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#Deteção precoce da doença de Parkinson para breve?

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Fonte de imagem: Medical News Today

Um novo estudo desvendou um novo método para detetar a agregação da proteína alfa-sinucleína, que constitui uma das características distintivas da doença de Parkinson.

Debilitante e neurodegenerativa, a doença de Parkinson afeta tudo, desde a fala, passando pela postura, controlo de impulsos e sono, até à cognição do paciente. Ainda não foi encontrada uma cura para a doença. Existem somente tratamentos que aliviam alguns dos sintomas da doença.

Para piorar a situação, não é possível detetar a Parkinson nos seus estados iniciais. Efetivamente, na altura em que um paciente recebe o diagnóstico da doença, entre 50 a 80% das células dopaminérgicas na substância negra do cérebro estarão já mortas, é explicado no estudo. Isto poderá ser devido ao desenvolvimento de toxicidade resultante da agregação da alfa-sinucleína.

Segundo Uri Ashery, coautor do estudo, da Universidade de Telavive, Israel, “desenvolvemos um novo método para detetar os estádios iniciais da agregação de alfa-sinucleína, utilizando microscopia de alta resolução e análise avançada”.

Uri Ashery explicou que a equipa, em colaboração com investigadores da Universidade de Cambridge, Reino Unido, desenvolveu um modelo animal da Parkinson que permitiu detetar diferentes estados da agregação daquela proteína.

“Correlacionámos a agregação com a perda de atividade neuronal em deterioração e deficiências no comportamento dos ratinhos”, explicou o investigador.

Dana Bar-On, coautora do estudo, comentou que esta investigação é extremamente importante pois é agora possível detetar os estádios iniciais da agregação de alfa-sinucleína e monitorizar os efeitos de fármacos nessa agregação.

A investigadora espera que os achados sejam implementados de forma a permitir o diagnóstico precoce da doença de Parkinson.

A equipa, em colaboração com o Instituto Max Planck e a Universidade de Munique, Alemanha, investigou o efeito de um fármaco conhecido como anle138b sobre a agregação da alfa-sinucleína e correlacionou os resultados com a normalização do fenótipo da Parkinson nos ratinhos.

#Children of Older Parents May Be Better Behaved. Here’s Why

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New research finds that waiting to start a family until you’re older may have a positive impact on the behavior of your children as they grow.

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Older parents may have greater patience, self-assurance, and access to resources than their younger counterparts — all of which may bring less stress into their home and help shape their kids’ behavior in positive ways. Getty Images

 

It’s well documented that fertility begins declining for women around the age of 35 and that children born to older mothers often face an increased risk of genetic mutations that can contribute to conditions like Down syndrome.

Research has also linked the age of a child’s father at birth to an increase in neurological and behavioral conditions such as autism and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and even a greater chance of developing bipolar disorder or psychosis.

But the news isn’t all bad for older parents. In fact, recent research has found that when those clinical diagnoses are accounted for and removed from the equation, the children of older parents actually exhibit fewer behavioral problems overall.

A case for having kids at an older age?

The report looked at four different studies out of the Netherlands, tracking 32,892 Dutch children between the ages of 10 and 12. It relied on self-reporting of problem behavior by mothers, fathers, teachers and the children themselves.

The findings showed that older parents reported fewer externalizing behavior problems among their children, and parents and teachers both reported fewer persisting behavioral problems. This was even after accounting for socioeconomic status — meaning that the findings weren’t just because older parents were more established in their career fields or more comfortable economically.

But the latest data isn’t necessarily indicative of a pure cause and effect relationship between older parents and behavioral struggles, according to relationship and parenting expert Wendy Walsh, PhD.

Taking a closer look at the research

“There are a couple of things to consider when looking at these studies,” Walsh told Healthline. “First of all, they are pulling data from multiple different studies. That’s not the same as going out, finding a cohort group, giving them a pre-test and a post-test and looking for this one specific thing.”

She also said that self-reporting can be notoriously biased. “When parents are reporting, there is going to be over-reporting of favorable things. And the older a parent is, the smarter they are about knowing to over-report favorable behavior.”

Or, she hypothesized, it could also be that older parents are simply more patient and less likely to notice or care about some of the behavioral concerns younger parents might report.

