KRON 4 | How Exercise and Turmeric Affect Your Arteries

Research shows if you don’t take care of the “inner lining” of your blood vessels, you may be setting yourself up for heart disease or a stroke. Here are some important tips to improve how long and how well your arteries function.  

The Relevance of “Endothelial Dysfunction” 

  • The inner lining of your blood vessels is called the “endothelium”. Endothelial function declines with age and is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. 
  • When the lining fails to function optimally, it’s called “endothelial dysfunction” or ED. Think of a healthy endothelium as being smooth (think Teflon®) where nothing sticks to it.
  • ED refers to a spectrum of damaging changes that take place in the endothelium, such as the smooth inner lining becomes inflamed and “rough” (think sandpaper) from the constant assaults from substances like sodium, high blood sugar, and cortisol (stress hormone).
  • When the endothelium becomes rough, arterial plaque* sticks to the artery wall (think spackling paste or putty).

*Plaque is fatty, waxy substance made up of materials, such as fat, cholesterol, calcium, waste products from cells, and fibrin (a clotting agent).

KRON4_HealthyArteries3
An unhealthy arterial lining can become “rough” like sandpaper and plaque sticks to it.

When Plaque Builds Up and Ruptures

  • As more plaque deposits build up, your artery narrows and reduces blood flow. This is known as “hardening of the arteries” or atherosclerosis. 
  • Plaque not only accumulates in the arteries, it can also rupture and create a blood clot at the ruptured area. Your body sees this rupture as an “injury” and rushes to repair it with platelets (or “thrombocytes”) to rapidly cover up the rupture and form a plug, or clot.
  • Platelets are very large colorless blood cells (think super glue). They help wounds heal and form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding by clumping and forming plugs in injured blood vessels.

When Plaque Breaks Away

  • Ruptured plaque can also break away and travel through the blood to other areas in your body and cause a blood clot.
  • If the clot is big enough, it can block the flow of blood to arteries in various organs — e.g., lungs (pulmonary embolism), heart (heart attack), or brain (stroke).

How to Reverse Arterial Aging   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | How Exercise and Turmeric Affect Your Arteries”

KRON 4 | How to Make Your Veins Last Longer

Nearly sixty percent of men suffer from varicose veins, so it’s not a common problem for just women and grandmas. Young men are afflicted as well. Here’s how to keep your veins healthy, strong, and functional.

KRON4_Healthy Veins5

What are Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins, most commonly appearing in the legs and feet, and they are visible under the surface of the skin. These ballooned veins develop a bluish/brown appearance, but they’re not just a cosmetic concern.

Varicose Veins_by Jace_118821894_6048317d18_n
Varicose veins afflict 60% of men.
KRON4_Healthy Veins10
Varicose veins are swollen and gnarled.

The Cause — It’s All About the Valves!

They occur when the valves in your veins do not work properly. Your blood is supposed to flow in ONE direction thanks to many one-way valves in your veins. Your veins have to return blood to your heart — that is, your blood has to flow “upstream”. Once it reaches the heart, it is routed to your lungs to reoxygenate.

Faulty valves cause blood to flow back into the vein and then enlarge and swell. Due to excess pressure on the valves, they get stretched and less elastic (flexible). Depending on the vein, you have 1-13 valves per vein.

KRON4_Healthy Veins1
Healthy valves keep the blood running one-way (back up to the heart).
VaricoseVein1_AdobeStock_116634392
Valves weaken and blood no longer flows in one direction.

Dangers!   

These ballooned, gnarled veins are not just a cosmetic concern. These weak bulging vessels can rupture and bleed as well as cause swelling and throbbing (mild to moderate pain) which can cut into your daily activities. Worse yet, they can cause dangerous blood clots and skin ulcers (sores).

Legs of old woman with varicose veins.

Symptoms

  • Aching legs 
  • Legs feel heavy (especially after exercise or at night)
  • Swollen ankles
  • Shiny skin discoloration near the varicose veins
  • Red, dry, itchy skin
  • Leg cramps when suddenly standing up

Risk Factors      

Continue reading “KRON 4 | How to Make Your Veins Last Longer”

KRON 4 | 10 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick

If you pledged to get healthier this year with yet another New Year’s resolution (or maybe even two or three resolutions), know that typically 80% of them fail by February. If you want to increase your odds of success this year though, here are some tricks to help make your new habits stick!

