.5. Yet for the average American with elevated blood pressure, the typical benefit from cutting your salt intake is only a 2 point reduction.

On the other hand, new research suggests that sugar has a bigger impact on blood pressure than salt. The challenge in making this distinction is that most processed foods are often loaded with both.

A study published in Open Heart by Drs.  DiNicolantonio and Lucan compares the effective of sugar on salt on blood pressure levels. (DiNicolantonio JJ, Lucan SC. Open Heart 2014;1:3000167)

Their findings show that:

  • Eating more sugar increases systolic blood pressure 6.9 mm Hg points and diastolic blood pressure 5.6 mm Hg in the short term, and 7.6/6.1 mm Hg if followed for more than 8 weeks.
  • Drinking a 24-ounce soft drink can increase blood pressure by 15 systolic and 9 diastolic points and raise heart rate by 9 beats per minute.
  • People who consume 25% more calories from sugar (which is easy to do) have a 300% increase in death rate due to cardiovascular disease.
  • A high-fructose (sugar) diet for just 2 weeks increases blood pressure 7 mm Hg systolic and 5 diastolic, but also raises pulse rate, triglycerides, fasting insulin and is associated with fatty liver.
  • The good news is there is no harm noted from eating more fruit, so don’t fret over having an apple, a peach, or a cup of berries. Do avoid fruit juice and dried fruit.

For the best results, combine as many of these six steps together for the best results.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Fresh Asparagus Soup https://drmasley.com/fresh-asparagus-soup/ https://drmasley.com/fresh-asparagus-soup/#respond Sat, 21 Mar 2020 01:18:14 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8147 The post Fresh Asparagus Soup appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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 I always look forward to spring and fresh asparagus season. Generally, I prefer the thick stalks in contrast to the thin ones as they are more forgiving when cooked so that they are tender but not overcooked. Over the 2-month asparagus season, I will enjoy them steamed, sautéed, grilled, or in soup. 

 I have prepared this dish two ways, with dairy and cream and without, both recipes listed below. The vegan (non-dairy) version uses boiled potatoes to add a creamy texture to the soup. Take your pick and/or make both.

Prep and Simmering Time: 25 Minutes

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

VEGAN (DAIRY FREE) VERSION

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

2 cups baby gold potatoes (1-inch in size), sliced into quarters

3 medium garlic cloves — minced

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1.5 pounds asparagus — base trimmed and discarded and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, cover, and heat for another 1 minute with a couple stirs, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the broth, asparagus, salt, and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Carefully transfer pot contents to a blender or food processor in batches and blend until smooth. (Use caution as hot soup may splatter.)

Serve hot, garnished with fresh chives.

INGREDIENTS:

ORGANIC SOUR CREAM AND MILK VERSION

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

2 medium garlic cloves — minced

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth — or low-sodium, organic chicken broth

1.5 pounds asparagus — base trimmed and discarded and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup whole organic milk

½ cup whole organic sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds.

Add the broth, asparagus, salt, and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Carefully transfer pot contents to a blender or food processor (in batches if needed) and blend until smooth. (Use caution as hot soup may splatter.) Return the blended soup to the pot. Stir in the milk and sour cream and bring to a minimal gentle boil. Then immediately remove from heat.

Serve hot, garnished with fresh chives and a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Corona Update, Friday, March 13, 2020 https://drmasley.com/corona-update/ https://drmasley.com/corona-update/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:22:54 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8121 The post Corona Update, Friday, March 13, 2020 appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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There is so much information spreading about COVID-19, that I thought it important to share what I know with my readers.

Likely everyone has heard about the new coronavirus infection, COVID-19.

Unfortunately, misinformation is being shared by both on-line sources and our country’s top administration.

As nearly everyone knows, COVID-19 has spread worldwide and has reached pandemic proportions. COVID-19 is highly contagious and projected to be several times more deadly than influenza (the flu), and the flu kills 500,000 people worldwide annually.

One of the reasons the COVID-19 virus is thought to be far more deadly than the influenza virus is that most people have at some point been exposed to influenza, giving them some immunity and internal ability to fight it. Nobody has been previously exposed to COVID-19, so we have no internal immunity to this virus.

There are hundreds of coronaviruses, including the common cold and more serious forms, in particular, SARS (which emerged in 2002) and MERS (which emerged in 2012). The trend appears that a new and dangerous coronavirus appears about every decade. What makes COVID-19 unique is that with SARS and MERS, people became very sick almost immediately, which limited the spread of the disease, often either incapacitating or killing their victims before they could spread it in the community.

In contrast with COVID-19, many people who are infected have few or no symptoms during the first 5 days of the infection while they are highly infectious, allowing the virus to be spread before you know that you have it.  People can be infectious for up to 14 days.

This is why people who have been exposed to someone with the virus are being put in quarantine for 14 days to see if they develop the illness, and people who test positive are being isolated for a minimum of 14 days.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% of cases are mild. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and fatigue and can be strong to almost none.  At least 15% of infections progress to pneumonia, causing major shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, and low levels of blood oxygen saturation, which may require hospitalization. Currently, about 3.5% of cases result in death.

Fortunately, unlike influenza, most children seem to have a mild form of this infection. Like influenza, the elderly and those with heart, lung, and immune deficiencies are the ones who develop severe infections. Although, there are several reports of healthy 40- to 50- year olds who have died from this disease, so clearly none of us should ignore that rare possibility and ignore the seriousness of this illness.

As this is a new virus, we currently have no proven vaccines to prevent it, or therapies to treat it. It will likely take at least 1-2 years to develop vaccines and therapies, although every effort will be taken to shorten their release. An example of a promising new therapy is Remdesivir, an investigational antiviral drug being developed and tested in patients with COVID-19.  Unfortunately, vaccines and therapies that are released early in a rush will lack traditional safety testing and may be less effective and cause more adverse events.

