Bonus Years Science
Percentages are the reduction in cardiovascular risk associated with each of the Bonus Years Foods.
You are sipping a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir while savoring an elegant dinner of pan roasted salmon with oven roasted asparagus and shitake mushrooms. And for dessert, fresh pears poached in red wine with dark chocolate sauce and slivered almonds. Miraculously, with every delicious bite you are lowering your blood pressure, keeping your cholesterol in check, and preventing clots that can easily cause a heart attack or stroke. How it is possible that such a great tasting meal can do so many good things for you? What is the secret behind all of those bonus years foods?
Well to answer those questions you need to know a bit of the history and science of the Bonus Years. Based on revolutionary research over the past twenty five years, doctors now routinely prescribe a drug cocktail consisting of aspirin, a statin to lower cholesterol, and medications to decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Now all of these drugs have been carefully chosen because they all also help to protect the lining cells (endothelium) of the body’s blood vessels, cells which we now understand after decades of intensive medical study are critical in preventing the formation of those dangerous clots which can cause strokes and heart attacks.
In December 2004, my colleague and coauthor, Dr. Oscar Franco, published a ground breaking article in the British Medical Journal entitled the Polymeal, in which he proposed a group of seven foods which would exert the same powerful effects as the usual drug cocktail in terms of protecting the endothelium, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and preventing blood clots. Dr. Franco had painstakingly poured over hundreds of scientific studies from leading medical journals throughout the world to determine exactly which foods and in precisely what amounts would be needed to replicate the effect of the drugs. He then devised a sophisticated mathematical model similar to that used by life insurance companies when they determine a person’s life expectancy. In that way he could accurately predict that an average person could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 75% and so add about 6.4 years to life.
Six thousands miles away in Phoenix, I read about the Polymeal with intense interest. As a doctor I immediately appreciated the health benefits offered by the Polymeal. But as a chef I recognized that the Polymeal wasn’t a practical eating plan that the typical person could follow every day.
So I immediately contacted Dr. Franco and suggested that we team up to create an eating plan with the original Polymeal foods, chocolate, nuts, red wine, garlic, fish and fruits and vegetables at its core. But we also understood from the beginning that just giving people a list of seven Bonus Years Foods is not enough, that people must also see how to incorporate those foods into their daily menu plans. The result is the menu of seven bonus foods dosed in precisely the right amounts to offer the maximum cardiovascular benefits. They are:
One five ounce glass of red wine daily reduces overall cardiovascular risk by 32%. Red wine helps to increase the good cholesterol(HDL) and prevent blood clots.
A two ounce serving of chocolate daily reduces blood pressure due to its plant chemicals called flavonoids causing a 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating four cups(measured raw) of fruits and vegetables reduces cardiovascular risk by 21% due to blood pressure lowering effects.
Eating three five ounce servings of fish each week reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14% because it helps to prevent heart rhythm disturbances and the formation of clots in the blood vessels.
One clove of garlic helps to reduce cholesterol,and reduce the risk of clots, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease by 25%.
Eating two ounces of nuts daily reduces cholesterol and therefore cardiovascular risk by about 12%.