I believe that the increasing levels of illness in society are driven by what we are putting into our bodies. Through my own painstaking illness, I have learned how to use diet as my weapon in treatment of my own illness and prevention of future disease. I have learned how to make myself strong and fit and now use this information to teach and empower others to change.

Dr. Monica Aggarwal

What you Eat Defines Who you Are

As we become more affluent, busier and technologically faster, we have lost time. Everyone I speak with feels stressed for time. People find they have little time to exercise, cook and even to eat. Everything is about getting quicker and becoming more efficient. We eat quickly which usually means a drive thru window, a microwave dinner or opening a can. With these efficiencies, we have all become more overweight, sedentary and at risk for a whole host of illnesses. The rates of people being overweight and obese are progressively increasing and the highest to date. With this excess weight, efficient diet, and sedentary lifestyle, the rates of heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disease are steadily increasing. Diabetes and preDiabetes have reached epidemic proportions. Orthopedic injuries from weight gain and lack of movement are real problems. Much of our obesity epidemic and the host of illnesses we see now are directly related to the foods we take in. This also has come under great scrutiny with many different views on how best to eat whether it be high fat, high carb or high protein. There are calorie counters, point counters and carb counters. There are people who think certain foods are good for them and others, who will say those foods are the enemy. This has left people lost and unclear what to put in their bodies. People are trying to navigate nutrition labels with so many food items that we don’t even know what they are have left people frustrated. We are trying to keep calories down with artificial sweeteners. We are trying to keep fat down with low fat foods. Whew! There is so much to learn and we know so little.

What we do know though is that our diet is a real problem. Many illnesses are directly correlated with the foods that we are eating. Not only is the food that we are eating leading to weight gain, but it also is triggering inflammation in our bodies. I call this the body’s irritation where the body is unhappy with the foods coming in and responds by attacking itself (autoimmune disease), adding plaque into vessels (heart disease and stroke) or building up foreign matter (cancer). Many of us feel that decreasing inflammation in our bodies is the key to treatment of many chronic illnesses. There are medications that we have discovered and are studying to decrease inflammation in our bodies, and these medications have become pivotal in treatment of illness. There is also important research showing that our diets can also decrease inflammation. It is just about knowing what to eat.

Diseases are bound by Oxidation and Inflammation

Oxidation is the process of damaging cells and can be caused by sunlight, pollution, radiation, dietary factors and aging itself. Oxidative stress causes low levels of chronic inflammation. Other causes of inflammation are factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Inflammation is the trigger for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimers, Parkinsons and autoimmune diseases such as RA and psoriasis.

When we look at heart disease and develop risk factors such as diabetes, the elevated sugars directly damage the blood vessels. The blood vessels develop little cracks in them. The platelets are the healers and come and create a scab in the blood vessel. Then when cholesterol floats by it attaches to the scab and forms a plaque which builds over time. We build plaques our whole lives, starting at very young ages. Plaques can cause heart attacks when they obstruct the blood flow through the blood vessel. Sometimes, the blood vessels can rupture or explode and cause an acute heart attack. These are often the ones that cause sudden death. We don’t know which of our plaques is going to rupture. We do know that inflammation plays a role and triggers certain plaques to rupture causing the heart attacks. Most of the medications we use focus on treating the individual risk factors. Few medications can actually target the inflammation. We know that our diets are inflammatory and trigger our bodies to become irritated and inflamed. We follow cardiac CRP which is a blood test measure of inflammation. With modifications in the diet, we hit the problem before the inflammation starts. We target the inflammation head on. 

Patients in Clinic

I have patients in my clinic who are at high risk for heart disease. They are diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. We treat their cholesterols and we make it perfect. We get the blood pressure perfect. We get the sugars okay (not perfect). These patients will remain obese with a sedentary lifestyle and a high inflammatory diet. They then go on over and over again to have heart attacks, some of them deadly. Changing the level of inflammation in the diet is a game changer.

Read on to learn details on how to promote a healthy and diverse microbiome, and a dietary approach to become healthy and vital.


The Aggarwal Diet

In this day and age, we are putting so many toxins into our bodies. We must eliminate the foods that are causing this inflammation and body irritation.

The Aggarwal Diet sets forth a series of goals to drive towards a healthier you.

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The Microbiome

Microbiome: Tour the Gut Hotel

The microbiota is the term that refers to all of the microorganisms exposed to outside surfaces. The microbiome, on the other hand, is the entire set up genes of a given organism. This includes the gastro-intestinal organs (mouth to anus), skin, nose, ears and genitals and includes all of the bacteria, protozoa, fungi and even viruses that inhabit our bodies.

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Videos

Dr. Monica Aggarwal's Story Video

Dr. Monica Aggarwal's Story

Hear Dr. Monica Aggarwal's personal story about how her disease transformed the way she practices medicine.

Bill Clinton: Fan of Caldwell Esselstyn Jr MD Video

Bill Clinton: Fan of Caldwell Esselstyn Jr MD

In this clip, Bill Clinton talks about his vegan diet and mentions how fit plantbased physician Caldwell Esselstyn Jr MD appears. Clinton credits his vegan diet for saving and extending his life.


Articles

Potassium Intake of the US population

Potassium in our diet

Why is potassium important? Potassium is important for many reasons. It is useful in fluid balance in the cells and blood. It is necessary for proper kidney function and muscle contraction. When our potassium levels become too low, our bodies don’t like it. We can have significant muscle weakness and muscle …

Effect of Sleep on Appetite and Hunger

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/figure/pmed-0010062-g003/

Published 2004

Bottom Line: When we sleep more, we feel satiated more. We arent as hungry and are hunger hormones are suppressed. We gain less weight when we sleep more. Goal sleep 7-9 hours per night.

Discussion

We found that habitual sleep duration below 7.7 h was …

Effects of Lifestyle Modification on Telomerase Gene Expression in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Trial of Stress Reduction and Health Education Programs in African Americans

Background

African Americans suffer from disproportionately high rates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Psychosocial stress, lifestyle and telomere dysfunction contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This study evaluated effects of stress reduction and lifestyle modification on blood pressure, …