In her upcoming PBS show, Heart of Perfect Health: The Startling Truths About Heart Disease And The Power You Hold To Stop It, renowned digestive health expert, Brenda Watson uncovers the root of America’s #1 killer, heart disease, in a hidden condition known as silent inflammation.
Back on air by popular demand after debuting late last year on PBS-TV stations nationwide, the show also drives home the real and accessible solutions we all have to stop silent inflammation and improve heart disease health markers—high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
According to Watson, "Viewers will be shocked at what is causing their silent inflammation and delighted with the power they hold to turn it around, starting in their own kitchens." We caught up with the star of the show for some insight into her gut-to-heart connection, and "what we can do to reverse the vicious cycle of silent inflammation for good, and avoid becoming another health statistic."
Tune into Heart of Perfect Health March 1–16, 2013, to get the skinny.
newhope360: How will Heart of Perfect Health differ from your last PBS special?
Brenda Watson: My new PBS show Heart of Perfect Health differs from my last PBS show The Road to Perfect Health in that my new show focuses on heart disease and the underlying silent inflammation that comes, in large part, from the gut. I debunk some common myths about heart disease, and talk about the detriments of sugar and the need to eat more fat—omega-3 fat, that is.
The Road to Perfect Health was about how digestive health is related to many different health conditions throughout the body and how optimal gut balance can be achieved with probiotics as a way to have a beneficial impact on such conditions.
newhope360: How are digestive and heart health connected?
BW: Digestive health is the foundation upon which total-body health is built. Everything begins with proper digestion, absorption of nutrients and optimal gut balance. If the gut is out of balance, inflammation increases and so does leaky gut, or an increase in permeability of the intestinal lining. Thus exists a perfect storm that triggers the immune system—up to 80 percent of which resides in the gut—to respond with further inflammation that travels throughout the body. This inflammation is known as silent inflammation, or chronic, low-grade inflammation. You can’t see it or feel it, but it persists under the radar and is known to contribute to most, if not all, chronic disease.
Inflammation is now well-known to be involved in the very initiation and worsening of heart disease. Yet most treatment for heart disease does not address this initial inflammation. By optimizing digestive health through proper diet and nutritional supplementation, we can turn this health crisis around.
newhope360: From an industry standpoint, what do you think are the biggest misconceptions surrounding this topic? What about from a consumer standpoint?
BW: From an industry and consumer standpoint, the biggest misconception about heart disease is that it is caused by high cholesterol, and that eating a low-fat diet (which is a high-sugar diet in disguise) will prevent it. We need to be looking at the vast negative health effects of a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. This supposedly healthy diet is fueling our poor health.
newhope360: Can people achieve optimal heart health from diet alone or do you think supplements are also necessary?
BW: While it is possible to achieve optimal heart health from diet alone, it is extremely difficult. Even the most diligent people have difficulty eating 35 grams of fiber, 3,000 mg of omega-3, and 15+ billion probiotics daily. Certain supplements—omega-3 fish oil, probiotics and fiber, particularly—are much more convenient to take in supplement form to complement the diet. For people with health challenges, dietary supplements are a great way to increase support of overall and heart health.
newhope360: Which supplements do you recommend for heart health and why?
BW: These four supplements make up the HOPE Formula: High fiber, Omega-3 Oils, Probiotics and Enzymes. They provide foundational digestive and total-body health support. This is the best place to start.
- I recommend a daily intake of 3,000 mg of omega-3 from a quality, purified fish oil. Fish oil is one of the most well-studied supplements for heart health, recommended by experts the world over.
- In addition, a fiber supplement is a great way to help you reach 35 grams of fiber daily. High-fiber diets have been linked to heart health in a number of studies. These two nutrients also benefit digestive health, which, as I mentioned, is the foundation upon which total-health is built. That includes heart health.
- To support digestive health, I recommend a high-potency (15 to 100 billion CFUs daily) probiotic that contains multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the two probiotics most studied for their digestive benefits.
- Last, I recommend digestive enzymes for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
newhope360: What are the top 3 ways retailers can help cater to their customers' heart health?
- Retailers should stay educated themselves because there are many actions consumers can take from a natural perspective to support heart health including diet, exercise and the right supplementation regimen, and the retailer is viewed as a reliable source for this information.
- Once retailers are informed properly, they can choose to disseminate credible and reliable literature like books, brochure, guides, etc. and information through lectures or events to their customers.
- They can also put up heart health end cap or other such displays at key times of the year to bring attention to heart health to display products that support heart health.