Your Road to Wellness

Cardiovascular disease & waist-hip ratio

Decreasing Inflammation is 1 Important Way to Increase Your Life Expectancy

Posted by on 11:00 pm Anti-Aging, Antioxidents, Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular disease & waist-hip ratio, General Health | 0 comments

The process of atherosclerosis is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and involves deposits of fat and especially LDL cholesterol into the blood vessel wall (Salisbury D, Bronas U, 2014).

These researchers state that when the LDL cholesterol gets deposited into the vascular wall it can oxidize and cause injury creating inflammation which drives the atherosclerotic process.

Higher levels of chronic low-grade inflammation result in a stronger inflammatory response.

 

Low-grade inflammation which you may not be aware of needs to be kept low, as an important way to increase your life expectancy.

To decrease low-grade inflammation, let’s look at what can contribute to it.

Highly processed, nutrient depleted food will cause a spike in the blood glucose and fat shortly after it is eaten.

This results in increased free radicals and inflammation together with other factors which increase the risk for cardiovascular disease (O’Keefe JH, et.al., 2008).

The increase in blood glucose, free radicals and inflammation will last for several hours. That’s important to keep in mind if you eat these types of meals several times a day, it results in elevated levels of these substances throughout the day.

 

The best solution would be to eat minimally processed, high fiber, plant-based food. Vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and a few berries are excellent choices.

 

Just adding some nuts after a meal may provide good benefits. 

When 60 g of raw almonds were added to a meal consisting of white bread, the almonds reduced the increase in blood sugar and insulin (Jenkins DJ, et.al., 2006).

It was the antioxidants the almonds contained that was responsible for the benefits.


References:

Salisbury, D., & Bronas, U. (2014). Inflammation and immune system contribution to the etiology of atherosclerosis: mechanisms and methods of assessment. Nursing Research63(5), 375-385.

Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Josse, A. R., Salvatore, S., Brighenti, F., Augustin, L. S., … & Rao, A. V. (2006). Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals. The Journal of nutrition136(12), 2987-2992.

O’Keefe, J. H., Gheewala, N. M., & O’Keefe, J. O. (2008). Dietary strategies for improving post-prandial glucose, lipids, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. Journal of the American College of Cardiology51(3), 249-255.

 

Reasons we get deposits in the arteries, and how to reverse it.

Posted by on 8:00 pm Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular disease & waist-hip ratio, Cholesterol, HDL Level, Heart disease, Inflammation, Waist circumference | 0 comments

 


Several factors contribute to atherosclerosis (deposits in the arteries).

Initially the endothelium which is the inner lining of the blood vessel wall is injured. This can be caused by substances in cigaret smoke, damage from elevated glucose levels(Wang J, et al. 2014), chronic inflammation(Montecucco F, Mach F, 2008), oxidized LDL cholesterol(Trpkovic A, et al. 2014), elevated blood pressure(Hollander W,1976) and oxidative stress(Alexander RW,1995).

More and more research is now documenting chronic low grade inflammation as a major risk factor.

When the endothelium is injured inflammation is triggered and white blood cells are attracted to the area together with platelets to repair the damage. Small LDL cholesterol particles which becomes oxidized together with clotting substances (fibrinogen) and other chemicals will bind together at the site and get buried in the vascular wall (endothelium). A fibrous cap is formed on top which can work for a while, even if it obstructs part of the artery, as long as this fibrous cap does not rupture. If it rupture, this highly inflammatory mix forms a clot, and if it is big enough, it may completely obstruct the blood flow and result in a heart attack.

How do you know if you are at risk for atherosclerosis (deposits in the arteries)?

You can have lab tests done and check your fasting blood glucose, Hemoglobin A1C, hs-CRP(an inflammatory marker), cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides. You can also check LDL and HDL particle size as well as LDL particle number, and also other things if you want to be really thorough. Checking for inflammation and how many LDL particles you have in your blood are emerging as some of the more important things you should check for.

There is however also a very easy way to get an idea about the thickness of the inner layers of the the carotid artery, the intima-media. That’s the artery going up to your brain.

You can measure your waist and divide that with your height. A waist to height ratio of more than 0.5 has been found to be significantly associated with an increase in carotid intima-media thickness(Ren C, et al. 2014). This was documented  in a fairly large study of 3381 participants were the carotid artery intima-media thickness was measured with high resolution ultrasound and correlating it with waist to height measurements.

