It's been known for years that the fat in red meat is responsible for causing and advancing the stiffness and occlusion of arteries in our body, the most important being those of the heart and brain (heart attacks and strokes).
But the biochemical explanation that confirms that this is actually the case and not some theory and how this happens has not been totally clear. Until now. For those who’ve been unfazed by the Netflix documentary “What The Health” and other science-based evidence for healthier living eating whole foods and plant-based foods, this may be of interest.
A few months ago researchers at the Cleveland Clinic shared a new eye-popping discovery, which throws another shovel of dirt onto the buried coffin of those whose interests it is to bamboozle people into believing THE healthy diet is one rife with red meat – beef and pork.
After putting food in our mouth not much attention is given to it after it is chewed, tasted, and swallowed. But a lot happens.
The Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that many foods have a nutrient called choline. Choline is vitamin-like. Some foods have more of it than others. Some are rich in it. When a choline-rich food enters the stomach the totality of the microbes in your gut (microbiome) act upon the choline to produce a by-product – a nitrate called TMAO.
It turns out that this TMAO kind of tricks the platelets in the blood stream to do something rather stupid. Stupid and evil. Something they don’t usually do. The platelets are tiny cells, much smaller than a red blood cell, whose job it is to travel to an injured artery when the artery sends out a chemical signal that it has been injured. The injured spot is then healed over by the platelets. This is all well and good until Mr. TMAO comes along.
As a result of exposure to the TMAO, the platelets become sticky, very sticky. They are also tricked into responding to a false alarm of sorts and begin to flood the lining of the arteries, making the arteries stiffer (atherogenic) and they become the core from which tiny clots form. Clots and plaques that cause clogging. It’s kind of like taking a handful of clumped, soaked, paper wads and throwing them against a sheet-rock wall. They stick. Then imagine them becoming solid and hard over time. Then imagine more gobs of paper wads thrown on top of this one. Then another. And another.
Before long, maybe months, maybe years, you have a nice sized clump that is large enough to start causing the blood stream to swirl passed it, causing damage to other nearby areas of the artery, then eventually building up to the point of making the blood stream nothing more than a thready flow.
So the choline-rich foods are ingested, acted upon by the particular organisms in your gut, releasing the TMAO which in turn causes the platelets to get sticky and act inappropriately, stiffening the arteries and becoming the core from which an obstructive plaque will form. The two single foods that are richest in choline are red meats and egg yolks.
Kudos to the smart crackers at Cleveland Clinic.