|The heart is muscle
that maintains blood flow in the circulatory system. In order for
blood to flow freely throughout the body, the arteries and capillaries
must remain clear. Coronary artery disease or arteriosclerosis, the most
common cause of heart disease, occurs when the blood vessels become
clogged with plaque, a thick, yellowish waxy substance that can build up
and eventually obstruct blood flow. If the blood flow to the heart
is cut off by plaque deposits, it will result in a heart attack.
Strokes are usually caused by fat-clogged arteries that cut off the supply
of blood to the brain. Plaque consist of a variety of cells including
cholesterol, a fat or lipid that is primarily produced by the liver.
Although cholesterol may appear to be the culprit in the heart-disease
story, it is not that simple. There are two types of cholesterol,
and one kind is actually good for you. The good cholesterol, high
density lipoprotein, actually helps clean out the arteries by removing
cholesterol from blood and returning it to the liver where it can be
broken down. The bad cholesterol, low density lipoprotein,
transports cholesterol from the liver to the millions of cells in the
body. Although our bodies need both kinds of cholesterol to function
properly, too much of either type of cholesterol can cause major problems.
The rate of heart disease rises considerably in
Risk factors for heart
disease in women:
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- High levels of "bad" cholesterol
- A low level of activity
Helpful things for Heart
Vitamin C - provocative
new findings suggest that getting plenty of vitamin C provides greater
protection against heart disease than either maintaining low blood
cholesterol or eating a low-fat diet.
Vitamin E -
might help prevent oxidation of LDL-the so called "bad"
cholesterol-and therefore may lower the risk of coronary heart disease in
both men and women.
Selenium - a
mineral, may help to activate one of the most potent antioxidants,
glutathione peroxidase. This antioxidant discourages free radicals
from attacking LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Works with two other B vitamins, thiamin and riboflavin, in the metabolism
of carbohydrates, and in recent years has gained fame as a potent
Folic acid - together with vitamin B called folacin or folate, may be an essential
factor in warding off heart attacks and strokes, a less than
optimal intake can double or tripe the risk of developing heart disease.
Folate is involved in breaking down homocysteine, and when intake of the vitamin is low, homocysteine tends to
build up in the blood.
good cholesterol a boost. Chromium Picolinate is an essential trace mineral that
is readily absorbed by the body. This supplement is a combination of
the element chromium and picolinic acid. I recommend it in the
patented liquid form. It has been
found successful not only in curbing the desire to eat excessive sugar and fats,
but also in
boosting the immune system. Chromium may reduce the risk of diabetes
by aiding in glucose metabolism and the body's use of natural insulin, as
well as helping to build and maintain body muscle. It can also
help with weight loss, mood enhancement and with energy promotion.
Green tea - may
help keep cholesterol from clogging arteries.
may play a significant role in the prevention of the oxidant of LDL, and
may actually prevent the liver from producing excess fat and cholesterol.
Hawthorn - has
been used successfully used for various heart disease, including geriatric or
stressed heart, hypertension, coronary insufficiency, heart attack damage
to coronary arteries, and angina pectoris. Hawthorn extracts have
been shown to dilate coronary blood vessels, thus improving the flow of
blood to the heart. At the same time, this herb helps strengthen the
heart muscle and works to help the body rid itself of excess salt
Tumeric - can
lower blood-cholesterol levels by stimulating the production of
bile. Bile is produced by the liver, and cholesterol is component of
bile-thus when the production of bile increases, it uses excess
cholesterol. Tumeric also prevents the formation of dangerous blood
clots that can lead to heart attack.
Gingo biloba -
this herb can help improve the flow of blood throughout the body. It
is also an antioxidant which means that it slows the formation of free radicals, those nasty
free ions that are responsible for the
oxidation of cholesterol.
Alfalfa - helps
reduce blood-cholesterol levels and plaque deposits on artery walls.
Ginger - this
root is another cholesterol buster and also helps lower blood pressure and
prevents blood clots.