I have a new morning routine, one that has developed over the last 3 1/2 weeks, since DH's heart procedure.....
The first thing I do is get a small saucepan and fill it with an inch of water. Then I get a metal colander that is the same size as the saucepan and put a couple handfuls of stemmed (meaning I take leaves off of the stems), and chopped kale in the colander. Placing the colander on top of the saucepan, I then bring it to a boil and let the kale steam for about 8 minutes.
The kale is then placed on a plate, and put in the fridge to cool off. Afterwhich, I sprinkle some sort of infused balsamic vinegar on the top. DH's favorite is infused with raspberry, and my favorite is infused with ginger, yum!
Why is this breakfast item so important for heart patients? Or, I should ask, why is this breakfast important for all of us?
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, bok choy, arugula, etc. are high in nitric oxide. As is mentioned in other posts, nitric oxide is the water that we pour on the inflammation fire in our arteries to heal the damage to the endothelial cells so they can protect us from the collection of plaque and make our arteries flexible. Remember heart disease is a condition called atherosclerosis, or in other words, hardening of the arteries. Endothelial cells that are healthy, are flexible.
DH doesn't totally love this kale breakfast item, but he knows it's important and he's getting used to it.
The next breakfast item is also high in cholesterol lowering entities, oatmeal. This is well known.
I just take 1/2 cup of oatmeal, cover it with water, and microwave for 2 minutes. Then I add frozen cherries to the mixture. The heat of the oatmeal thaws the cherries and the coldness of the cherries cools off the oatmeal. DH has enjoyed this breakfast very much, and I haven't even had to add salt or sweetener, and it stays with him for a long time.
It is very important to chew these foods thoroughly. It's hard to remember to do that, but you don't get hardly any benefit of the heart healing entities in these foods if you don't chew them well. This is, according to both Jeff Novick and Dr. Esselstyn, due to the enzymes in the saliva that are necessary to breakdown these foods into nitric oxide. The stomach can not do this, and the intestines can not do this, it has to happen in the mouth.
DH is an efficiency guru, and chewing is not an efficient activity when you look at it at the surface. But in a change of mindset, what could be more efficient than to mix your food at the beginning of the digestion process with the bodily chemicals that most efficiently digest your food?
I have a theory that many people with heart disease are not good chewers because they don't chew well enough to mix their foods with the saliva that is so full of enzymes necessary for good digestion.
There have been studies linking dental problems to heart issues, and while part of that is due to infections which may go through the jaw bones into the thoracic region of the body and causing infections in the heart, I also believe that dental problems keep us from being able to chew and being able to digest the food in such as way as to extract the nitric oxide out of the foods that we eat.
I have a relative that used to remind me all of the time to chew my food 25 times, each bite. I tried that over and over again throughout the years, but since he made it to the age of 83 before he had any significant health challenges, maybe there is something to it because he stayed healthy on a standard diet.
I have also noticed that generations of Americans past had also preached to their children to chew their food properly. Horace Fletcher, a health guru in living in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, who was called the "Great Masticator" said, "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate." He preached that chewing food properly increases the strength of the person who is doing so, and decreases the amount of food he needs to eat. I guess I should mention that Fletcher died at age 69, but it was of bronchitis in a era of no antibiotics. I put this here because I know someone is going to bring it up. Modern science has backed up his claims, here in the early 21st century.
I have tried to put chewing properly into practice, but it is extremely hard, especially when I'm booked up tight with carting kids from here to there, but I am committing to try to do better at this over the next little while to see if I receive added benefit and strength, and I am pretty sure I will because I understand how important digestive enzymes are for digestion.
It will be interesting to see if my own health improves by concentrating on chewing better, especially chewing my kale better.