KRON 4 | Eat Your Way to a Trimmer Waist

According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have  something called metabolic syndrome. That’s almost one out of every six people. Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Here’s how you get it and what you can do about it.

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome? 

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these measurements.

  • Large waistline: Greater than 40″ (men); greater than 35″ (women)
  • High triglycerides: Greater than 150 mg/dL
  • Low HDL (“good cholesterol”) level:  Less than 40 mg/dL (men); less than 50 mg/dL (women)
  • High blood pressure: 130/85 mm/Hg and higher
  • High fasting blood sugar: 100 mg/dL and higher

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Metabolic Syndrome Health Effects

Compared to someone without metabolic syndrome, a person with metabolic syndrome is:

  • Twice as likely to develop heart disease.
  • Five times as likely to develop diabetes. If your waistline is over 40″, your risk is 12 times higher for diabetes.

The Study

Traditional Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup
Asian noodles are an example of “refined grains”.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains reduced cardiovascular risk factors. They studied two groups — one group ate whole grains and the other ate refined grains.

Refined grains have a high glycemic load which means they’re rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. Examples of refined grains include: white pasta/noodles, white rice, white bread/rolls/tortillas, enriched wheat bread/bagels, and corn flakes.

Whole-Grain Diet Results

Weight loss and cholesterol levels decreased similarly in both whole-grain and refined-grain groups, BUT the whole grain group had the following results:

  1. 38% decrease in inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP) levels decreased. CRP is an inflammatory biomarker and an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is a predictor of cardiac events in persons with and without CVD.
  2. Significantly greater decreases in the percentage of abdominal fat.

Why Whole-Grains Reduce Inflammation

The reduction in inflammation could be due to:

  • Lower blood glucose concentrations throughout the day. This is the result of increased fiber in the whole grains.
  • The antioxidants in the whole grains which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The release of inflammatory compounds from the loss of abdominal fat. Abdominal fat (visceral fat) is highly inflammatory. Eating whole grains decreased belly fat substantially.

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The Whole Grain Daily Diet      

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KRON 4 | The Link Between Gum Disease, Heart Attacks, and Alzheimer’s

Doctors and researchers have recently started to look at what dentists have been examining for years — your gums. They’re finding a relationship between the health of your gums and chronic disease.

Did You Know…

  • Per a study in Finland, subjects with gum disease were 30% more likely to have a heart attack compared to subjects without oral infections.
  • Per a six-year study of 44,119 men, those with tooth loss and gum disease were 70% more likely to have coronary artery disease.
  • Another study demonstrated patients infected with periodontal bacteria had the highest levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. CRP is an inflammatory marker and independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Another study confirmed periodontal bacteria reaches the human brain suggesting an inflammatory role in Alzheimer’s disease. Additional studies link chronic inflammation with memory loss.
  • Pregnant women with moderate to severe periodontal disease are at greater risk of spontaneous pre-term birth.

Business Man in uniform having heart attack / heartburn. acult pain possible heart attack.

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Below are the key things to know about gum disease:

  • Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is one of the most common infections in humans. Fifty percent of the American population has gum disease.
  • It’s a chronic inflammatory disease that inflames your gums.
  • It starts with bacteria (called plaque) that develops on the surface of the tooth root (gum line) and causes inflammation (bleeding gums). 
  • Studies show that chronic systemic inflammation, also called persistent, low-grade inflammation, is associated with chronic disease.
  • Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that destroys bone, resulting in tooth loss.

Gum Disease_AdobeStock_96698416Your body is made up of a rich network of blood vessels which move blood and immune cells, bacteria, and pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins through your entire body. So bacteria in your mouth can move to other organs.   Continue reading “KRON 4 | The Link Between Gum Disease, Heart Attacks, and Alzheimer’s”

KRON 4 | Carcinogens to Plastics: There’s WHAT in My Water?!

KRON4_Contaminated Water

Did you know that drinking water increases your risk of cancer? Contaminants (from known carcinogens to plastic particles) found in public water systems could be the cause of cancer from drinking it over the course of a lifetime. Here’s what’s lurking in the water you drink…

The Research

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental advocacy group, conducted a nationwide water contamination study and reviewed 30 million state water records. In California, they evaluated 2,737 different public water systems.

The researchers calculated cancer risk by evaluating the reported contaminant levels from 2010 to 2015. Then they analyzed the cumulative risk based on the yearly averages of all the contaminants and took into account co-occurring contaminants*. 

