Friday, February 02, 2007

The Cardiovascular Cure: How to Strengthen Your Self-Defense Against Heart Attack and Stroke - Book Review


SOME MAINSTREAM DOCTORS are bucking the system and suggesting that surgery or drugs may not be the best treatment for stroke, heart disease, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). One of these doctors, John P. Cooke, M.D., Ph.D., director of the vascular medicine section at Stanford University Medical School in Palo Alto, Calif., has written a book to help us trigger our body's remarkable capacity to heal itself.

Cooke and co-author medical journalist Judith Zimmer explain that a healthy endothelium, the innermost single-cell-thick lining of human blood vessels, releases a substance that packs benefits galore. Called nitric oxide (NO), this substance keeps blood vessels supple, prevents platelets from snagging on vessel walls, hinders the buildup of plaque, and even helps to reduce existing plaque deposits. Cooke says people with heart disease or the risk factors for it have elevated levels of an amino acid that impedes NO production.

To ensure that your endothelium pumps out plenty of NO, Cooke recommends a modified Mediterranean-style diet supplying 1,800 calories a day. The evidence-based diet features whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and emphasizes foods rich in L-arginine, an amino acid used by the endothelium to make NO. His book includes a two-week eating plan with recipes, and detailed information on supplemental nutrients and phytochemicals.

The other component of Cooke's simple plan is aerobic exercise, which increases blood flow through your vessels. Increased blood flow stimulates the production of NO and keeps the endothelium smooth so plaque accumulation is less likely. He advocates at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four days a week.
This book manages to be both comprehensive and lively. Cooke presents just the right amount of detail about the scientific underpinnings of his conclusions, which are based on a Nobel-prize-winning theory. He claims you will have vascular improvement in just two weeks--and I believe him.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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