1. Commit to Thirty Days

Monatsende 30

Consider the first 30 days as the foundation for creating a new habit. It takes time to make a new behavior stick, but you’ll increase the chances of achieving your new pledge if you commit to making it through these 30 days.

To get inspired, watch this lighthearted TED talk, “Try Something New for 30 Days” as a new way to think about setting and achieving goals.

2. Do It Daily

Whatever your goal — whether it’s to go to the gym or eat three fruits a day — then do it DAILY for the first 30 days. It’s easier to nail down the habit if you do it everyday versus once every few days. The goal is consistency.

NOTE: If you pledged to go to the gym, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work out vigorously every day. Just get yourself to the gym for 30 consecutive days — even if it means walking in and taking just a few spins on the bike. The key is to get in the habit of getting up and going.

3. Mingle with Role Models 

Make a point of seeking out people whose habits you want to imitate because when it comes to becoming fatter, obesity spreads through social relationshipsA 32-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that you’re more likely to become obese if you spend time with close friends that are obese. That is, according to researchers, obesity can literally spread from person to person, much like a virus.

Therefore, if your close friend is obese, eats junk food, and doesn’t exercise, then it will be more difficult (but not impossible) to stick with your pledge to create new healthy habits. Although you cannot change your friend’s habits, YOU can still change yours. Seek out and spend time with your role models.

4. Negate Negatives with “But”

But“But” is a very powerful word. When you use it, it negates everything you said preceding the word “but” in that sentence. (Did anyone ever say to you, “Say, I love your new hair color, but….” Stop the negative self-talk. It can lead to overeating to relieve those negative emotions.

When you catch yourself saying, “I can never stick with my New Year’s resolutions,” follow it with, “but I have the skills to help me this time.” Use “but” to stop negativity in its tracks.

5. Own It

Resolutions fail because they’re created based on what someone else (such as your spouse, doctor, or parent) is telling you to change. Be sure your New Year’s resolution is something YOU want to achieve. That is, be sure your resolution is NOT based on what you “should” do.

A part of owning your goal is watching your language. The words “should”, “need to”, and “have to” are negative words, and you surrender control when you say them. Negative thinking and negative self-talk lead to negative emotions, such as feelings of defeat and depression, and thus, emotional eating.

The words “should”, “need to”, and “have to” imply something is wrong with you. That is, something is ‘broken’ and needs to be fixed. For example, notice the difference in how you feel when you say, “I have to exercise” or “I need to lose weight” versus, “I want to exercise because I love walking vacations” or “I choose to lose weight, so I won’t have knee pain” which puts the control, motivation, and power to change back on you.

Healthy Living

6. Relish the Reward   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | 10 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick”

KRON 4 | Last-Minute Restorative Gifts for $25 and Less

Don’t stress if you still have gifts to buy for Christmas! I shared some of my top last-minute restorative gifts yesterday with Marty Gonzalez, KRON 4 Morning News weekend anchor. They’ll help ease active minds, increase well-being, and relax tight muscles  — all for $25 or less. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to one (or all seven) of these super health solutions. 😀

KRON4_HealthyGifts21

1. Gaiam Restore™ Multi-Point Massager – $10

Your muscles adapt to the demands you place on it. If they’re chronically tight and you don’t do anything to change that, your body will tend to stay that way. Eventually, your posture changes (i.e., your head jets forward, your shoulders hunch, your abdomen sinks in, and your legs tighten up).

KRON4_HealthyGifts14
Massage should be a routine part of your self-care.

KRON4_HealthyGifts19

This massager targets trigger points in small muscles with deep pressure depending on how much you “dig” in. If you prefer a more relaxing session, just lighten up on the amount of pressure you apply.

KRON4_HealthyGifts15

The Multi-point Massager has six outer prongs and one longer center prong. This allows you to easily “tilt” it and hit multiple pressure points at the same time. Especially good for massaging the tight upper chest muscles if you have poor posture (rounded shoulders). A great massager for partners!

Found this at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section), but Target and most sports/fitness stores carry products from Gaiam (pronounced “Guy-um”).

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you carry your stress in your shoulders, turn the massager upside down and place the KNOB of the massager into the “knot” at the top of your shoulder, hold it there while you add pressure, then roll your shoulders backward in small continuous circular motions while you work out the knot.

2. Whole Foods™ Aromatherapy Travel Fan Diffuser – $14

This compact (2 in x 4 in) diffuser is perfect when you want the benefits of aromatherapy while you’re on the go. No water or heat needed to operate. It also has a continuous soft color changing light. It’s truly portable — no electricity needed. Includes five 1″ round absorbing pads which are refillable when needed. Available at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section).