Most of us have a certain amount of buildup in the arteries.

The good news is that you can do a lot to prevent atherosclerosis and even reverse it. Research has shown that by eating the right type of food, exercising and incorporating meditation, it has been possible to reverse atherosclerosis(OrnishD, et al. 1990).

I will explain more how food can reverse atherosclerosis in the next article, but if you want to get started right away, here is a link to a program which will explain and show you how to eat by incorporating the information in the studies producing the best results.

 

 

Alexander RW1. Theodore Cooper Memorial Lecture. Hypertension and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress and the mediation of arterial inflammatory response: a new perspective. Hypertension. 1995 Feb;25(2):155-61
Hollander W. Role of hypertension in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol. 1976 Nov 23;38(6):786-800.
Montecucco F1, Mach F. New evidences for C-reactive protein (CRP) deposits in the arterial intima as a cardiovascular risk factor. Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(2):341-9.
Ornish D1, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Armstrong WT, Ports TA, McLanahan SM, Kirkeeide RL, Brand RJ, Gould KL Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet. 1990 Jul 21;336(8708):129-33.
Ren C, Zhang J, Xu Y, Xu B, Sun W, Sun J, Wang T, Xu M, Lu J, Wang W, Bi Y, Chen Y. Association between carotid intima-media thickness and index of central fat distribution in middle-aged and elderly Chinese. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2014 Oct 30; 13:139. doi: 10.1186/s12933-014-0139-2.
Trpkovic A1, Resanovic I, Stanimirovic J, Radak D, Mousa SA, Cenic-Milosevic D, Jevremovic D, Isenovic ER. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein as a biomarker of cardiovascular diseases. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2014 Dec 24:1-16. [Epub ahead of print]
Wang J1, Wu J1, Zhang S2, Zhang L3, Wang C1, Gao X4, Zhou Y1, Wang A1, Wu S5, Zhao X6 Elevated fasting glucose as a potential predictor for asymptomatic cerebral artery stenosis: a cross-sectional study in Chinese adults. Atherosclerosis. 2014 Dec;237(2):661-5. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.10.083. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

More evidence that it matters where the calories are coming from.

Posted by on 12:42 pm Calories, Cardiovascular disease & waist-hip ratio, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Diet, Eating, Health, Heart disease | 0 comments

There are still so called experts who claim that it does not matter where the calories are coming from when it comes to losing and maintaining your weight. Several studies designed in different ways have documented that it does make a difference where the calories are coming from. When we lose weight the metabolic rate tends to slow down, making it more difficult to maintain the weight. Food that slows the metabolic rate the least would be the most beneficial way to eat for weight loss and weight maintenance.

The research reviewed here provides even more evidence that the kind of food we eat makes a difference when it comes to resting energy expenditure, total energy expenditure and inflammation (Ebbeling CB, et al. 2012).

In this study 3 different diets were compared and the participants were overweight and obese young adults. After the participants lost 10-15% of their weight, they were either put on a low-fat diet (60% of energy from carbohydrate, 20% from fat, 20% from protein; high glycemic load), low-glycemic index diet (40% from carbohydrate, 40% from fat, and 20% from protein; moderate glycemic load), and very low-carbohydrate diet (10% from carbohydrate, 60% from fat, and 30% from protein; low glycemic load) in random order, each for 4 weeks.

The results showed that the decrease in resting energy expenditure was greatest with the low fat diet, intermediate with the low glycemic index diet and the least with the very low carbohydrate diet.

There are two things which are important here; the low glycemic index diet was not all that low since it was moderate glycemic load. What a lot of people call low glycemic index is in reality moderate glycemic index. The other important point is that the results also showed that the low carbohydrate diet increased inflammation.

One thing you don’t want is increased inflammation, that contributes to chronic disease and pain, so the low carbohydrate diet is not a good choice. The low-fat, high glycemic load diet slowed the resting energy expenditure the most, so that is also not a good choice.

The best choice is a very low glycemic index diet based on carbohydrates without a huge amount of fat, but including good amounts of the healthy essential fats. That would decrease the resting energy expenditure the least and also decrease inflammation.

These are the type of recommendations you will find on Learn to Eat, providing you a program which can be downloaded directly to your computer.

 

 

Ebbeling CB, Swain JF, Feldman HA, Wong WW, Hachey DL, Garcia-Lago E, Ludwig DS. Effects of dietary composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. JAMA. 2012 Jun 27;307(24):2627-34.