Blood Flow Before & After a Fatty Meal
This fascinating video will knock your socks off! The video was filmed in a rabbit, but the human body responds exactly the same way. The coin-like pink discs you see, are individual red blood cells, moving through capillaries (small blood vessels that feed our tissues) and larger blood vessels.
Many of us are in denial about what we eat and how it affects our bodies. You frequently hear the phrase "everything in moderation", and "I'm eating this just this once, because it's ______" (fill in the blank: my birthday, Christmas, the weekend, a special occasion). We think one exception won't affect us. But it's troubling how easily the one bad meal becomes two, then three, then once a week, or more... Eating a typical high-fat meal (ham & cheese sandwich, buttered bread, whole milk, and ice cream) has immediate consequences. Within 30 minutes, our blood thickens and red blood cells become sticky. Our arterial walls stiffen (become less compliant) by 27%. Blood flow slows down and the blood's oxygen content goes down by 20%.
Serum (blood without blood cells & clotting factors). The tube on the right was drawn from a patient after eating a fatty meal. On the left is normal serum.
As a result, the body becomes much less efficient at delivering life-giving oxygen to our cells. That is why we feel sleepy after a high-fat meal. In response, your body raises your blood pressure to push this viscous blood through your blood vessels, so that oxygen delivery continues. A low-fat meal does not cause these changes to happen. It takes 10 hours for blood flow to return to normal! However, within 10 hours, most people eat another high-fat meal, which means the body remains in this state of decreased blood flow almost constantly, year after year, decade after decade.
The body is always trying to heal itself, but in this situation, it doesn't get the chance. Eventually, this type of punishment (which we consider entirely normal) takes its toll, and by then, it's often too late. Eating delicious, plant foods and staying away from oil keeps our arteries healthy and our blood flow smooth. Leafy greens specifically, open up blood vessels and we should try to eat them every day. Keep these images in mind as you contemplate your next meal...