Damaged LDL Cholesterol Sets the Stage for Heart Disease

Since the days of Ancel Keys, the man who first introduced the theory that a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet causes heart disease, many individuals have been concerned about their cholesterol levels. While the more LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol running around in the bloodstream, the higher the potential for heart attack and coronary artery disease, the problem of plaque build-up and the resulting inflammation is more complex.

Heart Disease Begins When LDL Cholesterol Invades Damaged Arteries

Heart disease begins with repeated injury to arterial walls. This injury allows small, dense LDL cholesterol to make its way into the inner lining of the arteries, setting the stage for heart disease. Without injury to the arteries, plaque cannot form, since its presence is an attempt to heal the body of the damage. Arterial injury is thought to occur in a variety of ways:

  • high blood pressure
  • tobacco smoke
  • diabetes
  • inflammatory stresses involving the immune system
  • a virus or bacterial infection
  • chemical abnormalities in the blood

The more LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood, the greater the chance that small, dense LDL particles will get trapped in the arterial lining once it’s been injured. While high circulating insulin and the resulting insulin resistance are linked to high cholesterol synthesis and decreased cholesterol absorption, the path that actually leads to heart disease requires an immune system response. As long as the LDL particles are not chemically altered or damaged, the body won’t consider them a threat.

Coronary Artery Disease Risks: How LDL Particles Get Damaged

There are two ways that LDL particles become chemically altered or damaged. One way is through oxidation by free radicals, and the other is by being irrevocably bound to sugar in a process called glycolation. Both processes result in damaged LDL cholesterol and are, therefore, risk factors for coronary artery disease. Damaged LDL particles cause the immune system to begin an attack against them.

White blood cells called macrophages attach themselves to the artery wall and burrow into the lining. Their job is to eat and digest the damaged LDL particles. During this process, the white blood cells transform into foam cells, and begin collecting cholesterol, fatty material, and cell debris as a way to plug up the damage.

Although the plug makes the blood vessel lining bulge slightly into the artery, it is not large enough yet to restrict blood flow. However, once the first stage of plaque build up begins and the mass firmly attaches itself, smooth muscle cells from deeper within the artery lining migrate upwards.

Insulin Resistance Speeds Plaque Build Up

If an individual is insulin-resistant, high fasting insulin levels cause these muscle cells to migrate rapidly. Once at the area of plaque build up, with the help of insulin’s ability to stimulate increased synthesis of collagen and other connective tissue, the muscle cells grow or merge with the macrophages.

When enough foam cells accumulate, they form patchy deposits large enough to restrict blood flow. If plaque build-up continues, it can attract calcium crystals which attach themselves to the plaque mass resulting in hard, brittle arteries. Calcium is the last stage in the process of heart disease; after which the plaque can crack, ulcerate, and release debris into the bloodstream, further narrowing the passageway.

Reduce Insulin Levels to Reverse Heart Disease

Reversing the damage before plaque reaches the stage of calcification is possible, but only if insulin levels are reduced; artery recovery is not possible in the presence of hyperinsulinemia. This is because elevated insulin levels encourage glycolation and excess LDL cholesterol formation, speed up the migration of smooth muscle cells from the artery interior, and increase synthesis of collagen and connective tissue.

Heart disease is when plaque builds up in an artery leading to the heart. However, any artery can be injured, laying the initial groundwork for damaged LDL particles to invade and begin the process of coronary artery disease. To reverse the process of plaque build up and thereby regain cardiovascular health, a diet that lowers basal insulin levels needs to be considered and implemented.

Eating Fruits and Vegetables at Home: Tips for Enjoying More Vegetables and Fruits When Home

A balanced eating plan should include fruits and vegetables. They can be added to breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinners. Individuals may choose to eat more fruits and vegetables and less unhealthy fats and sugars.

Fruits and vegetables may be enjoyed by anyone ,including dieters. They have fiber, vitamins and minerals and most provide less calories than other foods.

Individuals can speak with a dietician to help develop a healthy eating plan based on age, gender and current health status. According to the Center for Disease Control, a slightly inactive woman between the ages of 19 to 30 should eat 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily.

Breakfast Dishes with Fruits and Vegetables at Home

An healthy meal plan should begin with a well-balanced breakfast. Some breakfast options with fruit and vegetables can include:

  • Prepare an egg omelet with 1/4 cup of dices tomatoes and red peppers.
  • Add sliced apples or dried raisins to bowl of plain hot oatmeal.
  • Mix fruit in a 4-ounce cup of plain yogurt such as dried cherries or cranberries..

Snacks with Fruits and Vegetables at Home

Some individuals at home snack once daily ,while other individuals snack all day. Some healthy fruits and vegetables for snacking includes:

  • Select a supermarket fruit platter for daily snacks.
  • Eat from a raw vegetable platter such as carrots.
  • Keep home-made fruit bars in the freezer such as strawberries, peaches and kiwi.

Lunch Dishes with Fruits and Vegetables at Home

Lunch may come from leftovers or a quick meal prepared at home. Some good choices for lunch dishes can include:

  • Prepare a club sandwich with sliced cucumbers or bell peppers.
  • Chop grated zucchini, kale or bell peppers to home-made pasta sauces.
  • Enjoy a medium-sized turkey salad with diced apple chunks or dried raisins.

