4MV #228 Discover the secret to healthy arteries: The β-carotene breakthrough! ✔ new research

⭑ Atherosclerosis is the enemy of longevity ✔ did you know it can be reversed?
⭑ I love carrots ✔ there are two foods which are far better for β-carotene
⭑ Your arteries and veins are stiffening ✔ the right exercise will reverse it
⭑ Artery health is specifically improved with this exercise ✔ it's rolling

All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦


Staying social.

They say staying social is associated with living longer.

I've never been one for social sports. However, I dropped in at the local Master's Athletics Club the other night and enjoyed seeing what they are up to. I'm going to sign up and compete next week.

There were 6 or so competitors over 80, which is inspiring. The club also has a fabulous way of determining the winner of each race. It's not the fastest person but the one closest to their estimated time, which you must write on every event's entry sheet. So everyone in a race is a potential winner regardless of age.

Carrots, carotene, and eye health are legendary. Researching how carotene can repair our arteries led me to check the best sources. It's not carrots - see item #2 below.

Atherosclerosis is one of the inevitable curses of aging. A just-released report showed that the damage can be reversed. This is good news - item #1.


01 Atherosclerosis can be reversed!

Atherosclerosis is when fatty deposits, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of your arteries, forming plaque. This narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow to vital organs and tissues, with dire consequences.

The consequences include an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, peripheral artery disease, and other cardiovascular complications. These complications, in turn, consistently rank as the number one cause of death in Western countries.

Good news. A new study found that vitamin A (made from β-carotene) can aid in resolving atherosclerosis. This adds to previous findings that β-carotene can lower cholesterol levels. So, dietary β-carotene has a double effect: (1) slowing down atherosclerosis by lowering cholesterol and (2) helping to "resolve atherosclerosis".

⇒ "Resolve atherosclerosis" means improving or reversing the condition of atherosclerosis, which involves reducing plaque buildup in the arteries and restoring normal artery function.

What this means for you: By upping your β-carotene-rich foods, all other things being equal, you stand a better chance of maintaining healthy arteries and lowering the risk of associated diseases such as strokes and heart attacks.

Right now, you no doubt have an image of a carrot in your mind. Perhaps surprisingly, carrots rank 3rd in terms of β-carotene bioavailability per 100 grams.

In the following item, I'll spell out how you can do much better than just carrots.

Related: Eating Nuts Helps Manage Your Weight - Research Proves It


02 The best 3 dietary sources of β-carotene

The richest sources of β-carotene (beta-carotene) are yellow, orange, and green leafy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, and winter squash. In general, the more intense the colour of the fruit or vegetable, the more beta-carotene it contains.

I've done the research, and it is clear that papaya has the highest relative bioavailability of beta-carotene per unit of mass compared to other fruits and vegetables, e.g. 3X higher than carrots and tomatoes.

Then come sweet potatoes and carrots.

⇒ Studies also report that significantly more beta-carotene is absorbed from papaya than from carrots and tomatoes.

Also of note is that the bioavailability of β-cryptoxanthin from papayas is notably higher than that of beta-carotene and lycopene. This is important because β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene complement the longevity benefits of beta-carotene. They, in particular, reduce metabolic inflammation, improve bone health and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

What does this mean for you? Introduce into your daily diet papaya, (orange-fleshed) sweet potatoes and carrots.

Here's a big tip. Cooking helps release more beta-carotene, thus increasing the bioavailability. The bioavailability of beta-carotene from cooked carrots is 50% higher than from eating them uncooked.

I prepare equal parts of carrots, sweet potato and papaya, boil the carrots and sweet potato (retain all the water) and add the papaya when the mixture cools.

Alter the consistency and seasonings to match your use case, e.g. for dinner, use less water and make it like mashed vegetables; use more water for a soup and add medicinal cinnamon; for an addition to a shake, add even more water or add coconut water when the mixture cools.

Pro tip: The skin of papaya contains significant phenolic compounds known for their antioxidant properties, which can protect your body from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.

In contrast to the flesh, which becomes nutritionally richer as it ripens, particularly in terms of carotenoids and vitamin C, the antioxidants in the skin tend to decrease with ripening.

I cut the skin from the papaya and add it to the carrots and sweet potato for boiling. Then, after adding the flesh of the papaya, I blend the mixture.

Let me know if you find creative ways to combine carrots, sweet potatoes and papaya.

Related: ​Holy Mackerel! Researchers Confirm Walnuts Help Your Muscles Stay Stronger Helping Live Longer​​​

@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life


03 Only exercise improves the health of your arteries and veins

We usually equate exercise to improvements in strength, aerobic capacity to keep moving longer without being out of breath, and heart health.

