Cardiovascular disease encompasses a broad spectrum including stroke, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and cardiac arrest.  The majority of cardiovascular-related disease is not restricted to the heart, but rather is of the vascular system. This ultimately leads to the development of clinical cardiovascular disease.

Several dietary patterns, foods, bioactive food components, nutraceuticals, and dietary supplements are purported to have protective cardiovascular effects. The dash pattern and Mediterranean pattern are examples. They also improve body weight and composition, blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin resistance, blood lipids and chronic inflammation.

The take-home message is to be proactive and implement lifestyle strategies, diet, nutrition strategies and physical activity, to reduce cardiovascular risk.


Excess body weight may be as dangerous as smoking when it comes to cancer.   Recently published reviews report that excess body fatness raises the risk of at least 14 kinds of cancer:

  • Brain/Meningioma
  • Breast
  • Blood/Multiple Myeloma
  • Colon and Rectum
  • Esophagus
  • Gallbladder
  • Kidney/Renal Cell
  • Liver
  • Ovaries
  • Pancreas
  • Prostate
  • Stomach/Gastric Cardia
  • Thyroid
  • Uterus

Maintaining a healthy weight at every age, or reducing weight when necessary, is clearly an important cancer prevention goal. Body fat doesn’t just sit there. Excess fat can influence levels and metabolism of hormones like insulin and estradiol, and it has effects on inflammation and immune function.  Overall, fat tissue activity creates an environment that encourages cell growth and discourages cell death – a perfect environment for cancer. Of course, you can do all the right things and still get cancer, but there is a great deal of evidence showing that eating well, being active and reducing weight can decrease risk.

Nancy Mazarin, MS, RDN, CDN