For serious cases, the only proven treatments that we have are supportive, meaning: hydration, oxygen, and sometimes intensive hospital care, in the most serious cases including intubation and mechanical breathing.

The big concern is that if too many people become sick at once and health care providers also become ill, we will overwhelm our ability to provide supportive care and people who would have normally survived will die.

This means health officials want the number of cases to occur gradually over time, not spike all at once as has happened in Wuhan, China, South Korea, and northern Italy, overwhelming the hospital and medical care systems.

This is why you are seeing public events being canceled and schools being closed. Health officials are trying to slow the spread of the rapidly proliferating disease.

Even though children usually have milder cases, they remain an important vector (carriers) of this infection.  Closing schools and preventing them from getting infected in mass is a very effective strategy to stop the spread of the infection in a community. Again, the goal is to slow the spread of the disease so that our hospital and medical providers are not overwhelmed.

COVID-19 is tested by using nasal swabs and throat swabs. It takes about 2-3 days to get a result after testing.

What has made the spread of this infection far worse in the US than it should be has been the lack of testing. Other countries have been testing thousands of people daily, while our ability to do testing has been extremely limited.

I have spoken to many physicians this week who have tried to test patients for COVID-19 but were told that testing kits were not available. Even today in Florida, my neighbor who has had a fever, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue for one week and feels worse was denied testing when she went to her clinic.

The disease is now spreading through the US community rapidly, making planning and tracking very difficult. Hopefully, we will catch up soon, but the initial delay in this country has hampered our ability to control the proliferation greatly.

This virus is spread in large droplets by infected people who are coughing and sneezing. These droplets fall to the ground and other surfaces fairly quickly, within a 3-6 foot distance. It is also spread by infected people touching surfaces with hands that have been coughed on. This means that the air will not infect you, but all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about 7 days – every surface that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious.

The most likely way to get infected in public is to touch a contaminated surface and then touch your nose or mouth. Thus, public spread occurs mainly through surface contact, and being coughed on most likely occurs while in close contact with family or friends.

This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

To compensate for the initial rapid spread and the highly contagious potential of this infection, for the short term all of us need to take steps to help prevent this life-threatening disease, especially as you could be infected, spreading it, and not know for several days.

HOW TO LIMIT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19:

  1. NO HANDSHAKING OR HUGS! Use an elbow bump or foot tap instead.
  2. Avoid touching your face with your hands, especially when in public.
  3. In public places, open doors with your elbow, closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door.
  4. Do not allow yourself to be nutritionally deficient. People with low levels of vitamin D and zinc have depressed immune function and are more likely to get ill and will have more severe infection than people without a deficiency.
    • Be sure to get at least 2000 IU of vitamin D every day with your supplement routine.
    • Take a good quality multivitamin with at least 250 mg of vitamin C and 15 mg of zinc daily.
    • Eat cold-water seafood 3 times per week or take a good quality fish oil supplement daily.
  5. Use disinfectant wipes when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
  6. Before you eat or touch your face after having been in public, wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Similarly, wash your hands whenever you make contact with a door or handrail in public.
    • When you return home from ANY public outing, wash your hands and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching surfaces in your home.
  7. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances and in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
  8. If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you do not have a tissue; the clothing on your elbow will contain an infectious virus that can be passed on for up to seven days. By all means do not cough or sneeze without covering your mouth to limit the spread.
  9. Avoid large gatherings: sporting or public events where people are close together. When you are in public places, avoid crowding together try to maintain some social distance (at least 3 feet and preferably 6 feet) when feasible. Likewise, for the near future, minimize inviting friends or family over for parties and other large events.
  10. As the elderly are especially prone to severe, life-threatening infections, people over 70 years of age and/or those with lung, heart, or immune-deficiency health issues should isolate themselves as much as possible for the near future.
  11. If you are going to have contact with public surfaces, consider wearing latex gloves.
  12. If you have the option to work from home, do so.
  13. What about wearing a mask to prevent an infection?
    • If someone coughs on you, wearing a typical surgical mask will not prevent the virus from passing through the mask into the air you breathe. (There are N-95 masks that limit small particles and exclude a virus, but these are in very short supply even for medical providers caring for severely infected patients.)
    • Wearing a surgical mask will help to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 50-100 times per day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. Since the mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.
    • Wearing a surgical mask will also help prevent the spread of the virus in case you become infected, especially if you do not yet know that you are infected and are spreading the disease.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET SICK WITH COLD SYMPTOMS:

Many of us are going to get sick with cold-like symptoms over the next few months as the common cold and influenza are also spreading through the community. Without testing, you will not know if you have a minor cold, the flu, or a COVID-19 infection.

  1. Stay home, avoid contact with others, and disinfect the area around you (doorknobs, counters, anything that you and others might touch).
  2. As feasible, stay at least 6 feet away from other people as when you cough or sneeze the virus becomes airborne. Cover your mouth with a Kleenex as able with coughing or sneezing.
  3. Call your medical provider’s office to see if testing is available in your area and to clarify your symptoms. (Hard-hit areas like Western Washington are getting testing kits first.) Testing options will vary by region.
    • Especially if your symptoms are more than mild, or if you are getting worse over time, ask your doctor what testing is available, and I suggest that you ask for testing for influenza and COVID-19. Many people are also getting the flu, which can have similar symptoms, and rarely you could have both, which likely would make you at higher risk for a severe infection.
    • The worse your symptoms, the more important that you get tested, just in case your symptoms continue to worsen over time.
    • Do not just show up at the doctor’s office or the emergency room unless you have serious symptoms as you put yourself at risk to infect yourself from COVID-19 infected people at medical facilities.
    • Again, 80% of infections will be mild and do not require medical therapy, so until testing is available, if you think you might have COVID-19, take preventative measures to avoid infecting other people.
  4. Irrigate your nose with nasal saline. It is very soothing to your tissues and helps reduce congestion.
  5. Get adequate sleep and rest, hydrate, and avoid using excess alcohol which can depress your immune function. If you smoke, stop smoking as it decreases your lung function and puts you at much higher risk for pneumonia.

