KRON 4 | Don’t Avoid These If You Want to Lose Weight

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      

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Don’t Avoid These If You Want to Lose Weight”

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 | 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   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Chocolate for Your Heart”

KRON 4 | Foods that Sop Up Bad Cholesterol

Continued from Part 1… How Plaque Attacks Your Body and Brain

Read how plaque invades your blood vessels here.

Cholesterol
Think of soluble fiber as the “cholesterol sponge”.

Foods that Lower “Bad Cholesterol”

You can lower your numbers by adding more fiber to your diet, particularly, beta-glucan (pronounced “glue-can”).

Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber also known as “oat gum”. Think of soluble fiber as a “cholesterol sponge”. It mops up LDLs in your intestines and gets rid of them with other waste. This keeps excesses from accumulating in your blood vessels and making plaque.

Foods High in Beta-Glucan

Bob's Red Mill BarleyBeta-glucan is found in the cell walls of cereals. It’s the main component of soluble fiber in oats and barley. Beta-glucan is what gives your morning oatmeal it’s creamy, viscous texture.

  • Whole oats
  • Whole oat flour (1 1/4 cups of rolled oats will yield 1 cup of oat flour)
  • Rolled oats (oats are heated and rolled flat)
  • Steel-cut oats (oats are thinly sliced lengthwise)
  • Oatmeal (the inner part of the oat grout)
  • Oat bran (the outer husk of the oat grout; lighter and finer than wheat bran)
  • Barley*
  • Whole barley flour

*Pearl or pearled barley has been processed to remove some or all of the outer bran layer resulting in a quicker cooking time.

Oats
Eating oats/barley a day can lower “bad cholesterol” by 5 to 7%.

How Oat Bran Lowered LDL (“Bad Cholesterol”)

In one study, beta-glucan significantly reduced the total and LDL cholesterol levels of adults with elevated cholesterol levels without changing the HDL (“good cholesterol”). Subjects consumed 2.9 g beta-glucan TWICE a day for 4 weeks. This amount is equivalent to a daily dose of about 70 g of oat bran (almost 2/3 cup dry).

An analysis of other studies conducted over 13 years supported the intake found that eating 3 grams ONCE a day of oat beta-glucan can lower total cholesterol by 5% in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 7%, thus reducing major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Remember… atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) is a chronic disease which means it is persistent, long-lasting in its effects, and requires medical attention.

Bobs-Red-Mill-Oat-Bran-High-Fiber-Hot-Cereal-039978041432
Studies shows eating oats lowers “bad cholesterol”.

To get in at least 3 grams of oat beta-glucan a day, eat rolled oats, steel-cut oats, or oat bran in the following serving sizes:

  • Rolled oats, 3/4 cup dry OR 2/3 cup oat flour (7.5 g fiber)
  • Steel-cut oats*, 1/2 cup dry (8 g fiber)
  • Oat bran, 1/3 cup dry (6 g fiber)

*Steel cut oats contain more fiber than rolled oats.

Cooking with Oats

  • Oats are extremely versatile. You can use them to make breakfast cereals, breads, pancakes, pie crusts, nutrition bars, cookies, crackers, crumble toppings, and as a coating for fish.
  • They naturally thicken food. You can use these nutty-tasting oats to thicken soups and stews.
  • Use oat groats instead of rice in a pilaf.
  • chia-seed-smoothie_adobestock_77942716_croppedOat beta-glucan soluble fiber can also be added to beverages/liquids, such as smoothies, yogurt drinks, juice drinks), yogurt, soups, sauces, and dressings. Add some oats to your smoothies to make them more satisfying and nourishing. The fiber will help slow down digestion which can stabilize your blood sugar.

Apple c heart symbol_128x128Fit Tip: Eat at least 3 grams of oat beta-glucan per day. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, but you can lower your risk by including certain foods into your daily eating plan. Lifestyle and diet changes are the main ways to prevent or lower LDL numbers.

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xo

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KRON 4 | How Plaque Attacks Your Body and Brain

If you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease or you just want to keep your heart healthy, you’ve probably been told to “watch your cholesterol”. The type of cholesterol that puts you at risk for plaque-lined arteries is LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and diet plays an important role. How are you keeping your plumbing clog-free?

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What is Plaque?

Plaque is a fatty, waxy substance made up of materials, such as fat, cholesterol, calcium, waste products from cells, and fibrin (a clotting agent). When plaque clogs your arteries, it can partially or totally block blood flow through ANY of your arteries, such as your pelvis, legs, arms, or kidneys — not just your heart and brain.

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Courtesy of Blausen.com staff (2014)

Atherosclerosis can precipitate various conditions, including:

  • Coronary heart disease (plaque in arteries in or leading to the heart)
  • Angina (chest pain from reduced blood flow to the heart muscle)
  • Carotid artery disease and stroke (plaque in neck arteries supplying blood to the brain)
  • Peripheral artery disease, or PAD (plaque in arteries of the extremities, especially the legs); hardening of arteries from excess LDL cholesterol can cause numbness in your legs or feet.
  • Chronic kidney disease

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol itself isn’t bad. Your body needs cholesterol — it’s a fatty, waxy substance that: 

  • Makes hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone, testosterone)
  • Makes vitamin D
  • Makes digestive fluids
  • Builds healthy cells
  • Protects nerve cells
  • Enables organs (such as your brain) to function properly 

Your liver makes the cholesterol your body needs and some comes from the foods you eat. Cholesterol can’t dissolve in blood, so it’s enveloped by proteins which enable them to travel in your blood. 

Cholesterol
LDL or “bad cholesterol” is a microscopic blob with a cholesterol center.

What is LDL?

The cholesterol that makes up plaque and builds up on the walls of your blood vessels is LDL or “low-density lipoprotein”. Too much LDL circulating in your blood increases your risk of a heart attack and stroke, so it’s known as the “bad cholesterol”.

Basically, LDL is a ‘microscopic blob’ with a cholesterol center packaged inside of protein. These protein packages are called “lipoproteins”. But LDL’s don’t just carry cholesterol, they also carry triglycerides, fat-soluble vitamins, and antioxidants.

Why You Need LDL   

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