Saturday, November 18, 2017

Can Aloe Vera Prevent Heart Disease?

Being a type of plant native to Southern Africa, aloe vera is now mostly grown indoors all over the world. Apart from using as health foods, it is also used as ingredients for certain skin lotions and cosmetics.

The thick gel found in the leaf of the aloe vera plant has been used by ancient people for a wide range of applications, ranging from controlling irritation to keeping wounds clean, and soothing gastrointestinal upset. The gel is composed of 95 to 99 percent water along with glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Glycoproteins can stop pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair, making aloe vera gel an excellent cream for accelerating the healing process in burns and wounds.

Aloe vera contains broad spectrum of essential nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, and about 75 different nutrients have been identified. Made from the gel of the plant’s leaves, aloe vera juice is rich in Vitamins A, C, D, E, and a combination of B Vitamins: B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, and niacin. It also contains such minerals as copper, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, sodium, and iron as well as amino acids and at least 8 different types of enzymes.

In addition to boosting the immune system and helping detoxify the body, aloe vera juice can lower blood sugar levels in Type-2 diabetics. There is also evidence that the juice can help ease constipation though it is generally not recommended for digestive issues as it can cause some abdominal cramping or diarrhea.

Some studies had reported that taking aloe vera extract could decrease total cholesterol levels by anywhere between 10 percent and 15.5 percent, lower LDL cholesterol by at least 12 percent, and reduce triglyceride levels by anywhere between 25 percent and 31 percent. Meanwhile, a couple of studies noted that HDL levels were elevated between 7 percent and 9 percent. Lowering LDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels and raising HDL cholesterol levels can help heart disease prevention.

For instance, one study of 5,000 patients over 5 years found that participants had reductions in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, there was a decrease in frequency of angina attack during the study period and patients had their drug dosages gradually reduced over time. By the end of the study, 85 percent of the patients had their heart rhythm return to normal on an ECG. The findings were published in journal ‘Angiology’ in August 1985.

Nevertheless, consumption of aloe vera juice in excess amount may lead to abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. People who are being treated with medications of diabetes, digoxin or diuretics should talk to their doctor before using aloe vera. This is because aloe vera can help lower blood sugar level that may be potentially danger for people already suffering from low blood sugar. Meanwhile, capability of lowering potassium in aloe vera may cause potassium levels to fall too low when using aloe vera together with drugs for digoxin or diuretics.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Heart Palpitations Caused By Heart Disease?

Sometimes, one may feel the heart pounds, flutters, or seem to skip beats. These are called palpitations that may be bothersome or even frightening, but most of them are not serious and seldom require treatment. They often go away on their own. Most of the time, they are caused by stress and anxiety, or because one had too much caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol.

Click the following link to find out if they are caused by heart disease.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Can Eating Strawberries Prevent Heart Disease?

Being one of the most popular berry fruits in the world, strawberries are packed with a variety of potent phytochemicals and fiber, yet being relatively low in sugar. They are excellent sources of not only antioxidants and Vitamin C but also carotenes, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. One cup of strawberries has more Vitamin C than an orange, nearly half the sugar of an apple, a third of the calories of a banana, and twice the fiber of a serving of grapes.

A study that was released at the 16th biennial meeting for the Society for Free Radical Research International (SFRRI), Imperial College London revealed that extracts from strawberries positively activate a protein in human bodies called 'Nrf2', which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. The scientists from the University of Warwick found that this protein lowers blood lipids and cholesterol, hence preventing development of heart disease and diabetes.

The positive effects may be particularly achievable in people with metabolic syndrome, meaning people with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and trouble with glucose metabolism may gain most by including strawberries in their diet. While there is still no clue on the number of strawberries needed to get the biggest protective benefit, the researchers estimate eating 2 to 3 servings a week should be beneficial for the health.

Previous studies had found that eating strawberries may counter post-meal blood glucose and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) but the new study for the first time proved that strawberry extracts can actively stimulate proteins that offer protection against disease.

Meanwhile, a study that was published January 14, 2013 in the American Heart Association Journal ‘Circulation’ suggested that eating strawberries and blueberries may also help prevent cardiovascular health issues. 93,600 women aged between 25 and 42 years from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) II who were healthy at baseline (1989) were followed up for 18 years to examine the relationship between anthocyanins and other flavonoids and the risk of heart attack.

Researchers found that women who ate strawberries and blueberries at least 3 times a week had a 32 percent lower risk of a heart attack than those consuming the berries once a month or less. Risk factors like age, high blood pressure, body mass, lack of exercise, smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption, and family medical history, that could have influenced the results had been taken into account. While the findings come from an ongoing study of nurses involving only women, they may also apply to men.

Scientist believe the protective effect could be linked to anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that may help open up arteries and counter the build-up of fatty deposits on blood vessel walls. Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds found in plants, as well as tea and red wine, which can protect against a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, some cancers and dementia.