WHAT IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?

  1. Follow your medical provider and public health department advice regarding treatment and recommendations.
  2. Stay at home and avoid exposing others to the disease for at least 14 days.
  3. Wear a mask to decrease the spread of the infection. Masks block you from spreading the large droplets into the air that carry the virus. Ideally, everyone would have masks at home, yet the problem is that masks are in very short supply and are being rationed for medical care settings.
  4. Use hand sanitizers to keep your hands from spreading the infection to others.
  5. Regarding natural products, ask your doctor about using zinc gluconate lozenges.
    • In updates shared by molecular biologists that have studied the coronavirus for decades, zinc lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and several other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx.
    • There are many brands available, and compounds made with zinc gluconate appear to be the most effective. However, we do not know if any of these are effective for COVID-19.
    • In excess, zinc lozenges can cause nausea.
  6. Similarly, ask your doctor about taking vitamin C at 3 to 5 grams daily during an acute infection. It is unclear if this treatment will help shorten the duration and severity of COVID-19 infections, but it appears to have some benefit in limiting the severity of other coronavirus infections. Taking vitamin C in high doses has not been shown to prevent corona infections.
  7. Elderberry extract and anti-inflammatory compounds are being considered to limit the severity of the COVID-19 symptoms. In the future, natural anti-inflammatory compounds, such as curcumin, boswellia, and quercetin may be found to help with severity, but for now are unproven remedies.

FINAL NOTE:

I pray that this pandemic will be reasonably contained without overwhelming our health care systems. I sincerely hope that you will be able to say that my recommendations were excessive, but personally I do not think this will be the case, as of right now the numbers of infections are increasing rapidly nationwide and will very likely continue over the next several months.

Later, all of us will be glad that we did our best to help prevent the spread of this infection that currently lacks a vaccine or curative treatment.

I wish that you, your family, and your friends remain well over the next few months.

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

 

 

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Kale and Tomato Mini-Frittatas https://drmasley.com/kale-and-tomato-mini-frittatas/ https://drmasley.com/kale-and-tomato-mini-frittatas/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2020 21:13:34 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8031 The post Kale and Tomato Mini-Frittatas appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Here is a tasty, and super easy-to-prepare breakfast, that provides several servings to enjoy over several days. Stores well in a glass, sealed container for 3-4 days. You can vary the vegetable and cheese options to match what you have on hand. To rewarm leftovers, pop min-frittatas in the microwave or sauté them in a skillet.

If you want to make a dairy-free version, skip the cheese entirely, double the almond milk portion to half a cup, and whisk almond milk with eggs as mentioned below.

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ medium onion, chopped finely 

½ teaspoon sea salt (divided) 

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning 

5 medium kale stalks, spine removed, chopped finely (about 1.5 cups) 

8 cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped finely 

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped 

9 organic, cage-free eggs 

¼ cup organic low-fat milk (or almond milk) 

½ cup organic comté (or gruyere) cheese, grated

 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350° (F). Line a muffin tray with a dozen muffin liners. 

Heat a medium sauté pan to medium heat. Add olive oil, then onion, ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and sauté with an occasional stir for 2-3 minutes, until onion softens.

Add kale, tomatoes, basil, and rosemary, cover, and heat another 2-3 minutes with an occasional stir until kale has wilted. Remove pan from heat.

Meanwhile in a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and remaining half teaspoon salt then stir in half the cheese with the egg-milk mixture. 

Spoon sautéed onion, kale, and tomato into the muffin tray liners. Next ladle egg mixture into each liner. Sprinkle remaining half of cheese over the top of each mixture. 

Bake for 16-20 minutes, until eggs are set and serve. 

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Grilled Scallops with Wild Mushroom Sauté https://drmasley.com/grilled-scallops-with-wild-mushroom-saute/ https://drmasley.com/grilled-scallops-with-wild-mushroom-saute/#respond Fri, 14 Feb 2020 20:03:28 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=8007 The post Grilled Scallops with Wild Mushroom Sauté appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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I really enjoy grilled sea scallops especially when served with Mediterranean herbs and wild mushrooms. Select any mushroom that you enjoy. I recommend that you serve this with a green salad or a generous portion of green vegetables on the side.

Marinating Time: 10 Minutes

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: Two

Ingredients:

¾ pound large sea scallops

1 tablespoon avocado oil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, porcini, chanterelle), stems discarded, sliced

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dry white wine

4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped finely

Directions:

Rinse scallops, pat completely dry with paper towels, and place in a bowl. Combine with avocado oil, thyme, salt and pepper and marinate for 10-20 minutes.

Pre-heat grill (or broiler) and prep mushrooms, garlic, and parsley.

Heat a medium sauté pain to medium heat, add olive oil, then add mushrooms, salt, black pepper, and heat for 3-4 minutes with an occasional stir until mushrooms have softened. Add wine, garlic, and parsley, stir and cover. Heat another 2 minutes, remove from heat but keep covered.

Once grill is hot, sear on both sides for 2 minutes. If you are using the broiler instead, plan scallops in an ovenproof pan under the top rack of the oven. After two minutes, turn the scallops and return to the top shelf in the oven. They should be slightly browned on both sides and still be moist and tender in the center. Avoid overcooking or they will be dry and tough.

After turning scallops to cook on the second side, resume medium heat in the sauté pan with the mushrooms.

Add scallops to serving plates, spoon mushrooms around the scallops. Serve with a side green salad or a side green vegetable.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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How your gut can affect heart health! https://drmasley.com/how-your-gut-can-affect-heart-health/ https://drmasley.com/how-your-gut-can-affect-heart-health/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2020 17:44:45 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7993 The post How your gut can affect heart health! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Despite our efforts spending hundreds of billions of dollars (likely trillions) researching and treating heart disease, it remains the #1 cause of death for women and men in the Western world.

For decades, scientists have blamed heart disease on red meat intake because it is loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat. The advice was a pillar of preventive medicine: ‘Limit red meat intake to avoid heart disease’.

But a problem has emerged with that cause-and-effect advice, as several studies now question whether consuming cholesterol or saturated fact necessarily impacts heart disease.

It turns out there may be something else about red meat that increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke, independent of cholesterol and saturated fat. The connection appears to be between red meat and your gut microbiome.

You’re probably familiar with the term “microbiome,” which refers to the friendly bacteria and other microbes that live in and on your body. We now know that the gut microbiome—ideally populated by a well-balanced mix of bacteria, fungi, and viruses—plays a major role in all aspects of health, including heart health.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote that “all disease starts in the gut.”

More than 2,000 years later, scientists made a discovery about a substance called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), with findings that are right in line with his theory. Studies have shown that high blood levels of TMAO are associated with arterial plaque growth, clotting in the blood stream, and a dramatic risk in inflammation—itself a trigger for a host of illnesses and chronic disease.

One of many new studies on TMAO, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found up to a 62% heightened risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death in people with elevated TMAO, which is a far stronger relationship to heart disease than from either cholesterol or saturated fat.

So, you may be thinking, just avoid food with a lot of TMAO, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple, because food itself doesn’t contain TMAO. Instead, the gut microbiome makes TMAO from foods with nutrients like choline and L-carnitine,  nutrients that have health benefits, and that are abundant not just in meat, egg yolks and dairy products—the classic examples of high saturated fat/cholesterol—but also in foods regarded as heart-healthy, such as lean poultry, low-fat dairy, and fish. (Note: Although eating fish does raise TMAO levels, it is not associated with cardiac events, likely because of the anti-inflammatory properties of long chain omega-3 fats in seafood.)

Not only does eating red meat consumption increase the amount of L-carnitine available for TMAO production, it also appears to shift the balance in gut microbiome, fueling the growth of bad gut bacteria that produce TMAO. Yet, the TMAO production and growth of TMAO producing bacteria were reversed when the participants were crossed over to vegetarian diets (featuring vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains), or if they adopted a Mediterranean diet.

It turns out that a Mediterranean diet, (loaded with vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, moderate red wine, and herbs and spices like garlic and Italian herbs, and generally avoids red meat)  will promote good gut bacteria and limit TMAO production, despite that the diet also contains moderate amounts of fish, poultry, yogurt, and cheese. The plant-based aspect of a Mediterranean diet creates a different gut microbiome that does not produce TMAO.

Part of the benefit of a Mediterranean diet is that it includes an abundance of probiotic rich foods, including plain yogurt, kefir, olives, capers, and pickled vegetables. If you are dairy intolerant and/or avoid dairy for other reasons, choosing other probiotic rich foods will help you support your gut microbiome as well.

I have also been researching how the gut microbiome impacts most of the major risk factors for heart disease: inflammation, obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. If you maintain a healthy balance of microbes—nurturing the beneficial ones and eliminating those that do damage—you’ll enhance your control of these important risk factors, as well.

In later blogs, I will share how modifying your gut microbiome through diet can impact all these risk factors for heart disease, and how to boost your gut microbiome with the most beneficial microbes.

The good news is that there are many ways to benefit from following a Mediterranean diet, especially for your heart.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

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Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Fennel https://drmasley.com/butternut-squash-soup-with-ginger-and-fennel/ https://drmasley.com/butternut-squash-soup-with-ginger-and-fennel/#comments Sat, 01 Feb 2020 04:33:25 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7972 The post Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Fennel appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This fragrant, delicate soup is especially good for fall and early winter when butternut squash—a great source of fiber and beta-carotene—is in season. The savory flavors of gingerroot and fennel go perfectly with squash.

Baking Time: 35–45 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Simmering Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (2–3 pounds)

2 tablespoons almond oil (or your favorite nut oil)

½ medium onion, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon peeled and grated gingerroot

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 cup coarsely chopped fennel (bulb only—save the feathery leaves for garnish)

¼ cup white wine

2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup organic almond milk (or organic whole milk)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and bake face down on a lightly oiled baking dish for 35–45 minutes, until soft enough to scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Set flesh aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add oil. Sauté onion with salt and pepper until onion is translucent, 2–3 minutes. Add gingerroot, curry powder, and fennel. Heat 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; after 30 seconds add stock and all but ¼ cup of the almond milk. Stir and remove from heat. Purée in a blender or food processer.

Add squash pulp to puréed ingredients. Blend or process until smooth, 1–2 minutes. Return to saucepan and heat through for about 10 minutes.

To serve, pour into individual bowls, garnish with fennel leaves, and add a swirl of milk.

Steven Masley, MD

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Wild Mushroom Soufflé https://drmasley.com/wild-mushroom-souffle/ https://drmasley.com/wild-mushroom-souffle/#respond Fri, 17 Jan 2020 21:07:47 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7953 The post Wild Mushroom Soufflé appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Here is a great way to warm up your kitchen using the oven and create a fantastic meal at the same time. Use any variety or combination of wild mushrooms, such as oyster or shiitake. Tip: When making a soufflé, bake in the center of the oven and make sure there is no rack above it so that nothing interferes with the rising.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

3 cups wild mushrooms, diced (12 ounces stemmed)

½ cup minced shallots

1 teaspoon dried fines herbs

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ cup white wine

2 tablespoons diced Italian parsley

⅔ cup grated Gruyère cheese

8 large organic-fed, cage-free eggs, separated

Garnish:

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons grated Gruyère cheese

2 tablespoons almond slivers

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Lightly butter soufflé dish (9 inches wide by 5 inches high) or 1½-quart baking dish.

