Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Mimi Guarneri, M.D., cardiologist and medical director of Pacific Pearl La Jolla presented findings on lifestyle and diet changes that can drastically reduce heart disease to a large group of interested members and guests at La Jolla Community Center in February.
Guarneri’s practice at Pacific Pearl focuses on integrative health, education and research. She outlined many alarming statistics, shared her clinical research findings and carved out a path of non-medical interventions that individuals could follow to decrease their chances of developing heart disease. She opened her discussion with a statistic from the World Health Organization that three out of 10 deaths globally are caused by cardiovascular disease and cited high blood pressure, increased blood sugar and obesity, a high sodium diet, air pollution and high cholesterol as some of the causes. However, she also stated that 80 percent of those deaths can be prevented by a healthy diet.
Her talk addressed the relationship between climate change, our environment, and cardiovascular disease. For example, she stated that air pollution is responsible for 7 million deaths annually from exposure to fine particles in polluted air—leading to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and other diseases. She also addressed the need to measure chemicals that we may have in our body from ingesting contaminated water, eating fish with high levels of mercury, and being exposed to ground water that may contain remains of medications that were thrown away or toxic pesticides.
Guarneri’s focus is to dispel the “ill to the pill” thinking and stated that there are other ways besides prescription medications that can drastically reduce the incidence of heart disease. “What we eat matters,” she said, adding that “If you have gas, bloating, mind-fog, constipation and you eat a diet high in gluten and diary, you need to ‘fix your gut.’” She also pointed out the importance of “knowing your numbers,” and recommended that individuals know what their blood pressure, their H1C level and other relevant lab work, including heavy metals, as well as relevant genetics testing.
Some suggested steps she outlined for living better include: incorporating macro/micro nutrition, physical activity and structural balance; sleep and restorative practices; balancing hormones; making sure to have vital social connections; and transforming the your stress response. Some specific dietary recommendations include integrating a Mediterranean diet with olive oil and nuts; increasing plant protein and decrease animal protein in your life; phasing out trans-fat; introducing turmeric, green tea, vitamin B-5, probiotics and omega-3’ and eliminating white carbs. “Lifestyle is intervention,” said Guarneri, adding that for almost any disease state, she could name a non-prescription alternative to promote health.