Chat Transcript: Dr. Oz on Heart Health | Reader's Digest

Chat Transcript: Dr. Oz on Heart Health

 

JoAnneRB asks: Hi. You were on Good Morning America with Joel Harper and he did some exercises. How can I get his tapes?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: You can google Joel Harper — I believe his workouts are called FitPack. You can also get on a diet workout. I believe they’re on the RD site, but if not, check realage.com.

Danielle asks: Are there any foods I can eat to reduce my heart attack risk? I’ve heard chocolate and red wine can help!!! And what’s this I hear about pomegranate juice?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: All 3 of these are very helpful because they are rich in antioxidants — especially pomegranate. The chocolate has flavonoids, which relax the heart and allow more blood through, and the resveratrol in red wine is particularly healthy for the heart as demonstrated in several studies. Tree nuts are also wonderful because they have healthy oils, which reduce the chance of fatal irregular heartbeats.

lbisax asks: Do you prefer mechanical valves or tissue valves for replacement?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: If the patient is older than 60 years of age, I generally prefer tissue valves, in order to avoid the blood thinners. Even if I have a younger patient who is very active, I may still prefer tissue valves in order to avoid the risk of thinning their blood.

denisemcavoy asks: Is there anything I can do to increase my HDL? I usually run between 38 and 42. (I am 43 years old — heart disease runs in my family — I’m on Lipitor and my LDLs are at 160.) Are any drugs being worked on to help boost HDLs?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: The best way to raise HDL is exercise and niacin. There’s lots of research in this area, but no drug has been effective yet.

rdkel asks: Is slow deep-breathing especially helpful in lowering blood pressure?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: It is because it stimulates nitric oxide. it can then enter the lungs. It also centers the mind. I use it routinely.

pskumar6 asks: Is it true that unhomogenized milk is better than homogenized milk from a health perspective?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: I believe this to be true, although difficult to prove. I have concerns that homogenizing the milk makes it more difficult for our body to digest. Milk is a wonderful source of vitamin D because it is fortified.

Danielle asks: I’ve heard that eating fish can help protect your heart – is that true?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: Absolutely true. You should have 3 servings of fish per week because it has healthy oils.

respiterri asks: Is it possible for the heart to repair itself after a serious heart attack and to what extent can normal function of daily life return in your experience?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: The heart will naturally wish to repair itself, and is repopulated by adult stem cells soon after the injury. Our hormonal shifts can sometimes help and sometimes hurt this process, so aggressive management by heart failure cardiologists is often worthwhile if the damage is severe. Return to normal activity is often very possible.

Danielle asks: I thought only diabetics had to worry about eating too much sugar. What does sugar have to do with heart disease?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: Sugar is like broken glass on the arterial highways of our heart. It scratches up the “Teflon” lining of those tubes so that they have to be continually repaired by cholesterol, which eventually leads to plaque buildup.

patiw13 asks: Love your books! Here’s my problem… I am allergic to statin drugs. I am currently taking 2000mg Niaspan and Zetia nightly. I am fairly diligent watching my diet. I know I need to exercise more. What other steps can I take to lower my cholesterol?

Dr. Mehmet Oz: There’s a possibility that you may be able to take statin drugs if you combine them with co-enzyme Q10. Otherwise you are doing great!