Heat sauté pan to medium-high, add oil, then mushrooms, shallots, fines herbs, salt, and black pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are soft and tender, 4–5 minutes; add white wine to deglaze the pan and stir 30 seconds. Stir in parsley, remove from heat, and stir in ⅔ cup grated Gruyère.

Soufflé (cont.)

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks together. Add mushroom mixture to yolks.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Then gently fold into mushroom mixture (don’t overmix or the soufflé won’t rise) and pour into prepared soufflé or baking dish. Top with parsley, remaining cheeses, and almond slivers. Bake at 400˚F for 30–35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Happy New Year 2020! https://drmasley.com/happy-new-year/ https://drmasley.com/happy-new-year/#respond Tue, 31 Dec 2019 04:00:46 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7901 The post Happy New Year 2020! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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I wish you a wonderful New Year 2020, filled with health, vitality, and peace of mind.

Starting today, I am thrilled to announce that my new book, The Mediterranean Method, published by Harmony Books, is available wherever books are sold.

2019 was an amazing year for me. I spent hundreds of hours researching this book, sailed from Spain to Turkey, and looked for tips to make your transformation to better health quick and easy. The benefits from following a Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle are simply incredible.

You can:

  • Lose weight and keep it off, long-term
  • Prevent and reverse heart disease
  • Improve cognitive function and prevent memory loss
  • Improve your gut function
  • Reduce your risk for diabetes and cancer
  • Extend your lifespan and your healthspan
  • Eat fantastic food that is simple and easy to prepare

It almost seems too good to be true that all these benefits from a diet are possible. Yet, after reviewing over 1,000 scientific articles published in prestigious medical journals, these benefits have been proven over and over.

Plus, in the book there are over 50 tasty recipes and 20 photos of these dishes to get you started.

But the Mediterranean Lifestyle has more ways to benefit you than just with food. The Mediterranean Method also clarifies how the way you eat and the social connections you create while eating food likely have as much benefit to you, as the nutrients in the food itself.Simply buy the book, enter your receipt number here, and I will give you my Mediterranean Cooking Class Video Series as a bonus!,  These cooking class videos are packed with tips to make preparing these dishes super easy and fun.

Click here to buy the book and get these free Mediterranean Method Cooking Class Videos.

I hope you have a fantastic 2020 and I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

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Cod Poached with Herbs and Wine https://drmasley.com/cod-poached-with-herbs-and-wine/ https://drmasley.com/cod-poached-with-herbs-and-wine/#respond Sat, 21 Dec 2019 01:14:17 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7875 The post Cod Poached with Herbs and Wine appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Cod is the most popular fish served in several European countries, especially Portugal. Some restaurants in Portugal offer over 100 different cod recipes. This recipe was submitted by Teresa Delgado. Traditionally the Portuguese use dried, salted cod, yet finding good salted cod in the U.S. is difficult. Teresa wisely adapted this recipe using fresh cod.

You can also use this recipe with other white fish, including sole, hake, haddock, sablefish or snapper. The key is that the fish should smell fresh when you buy it, just like the sea. If it has a fishy smell, pass and buy something else.​

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

½ cup fish broth or water

1 ½ cups dry white wine

2 shallots, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh herbs, (some combination of rosemary, parsley, and/or thyme), or 2 teaspoons of dried herbs

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (6 ounce) fillets of cod (or other fish)

Garnish:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 sprigs of fresh herbs

2 lemon slices

Directions:

Heat the fish broth/water, wine, shallot, herbs, salt, and black pepper in a deep-frying pan over medium heat until simmering. Reduce heat to medium low and add fish fillets.

Cover and poach for 6 to 8 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes with a fork.

Transfer to serving plates. Spoon the shallots and herbs over the fish. Drizzle olive oil over the fish and garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Serve with a side of mixed vegetables, and optionally with a crisp wine, such as a Pinot Blanc or Chardonnay.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

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Six Tips to Better Manage Stress Over the Holidays https://drmasley.com/six-tips-to-better-manage-stress-over-the-holidays/ https://drmasley.com/six-tips-to-better-manage-stress-over-the-holidays/#respond Thu, 19 Dec 2019 16:06:13 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7693 The post Six Tips to Better Manage Stress Over the Holidays appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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​Holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, and to be grateful for all the wonderful things and people in our lives. Yet, they can also be stressful, as packed schedules, wild expectations from family, and indulgent eating and drinking can stress out even the calmest of people.

Here are 6 steps to help you manage the added stress from the holidays, and hopefully enjoy peace and mental calm during this busy time of year.

  1. Don’t over-load your schedule

Typically, there is more going on over the holidays than any other time of the year. Plan your schedule wisely and avoid being over-committed. Focus on family and spend time with people that make you happy. You may need to say no politely to several events that are not a priority.

For some people, shopping can take over a person’s schedule as well as stress their budget and emotional state, especially if you overspend when you can’t afford it. Do not wait until the last minute to complete your shopping for loved ones; get your shopping completed early in the holiday season, set a budget and stick with it so you are not overextended.

  1. Don’t neglect sleep

No one functions well when sleep deprived, and it is hard to make good choices when you are exhausted.

Keep to your regular sleep routine as much as possible. And if you know that a party or travel are going to deprive you of some sleep, schedule a 30-60-minute power nap sometime during that same day.

Excess caffeine and alcohol make it hard to sleep well, so don’t overdo them.

  1. Stay active

Exercise boosts your energy and helps you melt away emotional stress. So, don’t skip your work-out routine over the holidays.

Schedule some time to be active, ideally outside with nature. Whether you choose to walk, cycle, dance, snowshoe, or ski, pick something that is fun and that will raise your heart rate too. If the weather doesn’t allow you to be outside, then plan for walking indoors, even a shopping mall will do.

If you end up in a hotel sometime over the holidays, nearly every hotel these days has a basic gym—so schedule time to use it.