“So we can discount the reports from fathers, mothers, and children themselves,” she explained. “Because the truth is, none of us really know ourselves or our lives well enough to be able to report objectively. The teachers are really the only reliable reporters here.”

Still, she thinks the results shouldn’t be discounted entirely.

“It is promising, and it makes sense,” she said. “The longer you wait, the smarter you are, the more education you have, maybe the better your finances are, the more resources you have, the less likely your kid is going to be acting out.”

 

What older parents may have to offer that’s different

It’s possible that’s why this latest research lines up with previous studies that have found fewer behavioral, social, and emotional difficulties for children born to older mothers.

Increased patience, resources, and maybe even a greater gratitude over being able to parent at all could be contributing to these positive outcomes.

It’s a theory Nancy S. Molitor, PhD, the clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, shares.

“One thing with older parents is, you don’t know what their past history is in terms of losses. Is this their first child? Their fifth attempt? They may have been trying for a long time for this chance,” she explained.

She also said that older parents are, in general more comfortable with themselves.

“They are going to typically have more self-awareness and more insight into their own strengths, as well as their own weaknesses,” she said.

Molitor explained that older parents may also be more willing to ask for help, or admit that something may be wrong earlier on. This would make room for early intervention and assistance with getting any potential behavioral issues on track sooner.

What parents of any age can take away from this study

These are lessons that all parents, young or old, could potentially learn from. And that’s the takeaway both Molitor and Walsh want parents to have from studies like this.

“Stop fighting with your kids and start listening to them,” Walsh said.

She explained that doesn’t mean not shaping their behavior, because that’s the job of the parent, to shape their child’s behavior so they can fit into society. “But if you can understand the pressures on children, and understand the obstacles along the way, you can better help them to find their way to good behavior.”

Walsh recognizes that may not be easy for all parents. “Since we’ve gotten rid of the spare the rod mentality, there are many parents who are at a loss for psychological tools to help shape their children.”

According to her, though, it’s pretty simple. “Water what you want to grow, and ignore the weeds.”

In this analogy, the weeds are bad behavior. “Unless it’s dangerous, don’t feed the bad stuff. Instead, reward the good behavior. Because what happens is parents are so busy, the only time the kid gets any attention at all is when they behave poorly — and that only works to reinforce that bad behavior you’re trying to steer them away from.

So focus on the good behavior instead, Walsh recommends, and watch it grow.

“This works with husbands too, by the way,” she joked.

For Molitor, the other important takeaway from this study is that it’s never too late to become a parent. “If you’re wanting children but you’re afraid you might be too old, I think you can look at these results as promising. I wouldn’t let age be a barrier. There’s lots of ways to become a parent.”

Heathline

#Fármaco para insuficiência cardíaca poderá tratar leucemia

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Fonte de imagem: Medical News Today

Uma equipa de investigadores descobriu que um fármaco inicialmente desenvolvido para tratar a insuficiência cardíaca poderá ser eficaz no tratamento do cancro.

Conhecido como proscilaridina-A, o fármaco revelou-se promissor quando reposicionado para o tratamento da leucemia infantil com expressão do gene MYC. Atualmente, não existem tratamentos eficazes aprovados que atuem sobre aquele tipo de alteração na leucemia.

“Observámos aqui, pela primeira vez, as propriedades anticancerígenas e epigenéticas da proscilaridina-A – um cardiotónico usado para tratar a insuficiência cardíaca ou arritmias – em leucemias em crianças que expressam o gene MYC”, avançou Elodie Da Costa, primeira autora do estudo, da Universidade de Montreal, no Canadá.

“Quando é submetido a mutações ou superexpressão, este gene induz a proliferação descontrolada de células, promovendo assim o desenvolvimento de cancro”, explicou.

Para a sua investigação, a equipa usou várias técnicas avançadas na área da biologia molecular, sequenciamento de nova geração e farmacologia, de forma a avaliarem a eficácia e mecanismo de ação da proscilaridina-A no tratamento de leucemias.

A equipa observou que a molécula ataca preferencialmente as células estaminais leucémicas que promovem a expansão da doença.

“Cada cancro é único e para aumentar as hipóteses de sobrevivência a medicina de precisão constitui uma forma promissora de evolução através do desenvolvimento de estratégias de tratamento específicas para o paciente”, comentou Noël Raynal, investigador neste estudo.

