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Food can protect your heart

Heart disease kills millions of people every year. And it no longer only affects middle-aged men. Statistics show that heart disease and strokes kill more women worldwide than cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and TB combined.

Heart disease kills millions of people every year. And it no longer only affects middle-aged men. Statistics show that heart disease and strokes kill more women worldwide than cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and TB combined.

The major risk factors for both men and women include increasing age, heredity, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and being overweight or obese. However, two far greater risk indicators that are not as well known, are high homocysteine and free radical levels.

Heart disease is one of the world’s biggest killers. These days, almost half of those who die from heart disease are women. The good news is that you can protect your heart through a good diet.

Heart disease kills millions of people every year. And it no longer only affects middle-aged men. Statistics show that heart disease and strokes kill more women worldwide than cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and TB combined.

The major risk factors for both men and women include increasing age, heredity, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and being overweight or obese. However, two far greater risk indicators that are not as well known, are high homocysteine and free radical levels.

Homocysteine

Homocysteine is an amino acid found naturally in blood, but of which the concentration can vary conside-rably. It becomes harmful when it increases to above the level of 6mmole/litre. Normally, the body converts homocysteine into harmless substances but age, smoking, too much tea or coffee and a diet that lacks B vitamins may reduce your ability to maintain low homocysteine levels in your blood. High homocysteine levels damage and thicken the walls of the arteries, which increases the risk of abnormal blood clotting. This can lead to heart disease and strokes. In addition, homocysteine promotes the oxidation of cholesterol. Studies have shown that cholesterol only becomes dangerous once it has been oxidised. No drug can lower your homocysteine level. The only way to do it is to follow a diet high in vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid. But a healthy diet alone is not sufficient to supply the nutrients you need to keep your homocysteine levels down. You will also have to take vitamin B and folic acid supplements.

Free radicals

Research also shows that a high level of free radicals (oxidants) is a major contributor to heart disease. When oxygen is metabolised in the body for instance when we breathe or digest food for energy), some molecules are damaged. They are called ‘free radicals’ and they can cause damage to cells and cell membranes. The body can cope with some free radicals and, in fact, needs them to function effectively.
The problems start when there is an overload of free radicals over a period of time, incurring damage. Free radical damage has been linked to most chronic diseases, including heart and liver disease, and some cancers.

High free radical loads play a major role in turning good cholesterol into a very dangerous form, namely oxidised LDL cholesterol, which can damage artery walls. Oxidation is accelerated by stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution and fatty foods. The most effective way to keep your free radical levels down is to eliminate activities and foods that increase free radical production and to increase your intake of powerful antioxidant supplements like PROCYDIN. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals before they can do damage and help to protect your cardiovascular system.

Why Procydin is good for your heart

  • Procydin is a natural product made from grape-seed extract, which is one of the richest sources of the proanthocyanidin antioxidant-complex. Research suggests that this complex can play a vital role in helping to keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
  • It helps to strengthen vascular walls by inhibiting the body’s enzymes that break down collagen. It also stimulates collagen repair, thereby increasing the strength and elasticity of blood vessels, protecting them against rupture, leakage and degeneration. Collagen is the building block of veins and arteries.
  • It helps to maintain the proper slipperiness’ of the blood cells, preventing clots from forming in the coronary arteries.
  • It also assists in controlling cholesterol levels. Cholesterol deposits form in artery walls when the low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, is damaged by oxidation (free radicals). This can lead to hardening of the walls.
  • Research has shown that it also has blood pressure-lowering effects. It appears to be caused by their effect on the endothelium, the innermost layer of arterial blood vessels that expands and contracts in response to blood flow. They produced less of the substances that constrict arteries and more of the substances that dilate (expand) the arteries, says researcher Peter Rohdewald, a retired professor.
  • Antioxidants like Procydin may not only save your heart, they may also discourage other chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Eating habits for a healthy heart must start in childhood

Eating habits for a healthy heart must start in childhood, advises the American Heart Association (AHA) in its new dietary recommendations for children and adolescents.

According to the AHA there is evidence that atherosclerosis begins at a young age and that children who have poor eating habits and take too little exercise may already have built up plaque in the arteries by adolescence. The AHA says parents can have more of an impact on their children’s diets by setting a good example themselves. It also warns against overfeeding infants, and that foods containing calories without any nutritional benefit be avoided. Healthy foods should be introduced repeatedly even if they are refused at first, and juice should not be introduced for the first six months.

Women’s heart attacks are different to men’s

The physiology of women’s heart attacks is different to men’s, says heart specialist Dr Mehmet Oz, author of Healing from the Heart.

He says in women, heart attacks are more likely to be caused by their arteries being more reactive than men’s, which means they are more prone to spasms and more responsive to emotional stress. As a result, stress, depression and emotional shocks such as the death of a loved one can contribute to a heart attack.

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