  1. Yes, Celebrate for the holidays, but don’t overdo it

Many people associate the holidays with special foods, especially desserts. You do not have to deprive yourself, but you may need to set some limits. The easiest thing to do is to set a portion size. You may choose to have one small piece, or enjoy 3 fantastic bites and stop, just be sure that you do not go back for second helpings and overdo a good thing.

Make sure to savor and enjoy each bite of your favorite foods. And be sure to eat them at a table with other people you enjoy so that you get to share these foods and memories together. With holiday meals, who you share food with is hopefully more important than what and how much you eat.

Once the holiday is over, toss the extra food that is more of a treat than healthy nourishment. Nobody needs extra portions of cookies, pies, candies, and cakes.

Alcohol is another thing that is often overdone during the holidays, in the name of celebrating. Be sure to drink more water or herbal tea than alcohol, saving alcohol for a special toast and/or to pair with a special dish.

  1. Don’t forget your supplements over the holidays

B vitamins and magnesium help your body and brain deal with stress. Don’t miss out on them during the holidays.

You get your B vitamins from a good quality multivitamin and or a B-complex preparation. Magnesium is critical for hundreds of cellular reactions, is critical to help you relax and sleep, and needs to be taken separately, preferably at bedtime.

  1. Schedule time with your favorite people over the holidays.

It is all too easy to get overwhelmed with work parties and extended family over the holidays. If these are the people that make you happy and bring joy to your life, then awesome. But make sure that you have time for the most important people in your life—those who make you laugh and feel loved. Schedule something special and share a hug with the most important people in your life during the holiday season.

 

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

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Turkey Chili with Baked Potato https://drmasley.com/turkey-chili-with-baked-potato/ https://drmasley.com/turkey-chili-with-baked-potato/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2019 17:30:50 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7661 The post Turkey Chili with Baked Potato appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This recipe makes a flavourful dinner and on a cold night using the oven can warm up your kitchen at the same time. If you still have leftover turkey, this is a great way to use it up; and if not, it is easy to cut pieces of turkey loin into bite sized pieces and sauté until cooked and use them in this recipe.

When baking potatoes, I prefer to use fingerling potatoes with their skin, in contrast to a classic russet baked potato, to minimize the glycemic load (sugar surge) that comes with eating potatoes. Serving them with beans is a great way to drop your blood sugar jump even further. Overall, this is an easy-to-prepare, tasty, and popular dish for the whole family.

Serves: 4

Baking Time: 45 Minutes

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

4 cups fingerling (baby) potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 medium onion, chopped

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)

15 ounces cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup salsa

½ pound cooked turkey, sliced into bite sized pieces (white and/or dark meat)

Garnish

¼ cup organic sour cream (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° (F). Bake potatoes for 45 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan to medium high heat, add onions, salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano and heat for 3 minutes with an occasional stir, until onions are translucent.

Add bell pepper and heat another 2 minutes with an occasional stir.

Then reduce heat to low and stir in green onions, cayenne pepper, pinto beans, salsa, and turkey and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and remove from heat.

5 minutes before potatoes are ready to serve, heat the sauté pan with chili to medium heat, stir occasionally.

To serve, add potatoes to a plate or a large bowl and spoon chili over the top and optionally garnish with sour cream.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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What is the Best Diet for Your Heart? https://drmasley.com/what-is-the-best-diet-for-your-heart/ https://drmasley.com/what-is-the-best-diet-for-your-heart/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2019 19:16:23 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7640 The post What is the Best Diet for Your Heart? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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​Even though we can prevent 90% of heart disease with lifestyle, heart attacks and strokes remain the #1 killer for both women and men in the US, Canada, and most of the western world.

Several lifestyle factors play a critical role, including exercise, sleep, stress management, and avoiding tobacco use, but the biggest factor that impacts our heart is the food we eat day after day.

Low-fat diets have faded in popularity for over a decade and recent studies have shown that they can worsen blood sugar control and cholesterol profiles, even increasing your risk for heart disease.

More recently, Paleo and low-carb diets have been more popular, yet they are hard to follow long term, and tend to limit the critical antioxidant nutrients that come from eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables, which is critical for long-term heart health.

The good news is that the best-studied, most effective, and easiest to follow eating plan that protects your heart is a Mediterranean diet. It features vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seafood, olive oil, a variety of spices and herbs, and modest amounts of organic/free-range poultry, eggs, and dairy, and red wine. The meals prepared with these foods are easy to make and delicious, making this type of diet easy to stick with long term.

And, if we combine a Mediterranean diet with low-glycemic load content, the results are even better.

The EPIC Greek Cohort Study, published in 2012 with nearly 24,000 participants, evaluated adherence to a Mediterranean eating plan for more than 10 years in relation to heart attacks and strokes. Researchers also compared glycemic load with detailed dietary histories in all these patients. Those with the highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet and lowest glycemic load scores had the lowest rate of CVD (heart attacks and strokes) events. And, if these individuals were overweight or obese, the benefits from following a Mediterranean diet combined with low glycemic load was even stronger.

Not only is a Mediterranean diet good for your heart, but in the famous PREDIMED study, they showed that following it can also improve your brain function and help prevent memory loss. The combination of a Mediterranean eating plan and low glycemic load is also highly beneficial for your brain.

The key to reducing glycemic load with a Mediterranean diet is to avoid sugar and flour, which with a Mediterranean diet is easy to do. That basically means avoiding bread, cereal, and pizza, plus eating fresh fruit for dessert. If you serve pasta on occasion, keep the pasta portion small and ideally buy the newer protein-enriched, low-carb pasta (such as the brand Barilla), which is commonly now available.

To get you started on a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean eating plan, I highly recommend my newest book, The Mediterranean Method, which includes 50 of my favorite recipes with color photos. If you order now, as a bonus, you will receive my Mediterranean Method Cooking Class Videos featuring selected recipes from the book. These cooking classes provide my best tips for creating beautiful, delicious, and easy-to-prepare Mediterranean meals. Click here, to order the book and get my FREE cooking classes.