“A investigação em reposicionamento de fármacos abre um novo caminho para opções terapêuticas inovadoras no tratamento do cancro”, acrescentou o investigador.

#Procedure May Delay Menopause for 20 Years: Here’s What the Experts Think

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A UK clinic is trying out a new procedure in order to delay menopause.

  • A clinic based out of the United Kingdom is offering a procedure that could delay menopause for up to 20 years.
  • It’s not a new procedure, but this is the first time it has been used to delay menopause.
  • Currently only 10 women have received the procedure. It’s not clear how effective it will be in delaying menopause.
  • Experts warn delaying menopause can have its own issues, including increased risk of breast cancer.

A new medical procedure designed to delay menopause for up to 20 years is now being offered by the in vitro fertilization (IVF) firm ProFam in the United Kingdom.

The procedure — which costs about £7,000 to £11,000 ($8,500 to $13,300) — involves removing and then freezing a small portion of ovarian tissue, which can later be thawed out and reimplanted to delay the onset of menopause.

The procedure itself isn’t novel, as it’s successfully been used for years to preserve the fertility of young women with cancer.

However, this is the first time it’s been used to potentially delay menopause.

“As women, for the first time in human history, are living so much longer in the post-fertile phase, they may be suffering much longer,” Professor Simon Fishel, the CEO of ProFam and founder of the CARE Fertility Group, told Healthline.

It’s too early to know how effective the surgery is, but the doctors behind it hope by administering the experimental procedure now, they can, hopefully, one day routinely be able to delay menopause.

Here’s how the procedure works

So far, 10 women have undergone the first portion of the procedure. A piece of their ovarian tissue has been removed and frozen, but the tissue hasn’t been transplanted back yet.

“My desire to do this now is to give the opportunity for a young generation of women to use what we believe is no longer an experimental procedure by many experts. If we continue to delay, each generation will continue to miss out,” Fishel said.

Freezing ovarian tissue isn’t a new surgery. It’s been used for years to preserve fertility in young cancer patients.

It involves removing a piece of a woman’s ovarian tissue via keyhole surgery. The tissue is then frozen for, potentially, decades.

It’s then thawed out and reimplanted in the woman’s body in a location where it can regain blood supply and start functioning again to restore falling hormone levels.

Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be reinserted in or near the ovary. Other locations, such as the armpit, can actually be much easier to monitor.

“The site doesn’t have to be the ovary, and in fact, regrafting the tissue onto or near the ovary requires a more invasive surgical procedure,” Dr. Amanda Kallen, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist with the Yale Fertility Center, explained.

It could potentially stave off menopause-related health issues

The ProFam doctors hope the procedure can alleviate the health issues many women experience as a result of menopause.

“At menopause, estrogen levels fall dramatically, and women experience a new set of health problems associated with low menopause, including cardiovascular disease, declining bone density, and osteoporosis, and symptoms like hot flashes, depression, and sleep disturbances,” Kallen said.

If menopause could be delayed, these health issues could potentially be avoided, Kallen notes.

In addition, some women, such as those who’ve had a blood clot or stroke, may not be good candidates for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — a treatment commonly used to relieve menopause symptoms.

Freezing ovarian tissue could possibly be an alternative treatment option for those who shouldn’t take HRT.

But the procedure could increase other health risks

It’s still far too soon to determine just how safe and effective the procedure is.

Although some women have started getting the procedure, they haven’t had the ovarian tissue reimplanted, so there’s no long-term or follow-up data yet.

Experts don’t know just how long the transplants can survive once they’re reimplanted in the body. With the younger cancer patients, for example, the tissue’s traditionally had a shorter shelf life, according to health experts.

“Available data, when this has been done with much younger ovaries (young cancer patients), find that their survival can be quite short — much shorter than their quoted 20 years,” said Dr. Marcelle Cedars, the director of the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health.

Menopause is a natural process, and experts point out there can be potential complications if it’s artificially delayed. It isn’t necessarily a damaging health condition that needs to be treated like a disease.

While there’s evidence that delayed menopause can also trigger harmful side effects, health experts suspect.

Delayed menopause could potentially increase the risk of ovarian cancer, Cedars notes.

