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Does Diet Affect Cardiovascular Strength and Health?

You bet it does!

  • One of the top killers in the world is cardiovascular disease (CVD), or disease related to the blood vessels of your heart. There are many types of CVDs that are responsible for death. CVD is responsible for more American deaths than cancer. It is a wonder that so many people die from cardiovascular disease, yet for many the chances of dying from it could have been reduced by two things: diet and exercise.

    The heart’s arteries are the vessels that carry blood to the body, while the veins make the return trip. Arteries and veins need oxygen and a clear path to perform their circulatory function. If there is anything that impedes their paths or causes the vessels’ walls to harden, the heart must pump harder and harder to get the blood going, creating unnecessary strain. With coronary heart disease, the leading cause of heart attacks, plaque forms along the cardiovascular walls and restricts the blood flow. The heart becomes overtaxed and some parts fail, causing a heart attack. So how does this deadly plaque form? It can be from the foods that you eat.

Plaque and Cardiovascular Health

  • When you eat foods high in saturated fat, you introduce harmful lipids and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) to the blood. Those lipids and cholesterol tear at your arteries. White blood cells try to get rid of the lipids. Unfortunately, platelets try to help by causing a “clot,” thinking the body is losing blood from the tear. When the platelets, white blood cells, LDL and lipids get together along with those torn artery muscle fibers, they form plaque. Over time this plaque builds up to the point where your heart is strained.

Good Heart Foods

  • Although saturated fats are part of a diet that can negatively affect cardiovascular health, there are healthful foods that can put a positive spin on your heart’s vessels. Research shows that dark chocolates, nuts and wines are foods that reduce LDL. Consuming foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids are another great way to keep your blood vessels in shape. Foods that contain Omega-3-like fatty fish- introduce acids that reduce fats in the blood vessels. Canola oil, soy foods and leafy greens also contain good Omega-3 levels. Although it is suggested that raising your good cholesterol (HDL) fights cardiovascular disease, there is no actual foods that have been scientifically proven to raise HDL.

    With a combination of moderate exercise and a good diet, you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim to one of the world’s top killers.

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Education, Health & Medicine

 

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Cinnamon’s beneficial effects on the body

Cinammon balances blood sugar and lowers cholesterol?

That lovely fragrance of cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, a moderately large evergreen that is native to Sri Lanka. It has been around for at least 2000 years. According to the Bible, Moses used cinnamon to make holy oil (Exodus 20:33). Legend has it that the emperor, Nero, burned a year’s supply of cinnamon at his wife’s funeral. Cinnamon, known botanically as Cinnamomum zeylanicum, has the ability to have a positive effect on blood sugar and cholesterol.

Aside from adding spice and being inexpensive and easy to obtain, cinnamon’s glory may lie in its ability to regulate blood sugar. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published several cinnamon studies on human beings. Findings report that about one half teaspoon a day results in an impressive improvement in blood sugar. Cinnamon works by enhancing the body’s ability to use the insulin it already produces, especially in muscle tissue.

Cinnamon has also demonstrated a highly beneficial impact on cholesterol. Specifically, it lowers the LDL, more commonly known as the “bad cholesterol.”

Across the board, cinnamon is known to ease intestinal cramps, relieve gas, promote movement of food through the digestive system and act as a muscle relaxant. It has obtained some popularity as a method to relieve both menstrual and night time leg cramps as well.

Another helpful property of cinnamon is its antibacterial effect. It is especially useful for fighting intestinal germs. Some people claim it can ward off mild food poisoning.

The only form of cinnamon that is truly useful for humans is powdered bark, in capsule form. The oil contains compounds that can be harmful. Doses of 1000mg daily have been shown to make a difference in both blood sugar and LDL. 

Consumers need to know that the powdered cinnamon found in supermarkets is far too old to have any healing benefit. The most efficacious method for cinnamon intake is a commercial preparation designed for that purpose.

Although the oil can be harmful to humans if ingested regularly, it is useful in other ways. Just as cinnamon fights intestinal “bugs”, it also fights the real thing. A few drops of cinnamon oil on strips of white cotton ribbon, white cotton bias tape or plain paper towels hung in windows can be an effective insect repellent.

Cinnamon should be part of a daily eating plan, suggests A. Kahn, M.D., a diabetes researcher who has studied the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar. For the best effects, however, it takes more than a sprinkle on your morning oatmeal.

Kahn, A.Diabetes Care. December 2003; vol 26 (12): pp 3215-3218.
Qin, B., et al. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. July 2003

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Education, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine

 

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