KRON 4 | Can Just One Fatty Meal Be All That Bad?

You vowed to eat a heart-healthy diet and have been pretty successful, but every once in a while you can’t resist splurging on a big fat juicy cheeseburger and a thick, creamy milk shake. So is that really all that bad? Find out if an occasional surge of fat in your diet is okay.

The ‘Shake and Cake’ Study

The Heart Research Institute in Australia performed the following “carrot cake and milkshake” test. This well-known research was published in the American College of Cardiology. The subjects were normal weight men and women, age 18 to 40, with no cardiovascular risk factors or established heart disease.

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Researchers compared the effects from eating polyunsaturated (safflower oil) and saturated fat (coconut oil).

Each participant consumed fat in the form of a slice of carrot cake and a milkshake.  They had to eat one gram of fat per kilogram of body weight (i.e., one gram of fat for every 2.2 pounds).

For example, a 200-lb person (91 kg) had to eat 91 grams of fat or the equivalent of eating all of the following at one meal:

  • Double 1/4 pounder with cheese (45 g total fat) = 700 cal.
  • Large order of French fries (24 total fat) = 510 cal.
  • Large vanilla milkshake (22 g total fat) = 800 cal.
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Subjects in the study ate as much fat equivalent to a McDonald’s meal.

safflower oilDAY 1: The subjects ate the carrot cake and milkshake that were made with SAFFLOWER OIL which is predominantly polyunsaturated fat. Then 3 hours and 6 hours after they ate, the scientists measured their blood flow (endothelial function) and assessed how well their HDL (“good cholesterol”) was protecting their arteries from inflammation.

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Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat and solid at room temperature.

DAY 2 (one month later): The subjects returned and ate another carrot cake and milkshake meal that contained the same amount of calories and fat except the type of fat used was different. Instead of polyunsaturated fat, the cake and shake contained COCONUT OIL which is 90% saturated fat. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.

The Role of HDL (“Good Cholesterol”)

HDL cholesterol is “supposed” to be anti-inflammatory, that is, they suppress inflammatory molecules from multiplying. When arteries become inflamed:

  • Substances adhere to the artery wall.
  • Arterial plaques can rupture. A blood clot forms around the rupture blocking the artery, resulting in a possible heart attack.

The Results: Sludge in Your Arteries After Eating Just ONE Fatty Meal   

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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 of 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).

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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   

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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.

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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.

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Varicose veins afflict 60% of men.
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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.

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Healthy valves keep the blood running one-way (back up to the heart).
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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      

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KRON 4 | Can You Lengthen Your Life with a Shorter Workout?

Looking for a way to lower your risk of dying from heart disease, but you’re short on time? Here’s a tip to living longer while working out less.

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Common Exercise Barrier

One of the biggest barriers to exercise is time. People often nix working out because they decide they don’t have an hour (or even a half hour) to spare. If that sounds like you, here’s the good news…

Researchers studied 55,000 adults aged 18 to 100 for over 15 years. They studied the following:

  • Overall health
  • Whether they ran
  • How long they lived

Clinical Examination

Physicians recorded and analyzed the following:

  • Resting blood pressure
  • Blood glucose
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness (assessed using a maximal treadmill stress test)
  • Health behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption, leisure-time physical activity)
  • Physician-diagnosed medical conditions
  • Parental history of cardiovascular disease

The study excluded analyses from individuals who reported participating in other activities besides running (e.g, cycling, swimming, walking, basketball, racquet sports, aerobic dance, and other sports-related activities).

The Results (Compared with Non-Runners):

  • Runners had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes .
  • Runners had a 45% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Runners had a 50% lower risk of sudden cardiac death.

Cardiorespiratory fitness is a strong predictor of morbidity and mortality. (Morbidity is the condition of being unhealthy, ill, or diseased. Morbidity is the condition of being dead.) Runners had approximately 30% higher cardiorespiratory fitness than non-runners.

If You’re “Unhealthy”, Can You Still Benefit from Running?   

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KRON 4 | Exercise Heart Rates Can Indicate Health and Predict Death

You know you need to work out, but wonder how hard you need to exercise and how you can tell if you’re actually becoming more fit. The key is in understanding your different heart rates and what those numbers actually mean.

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1. Heart Rate is the average number of times your heart beats per minute. Your heart ‘beats’ when it contracts and pumps blood through your body.

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2. Resting Heart Rates indicates your basic overall heart health. The more conditioned you are, the less effort it takes to pump blood through your body and will be reflected in a lower resting heart rate. 

To get a resting exercise heart rate, take your pulse after being still for five or more minutes, preferably in the same position you’ll be in during exercise. That is, if you’re going to walk, then stand quietly for five minutes and then note your heart rate.

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3. Warm-Up Heart Rate is a heart rate that should be HALFWAY between your resting heart rate and target heart rate. By monitoring your warm-up heart rate, you can assess whether you’ve transitioned properly from rest to exercise with respect to:

    • Increased blood flow
    • Body temperature
    • Oxygen transport
    • Metabolism

This will reduce the onset of lack of oxygen (ischemia), chest pain (angina), irregular heart beats (arrhythmias), and other dysfunctions during the conditioning exercise phase.

4. Maximum Heart Rate is the highest number of times your heart contracts in one minute. It can be determined accurately via a graded exercise test, i.e., a stress test on a treadmill, or can be predicted by your age.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Exercise Heart Rates Can Indicate Health and Predict Death”