Dinner Dishes with Fruits and Vegetables at Home

Dinner may be consider family time or a quiet time of the day. Individuals may prefer light meals to wind down the busy day. Choices for dinner time fruits and vegetables can include:

  • Place sliced citrus fruit on broiled fish for extra flavor.
  • Eat vegetarian meals once per week to replace a meat and potato meal.
  • Enjoy two vegetables with dinner.

Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed at home without boredom. For instance, one should purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables ,including strawberries, bananas, raisins, bell peppers, corn and cucumbers.

Experimenting with different fruits and vegetables may lead to better eating habits and a better lifestyle.

Niacin Lowers Cholesterol in Heart Patients: Raise HDL and Decrease LDL Naturally with a Form of Vitamin B3

Niacin has long been the medication of choice used by doctors to help patients lower high bad cholesterol and now research proves it is the right choice over using the prescription medication Zetia. Used in association with a cholesterol-lowering statin medication, niacin not only helps to lower bad cholesterol, but also raises HDL (good) cholesterol by up to 30% as well as lowering triglyceride levels which can also contribute to heart disease.

What is Niacin?

According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, niacin (nicotinic acid) is a form of vitamin B3 and is an essential nutrient for the body. Niacin is used by the body to turn carbohydrates into energy and is also important for the nervous system, eyes, hair, skin and digestive system. Niacin is also found in many foods such as lean meats, dairy products, fish, poultry, eggs, enriched breads and cereals and nuts.

Niacin is used for the treatment of many disorders, but the treatment of high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are the two treatments that have been proven by research that niacin works effectively for.

How Niacin Treats Cholesterol

Niacin lowers bad cholesterol in the blood stream while aiding to boost the amount of good cholesterol at the same time. If left to build up, bad cholesterol forms plaque and clogs arteries which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Good cholesterol, however, sweeps away bad cholesterol and sends it to the liver to be disposed of. Boosting good cholesterol actually helps to stop the formation of plaque and keeps arteries free for blood to flow properly.

Niacin also helps to reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood stream. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood stream from a person eating more calories than are used. High triglyceride levels in the body can lead to atherosclerosis. By lowering the levels of triglycerides with niacin, the risk of heart attack or stroke is also lowered.

Who Needs Niacin Supplements?

Only people who have been diagnosed with high bad cholesterol or have shown a deficiency in niacin should take niacin supplements or a prescription niacin medication, and only under the supervision of a doctor. Generally, niacin is used as a second medication along with a prescription statin medication for people who are unable to lower their bad cholesterol with only one medication. Prescription strength niacin comes in a time-released capsule which helps to reduce side-effects of high doses of niacin. Niacin found in over-the-counter vitamins and supplements should not be taken in high does as it can cause side effects. Side effects of too much niacin are:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • upset stomach
  • liver damage
  • increased blood sugar
  • temporary flushing of the skin

People who are not diagnosed with high bad cholesterol should not take niacin supplements as they generally derive enough niacin from the foods they eat.

Niacin is generally less expensive than the leading prescription medication and is more effective in treating patients with cholesterol issues. Although doctors have known this for years, this new research helps to solidify the value of niacin for the treatment of cholesterol.

Sarina Jain’s The Beginings of a Healthy Addiction

Sarina Jain’s, “Bhangra Jam Work-Out”, is often credited with being the first video or DVD to present the ancient Punjabi dance of Bhangra as an exercise workout to the western world. It was released by NetGuru in 2002 and is a slick professional production. Many other’s have followed, but this one will always be my favorite.
Bhangra dancing can burn up to 500 calories an hour. It’s fun dancing to the upbeat Bhangra music. As Sarina Jain promises, you will be sweating by the end of the workout, and you still won’t want to stop. This DVD can be the beginning of an addiction.

The DVD consists of a warm up, an exercise routine, a cool down, and a traditional Bhangra Jam. Extra’s include a very nice section were Jain goes through all the moves slowly, step by step. This extra should probably be watched before anything else, as it makes the work out much easier.

The warm up consists of a series of stretches and mostly slow moves that will get your heart and body going going. Jain introduces exercises and makes sure to tell you to drink plenty of water. Trust her, you are going to need it !

She also points out that everyone has their own style, there are enough dancers behind her that you should be able to find someone to watch that you are comfortable with. The background class comes in many colors, and shapes and before the end some of them manage to look as tired as you probably feel, but they do look like they are having fun !

In the main exercise portion of the DVD Jain shows you the moves and promises you won’t get lost. She starts out slow and simple and calls out the moves, then moves them up to tempo. Typically repeating them four times each. This is an extremely tiring workout and unless you are already used to doing aerobics, you may not make it all the way to the end, without at least one brief pause. The good thing about Bhangra is that it is often easier to keep going then to stop. If you start feeling like momentum is the only thing carrying you through, you are most likely right !

Bhangra is high impact aerobic’s. After only a few, “Bhangra Sweeps”, I found my knees aching. Luckily, Jain gives low impact versions of some of the moves. This can be a real life saver !

The Bhangra jam portion is a lot of fun. It’s a typical Bhangra jam, where people take turns doing their own thing for the most part. One of the most enjoyable parts of Bhangra, is the ability to “mix it up”. This means with a good Bhangra CD or the Bhangra Jam section playing, you can Bhangra away, without thinking about routines and still burn up to 500 calories an hour ! Don’t be surprised at all, if you discover a sudden Bhangra music addiction after buying this DVD, my family has been known to pop it in the DVD player just to hear the music !

Get the DVD here: https://www.masalabhangraworkout.com/