 

I wish you the very best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, CNS

 

 

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Wild Rice Salad https://drmasley.com/wild-rice-salad/ https://drmasley.com/wild-rice-salad/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 20:23:37 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7611 The post Wild Rice Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This is a lovely side dish with terrific flavors that would be great for Thanksgiving, or to go along with a variety of meals. This recipe was provided to us by Dorothy Lahr. Dorothy said that adding hummus to the dressing was optional, and although it is an unusual ingredient in dressing, it goes nicely with this wild rice salad.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, if you need additional recipes for the holiday please see my, Thanksgiving Recipes.   I wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Wild Rice Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

4 cups water

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 medium bell pepper (either red or orange, or half of each), chopped

½ small red onion, chopped finely

4 medium celery stalks (preferably with leaves), chopped finely

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup raisins (or sugar-free dried cranberries or cherries)

Dressing:

½ small red onion chopped very fine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup hummus (optional)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine wild rice, water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40-45 minutes, until rice is tender but still al dente. Once cooked, pour into a strainer and cool with running cold water, allow to drain, then transfer to a serving bowl.

Meanwhile, chop the bell pepper, onion, celery, parsley, and green onion and combine with the drained wild rice.

Next stir in almonds, pecans, and raisins.

Whisk dressing ingredients together, then toss with the salad and serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Bean Picadillo https://drmasley.com/bean-picadillo/ https://drmasley.com/bean-picadillo/#respond Sat, 09 Nov 2019 02:34:01 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7397 The post Bean Picadillo appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Here is an easy to prepare dish from E. Hazelbower. This recipe has multiple ingredients, yet they are easy to combine and provide a wonderful flavor. Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and the Philippines that is like hash. It is traditionally made with ground beef (in this recipe we substituted beans), plus tomatoes, raisins, olives, and other ingredients that vary by region.  Best is to soak kidney beans overnight and cook them until cooked but still a touch al dente, but using canned beans makes this recipe quicker. Caution with using jalapeno pepper; 1 pepper does not seem like much, but some people would find it too spicy—use less or more depending upon your tolerance for hot and spicy.

Prep Time: 35 Minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1 large white onion, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeds discarded

1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

28 ounces (about 4-5 cups) plum tomatoes, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup green olives, chopped

2-15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups corn

1/2 cup raisins 

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Garnish

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add oil, then the onion, salt, and black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes with an occasional stir. Then add jalapeno, celery, spices, salt, and black pepper, stir occasionally for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, garlic, and green olives, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 3-4 minutes with an occasional stir.

Add cooked kidney beans, corn, raisins and vinegar and simmer another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast sliced almonds in a small to medium sauté pan over medium heat until warm and fragrant, but do not allow to burn.

Add vegetable and bean picadillo to a serving dish, and garnish with toasted almonds and serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

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Which diet is the easiest to follow and most effective for weight loss? https://drmasley.com/which-diet-is-the-easiest-to-follow-and-most-effective-for-weight-loss/ https://drmasley.com/which-diet-is-the-easiest-to-follow-and-most-effective-for-weight-loss/#respond Tue, 05 Nov 2019 02:03:53 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7370 The post Which diet is the easiest to follow and most effective for weight loss? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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​As we all know, weight control is a BIG problem in the United States. More than two thirds of Americans are overweight, and nearly forty percent are obese. But it isn’t just the US, most western and affluent countries are struggling with weight problems.

Dieting has become a global obsession, but sadly very few people are having long term success with the diets they try.

Yet the latest research shows that there is a solution that is easy to follow and effective, and what is amazing is the food you eat can be delicious and easy-to-prepare.

In published research, Dr. Joseph G. Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight loss trials involving more than 1,000 patients on different weight-loss regimens (low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean diet, etc.) who were followed for over 12 months.

There are hundreds of short-term studies published, but this 12-months-plus follow-up time is especially impressive because it means that researchers were able to track whether a diet delivered long-term weight-loss results—the true marker of success.

Unfortunately, we’re often swayed and distracted by headlines and hype from short-term studies of trendy diets that show weight loss over 4-6-12 weeks, but as you likely know, all that weight loss bounces back, adding an extra 5 pounds in the end.

What is even more deceiving are weight loss books touting, “Lose up to 10 pounds in 10 days.” The reality is that you can only lose at most 1-2 pounds of fat per week. Any additional weight you lose means you are losing water, or far worse, you might be losing muscle mass (an essential aspect of health and vitality).

According to these multiple clinical studies, a Mediterranean diet was equally effective for weight-loss as was a low-carb eating plan (such as Paleo), and more effective than a standard low-fat eating plan. Plus:  when comparing to a low-fat or low-carb diet, followers of a Mediterranean diet showed more improvement in cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure control than any other diet plan.

What was equally important was long term compliance. People following a low-fat or low-carb eating plan tended to abandon their diet either immediately or after the initial 4-6-12 weeks, while those following the Mediterranean eating plan had the highest long term adherence.

Over a year follow up, the average long-term weight loss among Mediterranean diet followers ranged from 10-22 pounds—and the weight stayed off throughout the 12-month follow-up period.

Even for people with type 2 diabetes, the Mediterranean diet turns out to be the best path for weight-loss. In a different meta-analysis of nine randomized dietary trials with over 1,000 patients, researchers concluded that when a Mediterranean diet was compared to the American Diabetic Association diet, a low-fat diet, or a low-carb diet, once again the Mediterranean diet showed superior results for blood sugar control, weight-loss, and lipid profile changes.

The idea that you could lose 10-22 pounds (and keep the weight off), improve your blood sugar and cholesterol profile, and lower systemic inflammation, all while enjoying delicious Mediterranean food, sounds almost too good to be true. 

But…it is true!