KRON4_HealthyGifts11
Use it at your computer, in the car, airport, hotel room, wherever and whenever you need to restore.
KRON4_HealthyGifts12
Powered by a USB cable or 3 AAA batteries.
KRON4_HealthyGifts13
Just add a few drops of essential oils on the absorbing pad, then turn it on. 

3. Everyone Essential Oils Blend (Relax) – $14 

Pair these pure essential oils with the diffuser. No synthetic fragrances. This soothing aromatherapy blend contains essentials oils that can help you relax: Lavender, Vetiver, Lavandin, Ylang Ylang, Orange, and Frankincense. Includes a dropper inside. Available at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section).

4. Gaiam Restore™ Pinpoint Back Massager – $25

I LOVE this back massager!! Yes, love it! I’ve tried different brands and varieties (including the larger S-shape style) of this type of back massager, and this one is a winner. The material is strong, yet it still has some flex. (The flexibility factor was problematic with some I tried — either too much or not enough.) What I love most is its size. The “hook” can fit in a carryon, laptop bag, even a backpack. That means, when you start to tense up at the office, on a plane, train, BART, wherever, you can relieve pain in your neck, shoulders and back on the spot before it becomes unbearable.

KRON4_HealthyGifts9

Found this at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section), but Target and most sports/fitness stores carry Gaiam products.

KRON4_HealthyGifts22
Includes a downloadable exercise guide.

KRON4_HealthyGifts10 Continue reading “KRON 4 | Last-Minute Restorative Gifts for $25 and Less”

KRON 4 | The ABC’s of Sunscreens

Studies show that those who regularly used sunscreens were more likely to burn than those who did not. I explain why and what to do about it with KRON 4 Morning News Anchor, Marty Gonzalez.

KRON 4_ABCs Sunscreen4

Why Sunscreen Users Burn

Possible reasons for this finding* are that sunscreen users:

    1. May have a false sense of security.
    2. Justify staying outdoors loner.
    3. Don’t follow label directions properly.

*National Health Interview Survey of 31,000 Americans recently published in JAMA Dermatology.

Commonly Missed Spots

The most commonly overlooked areas when it comes to applying sunscreen are the most vulnerable to skin cancer. These body parts are exposed to the sun almost daily and not covered up during the colder months.

KRON 4_ABCs Sunscreen5
The scalp, ears, back of neck, hands, lips, & arms are exposed to aging UVA rays all year around.
  • Scalp: Use an oil-free sunscreen (least greasy option for hair) if you’re bald, shave your head, and on your part.
  • Ears: Cancer occurs frequently on the ears.
  • Eyelids: Cancers often develop on the skin around the eyes. Difficult to protect with sunscreen if you don’t want lotion in your eyes. Wear wrap-around sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses.
  • Lips: One of the highest risk areas for squamous cell cancer. When they develop on the lips, there is the highest chance of spreading and 35% chance of recurrence. RISK OF DEATH could be as high as 15%.
  • Hands: If you wash your hands after applying sunscreen, the backs of your hands end up with zero sun protection. Must reapply sunscreen onto backs of your hands after washing them (that includes after using the restroom too). Remember… when driving, the backs of your hands, arms, and face are highly exposed to UVA aging rays. Glass filters out only one kind of radiation — UVB rays.
Driving
Wear sunscreen when driving. UVA rays, which penetrate deeper, can still get through glass.
  • Back of the neck:  This is a high-risk zone for basal and squamous cell cancer. Even if your have long hair, it needs sunscreen.
  •  Back: According to the American Cancer Society, men are particularly at high risk of developing deadly melanoma on their backs. The back is a difficult area to apply sunscreen and often leads to severe sunburns.

sunburn on back

ALERT! If you’ve had five or more blistering sunburns, your risk of melanoma is increased by 80% and your risk of non-melanoma skin cancer is increased by 68%.

  • Feet: If wearing sandals or have bare feet, your skin can burn easily. Apply sunscreen to tops of the feet.

Date and Shake Your Sunscreen

  • Mark the date that you opened the sunscreen with a waterproof marker if there is no expiration date. Sunscreens are meant to maintain their original potency for 3 years.
  • Shake it (even if the directions don’t say to) to distribute the active ingredients throughout the product.

Use Enough Sunscreen   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | The ABC’s of Sunscreens”