However, regular exercise also plays a very significant role in maintaining the elasticity and flexibility in our arteries and veins, in one sense, simply by exercising the muscles in the walls of our arterial system.

For example, increased vein wall elasticity and enhanced vein muscle pump efficiency contribute to improved venous return of blood to your heart. This helps in reducing the risk of thrombosis, stroke, and heart failure.

⇒ The one and only way to maintain arterial wall flexibility and muscular strength is through exercise.

What this means for you: Some exercises are more effective than others in improving arterial flexibility and health.

According to research studies, habitual moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) is best for improving arterial and venous health compared to high-intensity interval training and strength training.

Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (MICT) refers to aerobic exercise performed at a steady, moderate pace for an extended period. Typically, this means exercising at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate. MICT activities include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, elliptical machines, light jogging, rowing, and hiking on gentle trails.

Calculate your target heart rate for moderate-intensity using the formula (220 − your age) to find your maximum heart rate, then multiply by 0.5 and 0.7 to find the target range.

Tip: Although MICT is generally considered to be preferable to High-Intensity Interval training, there is not a clear consensus. I believe that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is particularly effective in reducing arterial stiffness by creating significant "blood momentum" (and it takes much less time than MICT).

Below is a blog post I wrote about it (consult your health professional to take into account your specific circumstances).

Related: Exercising Reduces Arterial Stiffness - Reducing Cardiovascular Risks


04 Arterial health is boosted by foam rolling - who knew?

Our exercise of the week is... foam rolling for arterial health.

I only discovered this week that foam rolling helps improve the flexibility and health of our arteries. It's a little similar to exercise - which pumps pulses of blood along your arteries, stretching and exercising them and keeping them limber.

Rolling, particularly self-myofascial release (SMR), induces a slow version of larger blood pulses moving through your arteries. This helps the elasticity and reduces resistance, potentially reducing blood pressure.

It works best by focusing on the major muscle groups like the calves, thighs, back, and glutes. However, having too many choices doesn't help getting started.

⇒ I recommend that you start with just 2 muscle groups: (1) the most "distant" muscles - your calves - and (2) your largest muscles - your glutes.

What this means for you: Before diving into specific routines, it's essential to understand the fundamentals of myofascial release. The goal is to apply pressure to the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding muscles, to alleviate tension and improve blood flow. As a beginner:

  1. Position the Foam Roller: Start by placing the foam roller on the ground and positioning the targeted muscle group on top of it.
  2. Apply Pressure: Use your body weight to apply pressure. You can adjust the amount of pressure by using your arms or legs to offload weight as necessary.
  3. Roll Slowly: Move your body slowly over the roller, targeting specific muscle groups. The movement should be controlled and deliberate, not rushed. About
  4. Breathe Deeply: Focus on deep, slow breaths to help relax your muscles and fascia, making the rolling more effective.
  5. Listen to Your Body: If you find a particularly tender spot, hold your position on that spot for 20-30 seconds before continuing to roll.

Calves - watch this short video.

Glutes - watch this quite chatty and helpful video.

Aim to spend about 1-2 minutes on each muscle group. If you encounter a particularly tight or sore spot, you might pause on that spot for 20-30 seconds before continuing.

Tip: Foam rolling can be uncomfortable, especially if your muscles are very tight or you've hit a trigger point, which is a knot in the muscle fibres. If the pain is too intense, you might be applying too much pressure, rolling too quickly, or not breathing deeply enough:

  • Adjust by reducing the pressure (you can use your arms or legs to offload some of your body weight), rolling more slowly, and focusing on deep, slow breaths.
  • Remember, the goal is to feel a manageable level of discomfort that allows the muscle to relax and release, not intense pain.

Consistency is key, and you will know that it works when the rolling becomes more comfortable in the sense that the level of pain in the tight spots drops, and you have fewer tight spots. Generally, people feel some benefit quite quickly.

Good rolling!

Related: The Countdown - How To Start Exercising When You Can't Get Started​

Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you are not yet subscribed to my free exercise app, try now ↓↓↓ Free forever. Opt-out any time. Opt-in by CLICKING HERE PLEASE SEND ME THE EXERCISES. NOTE: YOU ONLY NEED TO SUBSCRIBE ONE TIME.

>> My Latest Blog Post: Energise Your Golden Years: Boosting Your Desire to Exercise with Gut-Healthy Foods

About the newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share about the time you met Chris Hemsworth, or your questions about how to live longer better? Send those thoughts and more to me at walter@bodyagebuster.com

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