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Eggs and heart health: Finding the right balance

Eggs and heart health: Finding the right balance

Originally published March 13, 2016 at 7:00 am

By Seattle Times staff
Syndicated columnists

People’s Pharmacy looks into eggs and heart disease, and the healing powers of garlic.

Q: I eat a low-carb diet. For me, that means eggs for breakfast nearly every day.

Recently, I’ve read that egg yolks raise the blood level of TMAO, which can be a marker for heart attack or stroke. Dr. Oz recommends no more than two yolks per week. Most of your guests say eggs are just fine. Who’s right?
A: The story on TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) is a bit more complicated than “don’t eat eggs.” Although high circulating levels of TMAO have been associated with serious cardiovascular complications, eating fish leads to higher levels of TMAO than eating egg yolks (Nutrition, November-December 2015). No one would suggest that you should cut back on fish consumption, as diets that substitute fish for meat (as the Mediterranean diet does) are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

It turns out that gut microbes are crucial for producing TMAO, and they change depending upon your diet (Cell, Dec. 17, 2015). Provided that you include plenty of high-fiber plant foods in your low-carb diet, you will be feeding bowel bacteria that are less prone to producing dangerous amounts of TMAO. As far as we can tell, you should not need to worry about eating eggs for breakfast several times a week.

Q: You recently had a letter from a doctor who was skeptical that garlic can be medicinal. I can attest to its healing powers!

I have Type 2 diabetes, and I had constant yeast infections due to high blood sugar. My yeast infections were so terrible that I was in constant pain.

I read online about treating my condition by eating crushed garlic. I consumed 3 tablespoons of raw crushed garlic four times a day with a pint of warm lemon water for three days. The infection went away completely. This worked better than Monistat or Diflucan or anything else that had been prescribed.

Once the infection was gone, I took 3 tablespoons of raw crushed garlic three times a day instead of four. This dropped my blood pressure from 189/96 to 134/86. Based on my experiences with using garlic, I can truly say that it heals the body.

A: Thank you for sharing your extraordinary story. We’re not sure, though, that very many people could tolerate 3 or 4 tablespoons of crushed garlic a day.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was reputed to prescribe garlic for patients suffering chest pain. Modern science has confirmed that garlic has anti-platelet activity, meaning it may reduce the risk of blood-clot formation. Research also has revealed that garlic lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and combats fungi (Journal of Nutrition, February 2016); Canadian Journal of Microbiology, October 2010).

There also is evidence that garlic helps control blood sugar (Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2015). In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th floor, New York, NY 10019, or via their website:www.peoplespharmacy.orgREAD MORE