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Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Medical Food Philosophy Supported by Recent American Heart Study

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Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Medical Food Philosophy

Dr. Oz’s special guest Dr. Joel Fuhrman recently appeared on the Dr. Oz Show with his “food as medicine” philosophy where he believes that a nutrient-dense diet plan will help you lose weight, prevent disease, feel younger and remove you from your dependence on prescription medications. Supporting his philosophy is an announcement this week by the American Heart Association about a study that demonstrates that a blend of sesame and rice bran oil for cooking significantly lowers high blood pressure and bad cholesterol - possibly enough to allow many to stop taking their blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications.

The notion that foods can replace prescription meds is a controversial one that Dr. Fuhrman believes is not a form of alternative medicine, but one of progressive medicine.

He explains to Dr. Oz and his viewers that a nutrient-rich diet and lifestyle is what our bodies really need to ward off disease and obesity. Medical conditions that he says we needlessly take prescription meds for include high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, allergies and pain. Furthermore, he points out that not only do these meds not solve the medical problem, but often make things worse such as weight gain with some diabetes medications.

“Medications give people the false sense that they are taking care of themselves. It lowers their blood pressure, but the process of the hardening of the arteries can easily advance and you will need more medication. In other words, what I am saying here is that medications function like permission slips to enable people to continue their diet styles that which during the course of disease inevitably causes it to advance…and that’s why we have a health care crisis—because people are overly reliant on their medications,” says Dr. Fuhrman.

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As it turns out, recent research is showing that there is scientific support for Dr. Fuhrman’s philosophy. An abstract reportedly titled “Sesame and rice bran oil lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol” was presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions in Washington DC and announces these highlighted findings:

• A blend of sesame and rice bran oil reduced blood pressure almost as well as a common medication.
• Those who used a combination of both the oil and medication had more than twice the drop in blood pressure compared to either the group taking medication alone, or those only supplementing their diet with the oil blend.

According to a press release issued by the American Heart Association the results are encouraging news for patients with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels at risk of heart disease.

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“Rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient’s cholesterol profile,” said Devarajan Sankar, M.D, Ph.D., a research scientist in the Department of Cardiovascular Disease at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Chikushino, Japan. “Additionally, it may reduce heart disease risk in other ways, including being a substitute for less healthy oils and fats in the diet.”

The startling results are from a 60-day study where 300 participants consisting of an approximately equal number of men and women at an average age of 57 with mild to moderately high blood pressure were divided into 3 test groups:

• Group one was treated with a common blood pressure lowering med.
• Group two was treated with the 1 ounce daily of sesame/rice bran oil blend in their food.
• Group three was treated with first group’s blood pressure medication in combination with group 2’s cooking oil.

All three test groups experienced a decrease in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers. For systolic blood pressure: Group one on blood pressure meds alone had a decrease of 16 points. Group two treated with cooking oil alone had a decrease of 14 points. And, Group three who had both the meds and the oil dropped a significant 36 points!

For diastolic blood pressure numbers, the three groups decreased by 12 points, 11 points and 24 points respectively in correlation with the systolic numbers and treatments.

With respect to the study participants’ resulting blood cholesterol levels, the first group on blood pressure meds alone did not experience any changes in their cholesterol levels. However, the group receiving the cooking oil blend and the group on blood pressure meds plus the cooking oil blend, experienced a drop of approximately 26 percent in their LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels and a 10 percent increase in their HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.

The authors of the study attribute the blood pressure and cholesterol results to the healthier fatty acids and antioxidant compounds found in the plants that the cooking oils were extracted from. However, additional studies are needed to confirm that their results are truly due to the cooking oil blend, which they say is a special blend created for the study. They state that creating a blend of your own may not necessarily produce the same effects they’ve found in theirs.

The source of their cooking oil blend is given credit to Adani Wilmar Limited of Gujarat, India, for donating the oil blend called VivoTM for use in the study. Adani Wilmar Limited is a company that produces cooking oils for healthy living. While no mention is currently made to the referenced VivoTM brand oil on the company’s website, it may be one to keep an eye open for toward additional research and a future cooking oil product.

For an informative article about Dr. Fuhrman and weight loss, follow this link to a recent article about what he has to say about dieting programs and why they fail.

Image Source: Courtesy of Morgue File
The Dr. Oz Show
American Heart Association press release: “Sesame and rice bran oil lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol”