Up Close and Personal
Today's snack: Let's scrub the insides of those arteries with some
crunchy veggies. Go for a colorful mixture of broccoli flowerets, celery
sticks, carrot sticks, red pepper slices, and a slice or two of jicama.
Section of flexible, clear, plastic tubing
Cup or glass
Access to running water
little bit of "sticky" food like butter and shortening is OK in anybody's diet.
But ohhhhhhh, if you eat too much in everything from pancakes to cookies to
breads and crackers, you could wind up with a sticky substance called
"cholesterol" left on the inside of your veins and arteries.
That build-up makes it
harder for your heart to pump blood through those veins and arteries, and
eventually, you could develop a very deadly disease: heart disease.
So it's a lot better to
watch your food intake carefully, and try to minimize foods that have sticky
shortening and lots of butter or cream. Instead, crunchy fresh fruits and
vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and many other delicious foods
are better for your heart health and keeping your circulation system clean and
Let's take a close-up look
at the process of cholesterol sticking to the inside of our blood vessels.
First, put your finger over the bottom of your tubing, fill your tubing with
water, and then take your finger away so that the water can fall right into the
cup. See how fast it ran in there? OK, now pour that water out. Take a Q-tip
and deposit shortening inside your length of tubing. Push the shortening in
there from both ends. Now plug one end again with your finger, and fill it with
water. It won't take as much now, will it? Take your finger away and let the
water run into your cup. It doesn't come out as fast, does it? It gets hung up
inside the tubing because of that sticky shortening.
Of course, cholesterol
stuck to the inside of your blood vessels isn't quite as thick as the
shortening in this experiment, but you can get the general idea.
Now hold the tubing under
running water for a few seconds and see how much of the shortening cleaned out
because of the water pressure. Not much, eh?
It's really, really hard
to get rid of cholesterol once it's there. You can't just clean it out!
But take your pipe cleaner
and rub away as much of the shortening as you can. Deposit extra shortening on
a paper towel, and work on your tubing some more. Does it ever get as
crystal-clear as when you started? No. That's why it's such a good idea to
AVOID high-cholesterol foods BEFORE you get that sticky buildup on your blood
Blood vessels that grow
too narrow or have too much obstruction may require a medical procedure known
as "angioplasty" to keep the blood flowing through the vessel well. But you can
do a lot to avoid that trouble by eating the right kinds of foods, and pass up
a lot of the sweet and sticky foods, BEFORE you get your heart health into a .
. . STICKY situation.