There is more good news. Not only is the Mediterranean diet the most effective and easiest to follow for weight control, but it is also the best diet to prevent heart disease and memory loss. Those multiple benefits are why in 2020 The US News and World Report ranks the Mediterranean diet consistently as the #1 best overall diet on the planet, a fact borne out by extensive research. They also ranked it as the #1 diet for health, best for plant based diet, best diet for diabetes, and the #1 easiest diet to follow.

I am delighted to announce that my newest book, The Mediterranean Method—Your Complete Plan to Harness the Power of the Healthiest Diet on the Planet, Lose Weight, Prevent Heart Disease and More, published December 31, 2019 by Harmony Books.

In this new book, I show you how easy it is to follow a Mediterranean diet, and how to enjoy delicious food at the same time. Plus, I will share 50 recipes that I created while sailing across the Mediterranean Sea.

To order your book now, CLICK HERE.

As a bonus for buying the book, I am offering my free Video Cooking Classes, so be sure to go here.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

 

 

 

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Greek Burgers with Roasted Tomato Topping https://drmasley.com/greek-burgers-with-roasted-tomato-topping/ https://drmasley.com/greek-burgers-with-roasted-tomato-topping/#respond Sat, 26 Oct 2019 02:09:33 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7093 The post Greek Burgers with Roasted Tomato Topping appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This recipe is adapted from one of our community members, Ann Musico. She is a certified holistic health coach from NY. You can learn more about her work here threedimensionalvitality.com/.

This is a delicious burger recipe and the topping can be used with other proteins such as chicken, fish, and even over eggs.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Burger Cooking Time: Grill over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side (you can always bake these at 350 degrees or sauté in a pan with avocado oil until nicely browned and cooked to your liking)

Topping Baking Time: 20-30 minutes

Serves: 4 (makes 4 patties)

Ingredients:

1 lb. grass-fed and finished beef (these can be made with any quality ground meat, even pasture-raised, organic turkey or chicken.) To keep it very traditional, grass-fed lamb is my choice.)

1 organic shallot, finely minced

½ cup of organic spinach (if fresh, chop it, if frozen choose chopped, thaw and squeeze excess liquid out)

1/3 cup pureed, cooked black beans or any bean of your choice (lentils, chickpeas, or cannellini beans)

1 teaspoon vegetable stock or water (to help puree beans)

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (organic)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (this is what gives it that true Greek flavor)

Tomato Topping Ingredients:

1 pint mixed grape tomatoes (organic)

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

½ tablespoon avocado oil

Directions:

Tomato Topping: Combine all the ingredients and drizzle with avocado oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tomatoes burst and soften.

Burgers: Combine all ingredients in a bowl making sure all ingredients are well combined with the meat.

Form into 4 generous patties and either grill over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes per side, or bake in a 350-degree oven or sauté in a pan in avocado oil until nicely browned and fully cooked inside.

Serve with tomato topping. If the tomatoes are too large simply chop the mixture up a bit.

Enjoy!

Steven Masley, MD

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Why Are Greek Children Becoming Obese at Alarming Rates https://drmasley.com/greek-children/ https://drmasley.com/greek-children/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2019 01:10:50 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=7110 The post Why Are Greek Children Becoming Obese at Alarming Rates appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Over the last three months, Nicole and I have sailed over 1,500 miles across Greece. We have been awed by beautiful scenery, enjoyed the wholesome food, yet been surprised by high rates of obesity, not just in adults, but especially in young children.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) European office for prevention of noncommunicable diseases, Dr. Joao Breda, has said that the Mediterranean diet in Greece is dead and even Swedish children do a better job at following a Mediterranean diet.

Yes, there are awesome Mediterranean food options available, but far too many Greeks (like far too many Americans) have stopped eating them, especially children. A traditional Greek diet based on vegetables, fruits, beans, seafood, plain yogurt, red wine, and olive oil is being replaced by bread, French fries, sweets, candy, ice cream, and sugary drinks. And to stay trim and fit, this is what we should be eating as well.

Not only have the Greeks changed what they eat, but their activity levels have plummeted as well, which is the same trend we are seeing in the United States.

Although adult Greek obesity rates remain lower than in the US for the moment (US adult obesity rates are 38-39% versus 24-25% in Greece), there is a substantial increase in recent years and much higher than other nearby countries that do better at following a Mediterranean diet, such as France, Italy, and Spain.

In Greece, the biggest concern is the change in rates of overweight and obesity rates in children. Unfortunately, the US has also been seeing an increase in children who are obese or overweight, too.

Rates for children being overweight are:                    

Greece               44% boys          38% girls

US                        30% boys          30% girls

Mexico              28% boys          29% girls

Canada              25% boys          24% girls

France                15% boys          15% girls

The economic crisis in Greece has only made things worse. Unemployment rates are nearly 25%, spending on health and social services are down, the country’s mood has clearly worsened with the economic depression, and cheap processed food intake has increased substantially. It seems like Greeks are starting to eat fast, processed food like Americans, and it is killing them.

According to health experts at the WHO, the solution to the weight gain crisis in Greece is for Greeks (as well as for people who are overweight in the US) to resume eating a traditional Mediterranean diet. The critical shift is to stop eating processed food with sugar and flour, and to eat more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, plain yogurt, and seafood—flavored with olive oil, plus herbs and spices.

Multiple studies have shown that the closer you follow a traditional Mediterranean diet, the slimmer you become, and the healthier you will be with less heart disease, less memory loss, and lower rates of cancer as well.

Along with the multiple health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, the weight loss benefits of following a Mediterranean diet has compelled me to research and write my latest book, The Mediterranean Method– Your Complete Plan to Harness the Power of the Healthiest Diet on the Planet — Lose Weight, Prevent Heart Disease, and More! publication date December 31, 2019. The book material comes with 50 awesome recipes, including 20 color photos.

To pre-order The Mediterranean Method, click here.

PS: to learn more of my sailboat travels across Greece and see photos, please visit my Facebook page: MasleyMD

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

 

 

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