According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans havesomething 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 syndromeis 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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
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
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:
Arsenic: Drinking water contaminated with arsenic attributed to most of the cancer risk, about 47% of estimated cancer cases.
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.
Click 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…
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.