- With Mayo Clinic cardiologist
Martha Grogan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Martha Grogan, M.D.Martha Grogan, M.D.
Dr. Martha Grogan is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. She is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and received her medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Grogan has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1995 and is a consultant in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and is an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
Dr. Grogan is a noninvasive cardiologist specializing in heart failure, adult congenital heart disease and echocardiography. She has witnessed firsthand the importance of patient education in the treatment of diseases such as congestive heart failure and is excited about the tremendous educational opportunities now available through the Internet.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Fat grams: How to track your dietary fat
- Yerba mate: Is it safe to drink?
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Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
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Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
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Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
- Sea salt vs. table salt: What's the difference?
- Vegetable juice: As good as whole vegetables?
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Nutritional supplements (18)
- Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
- Fiber supplements: Safe to take every day?
- Chocolate: Does it impair calcium absorption?
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Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
Does the sodium nitrate in processed meat increase my risk of heart disease?
from Martha Grogan, M.D.
Sodium nitrate, a preservative that's used in some processed meats, such as bacon, jerky and luncheon meats, could increase your heart disease risk. Aside from the salt and saturated fat in these meats that can disrupt a heart-healthy diet, sodium nitrate also may harm your heart. It's thought that sodium nitrate may damage your blood vessels, making your arteries more likely to harden and narrow, leading to heart disease. Nitrates may also affect the way your body uses sugar, making you more likely to develop diabetes.
If you eat meat, it's best to limit processed meat in your diet and focus on lean, fresh meats and poultry. Lean beef, pork and poultry are good choices, but limit your servings to no more than 6 ounces (170 grams, or about the size of two decks of playing cards) daily, depending on your overall dietary plan.Next question
Calories in sushi: What are the low-cal options?
- Micha R, et al. Red and processed meat consumption and risk of incident coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Circulation. 2010;121:2271.
- Sinha R, et al. Meat intake and mortality: A prospective study of over half a million people. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2009;169:562.
- Pereira EC, et al. Biomarkers of oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in glucose intolerance and diabetes mellitus. Clinical Biochemistry. 2008;41:1454.
- Kleinbongard P, et al. Plasma nitrite concentrations reflect the degree of endothelial dysfunction in humans. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2006;40:295.
- Your guide to lowering your blood pressure with DASH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf. Accessed Aug. 24, 2010.