*NOTE: Interactions between chemical contaminants can overestimate or underestimate overall risk. More research is needed to understand the science behind these interactions.

The Three Key Contaminants Detected

Boy is drinking water in the morning.State regulators oversee the water providers which are regulated by the “Safe Drinking Water Act” and test for contaminants to ensure the water is safe to drink. EWG researchers found three key contaminants:

  1. Arsenic: Drinking water contaminated with arsenic attributed to most of the cancer risk, about 47% of estimated cancer cases. 
  2. Disinfection byproducts
  3. Chromium-6 (Hexavalent)

Small Water Systems Carry the Highest Risk

The smaller utility systems carried the higher risks because they don’t have the resources and economies to improve water quality. Even so, 43% of the larger utilities carried some of the higher cancer risks.

Warning sign with carcinogenic substancesClick here to find out what contaminants are in your water district. You’ll be asked to enter your zip code.

Check out EBMUD’s Water Testing Records…

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The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has historically been know as having the “best” drinking water in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the EWG researchers found two contaminants above health guidelines. According to third quarter 2018 (July to Sept), the tap water provided by EBMUD was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

The two contaminants that were detected ABOVE health guidelines were:

Warning sign with carcinogenic substances1. Chromium-6 (Hexavalent) — A carcinogen in drinking water due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater. Harm to the liver and reproductive system. Detected above the health guideline from 2013 to 2015.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Carcinogens to Plastics: There’s WHAT in My Water?!”

KRON 4 | Chocolate 101

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Studies report that chocolate is good for your health, but how so and which ones? Cacao (pronounced “kuh-KOW”), cocoa, Dutch cocoa, and chocolate… what’s the difference? Here’s how it all breaks down along with the ones to eat and ones to avoid.

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Heart Benefits

Cocoa and cocoa-containing foods contain high levels of flavanols (“FLAY-va-nole”) — an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and dilates (widens) blood vessels. According to extensive research, eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, improves the markers of cardiovascular health. Consuming flavanols from chocolate is associated with a lower rate of:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Atrial fibrillation (10 to 20% lower)
  • Death from cardiovascular events

The cocoa may improve:

  • Endothelial function — The endothelium is the inner lining of your arteries. Its function declines with age and puts you at increased risk for heart disease.
  • Lipid levels Lipids include your total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.
  • Blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance This is when your body does not respond properly to the insulin it makes which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes puts you at risk for heart disease.
  • Decrease cardiac fibrosis (scar tissue formation) as well as electrical and structural changes of the heart.

The Cacao vs Cocoa   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Chocolate 101”

KRON 4 | Chocolate for Your Heart

Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib or AF, is the most common irregular heart rhythm in the United States where 2.7 to 6.1 million Americans are living with this dangerous condition. Here’s AFib explained, the risks, and how this one food affects these abnormal heart beats.

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A normal heart rhythm ejects blood from the heart into the aorta which distributes oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.

What is Atrial Fibrillation? 

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heart rhythm caused by abnormal electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart.

AFib is on the rise because the older you are, the greater the risk of developing AFib. Finding effective ways to prevent AFib and identify treatments for AFib is a public health priority.

Typically someone one with AFib has to take a blood-thinner to prevent blood clots from forming and reduce stroke risk. Blood thinners can have dangerous side effects, such as severe bleeding, coughing up blood, bruising without an injury, and dizziness.

High Blood Pressure Link

If you have high blood pressure, AFib needs to be on your radar. People with high blood pressure (which usually occurs with advancing age) accounts for 14% to 22% of AFib cases.

Health Effects from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

Atrial fibrillation is dangerous. It is a risk factor for:

  • Stroke — 4 to 5 times higher risk compared with people without AFib. Strokes caused by AFib complications tend to be more severe than strokes with other underlying causes.
  • Heart failure AFib decreases coronary blood flow.
  • Cognitive decline and dementia — One gallon of blood goes through your brain every four minutes. If blood flow is impaired such as from AFib, brain function suffers. Persistent AFib decreases blood flow to the brain.
  • Death
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One gallon of blood goes through the brain every 4 minutes.

AFib Symptoms

Some people don’t have any symptoms, but many experience one or more of the following:

    • Irregular heart beat (feels like your heart is skipping beats)
    • Heart palpitations (racing, fluttering, or pounding)
    • Lightheadedness
    • Extreme fatigue / discomfort
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pain / sweating (mimicking a heart attack)

The Chocolate Study   

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