“There are plusses and minuses to delaying menopause. While prolonged estrogen would delay heart disease and osteoporosis, delayed menopause is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer,” Cedars said.

Still, many health experts are cautiously optimistic about the potential for the experimental procedure. They say it may help relieve painful health issues in thousands, if not millions, of women.

“The possibility that we will someday routinely be able to ‘delay’ menopause… is so exciting,” Kallen said. “But it’s also so important that these interventions be studied carefully, and safely, in controlled clinical trials, before we are routinely offering them as potential options for our patients.”

The bottom line

An IVF clinic in the United Kingdom is now offering an experimental procedure to potentially delay menopause for up to 20 years.

The procedure, which involves removing and freezing a small part of ovarian tissue, could potentially relieve thousands of women from health issues associated with menopause, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.

While it’s still too soon to determine how safe and effective the procedure is, health experts are excited about the potential opportunity to routinely delay menopause.

HeathLine

#La #contaminación está detrás del 33% de los nuevos casos de #asma infantil en Europa

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Un nuevo estudio del ISGlobal estima que deberían tomarse más medidas para proteger la salud respiratoria de los efectos del aire contaminado

 

La contaminación impulsa el asma infantil. Un nuevo estudio del Instituto de Salud Gobal de Barcelona (ISGlobal) estima que, en Europa, hasta uno de cada tres nuevos casos de la enfermedad respiratoria en niños pueden atribuirse a la exposición a un aire contaminado.

Son casos, por tanto, que pueden prevenirse. Pero, para ello, “es necesario que se tomen medidas urgentes para reducir los niveles de polución, sobre todo en las ciudades”, tal y como apunta Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, investigador del centro catalán impulsado por La Caixa y firmante del trabajo que se publica en el último número de la revista European Respiratory Journal.

El trabajo ha estudiado la situación de 63.442.419 niños de edades comprendidas entre uno y 14 años de 18 países europeos, centrándose en la relación entre la salud respiratoria y la calidad del aire que respiraban.

 

El análisis, explica Nieuwenhuijsen, mostró una clara asociación entre estos factores, aunque también puso de manifiesto diferencias en el impacto de los diferentes contaminantes.

Si los 18 países estudiados pudieran reducir, por ejemplo, las concentraciones de partículas inferiores a los 2,5 micrómetros de diámetro “hasta los niveles más bajos registrados en estudios previos [1,5 microgramo/metro cúbico en el caso del dióxido de nitrógeno; 0,4 microgramos/metro cúblico para las partículas inferiores a 2,5 micrometros de diámetro]”, apunta el investigador, “cada año se podrían prevenir más de 190.000 casos, lo que equivale al 33% de los nuevos casos”.

Si esta reducción, en cambio, se lograra con otros dos contaminantes, el dióxido de nitrógeno y el carbono negro, la reducción sería, respectivamente, del 23% y el 15% de los diagnósticos.

Mayor control de la contaminación

Los datos obtenidos por el equipo del ISGlobal también sugieren que las recomendaciones que actualmente establece la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) con respecto a los límites de contaminantes del aire deberían restringirse más. De hecho, se espera que en 2020 la agencia publique unas nuevas recomendaciones que actualicen las vigentes, que se establecieron en 2005.

Cumplir con los valores actuales de la OMS con respecto a los niveles de dióxido de nitrógeno [40 microgramos/metro cúbico (media anual)] permitiría prevenir 2,434 nuevos casos de asma infantil, un 0,4% del total, mientras que una reducción hasta los niveles más bajos registrados elevaría este porcentaje al 23%, señalan los investigadores en el estudio.

“Nuestros datos muestran que es necesario reducir los niveles de contaminación del aire. Los políticos tienen que tener el coraje de tomar medidas para reducir la contaminación”, expone Nieuwenhuijsen, quien recuerda que hasta el 40% de las partículas contaminantes proceden del tráfico, y otras fuentes, como la industria o la calefacción también ejercen un impacto importante.

El estudio, por otro lado, ha vuelto a poner de manifiesto importantes diferentes en cuanto a los niveles de contaminación entre el Norte y el Sur de Europa. “Ciudades como Madrid y Barcelona, que tiene una densidad de tráfico cuatro veces mayor que la de Londres, presentann los niveles más altos de Europa”, señala.

Aunque las variaciones en la incidencia del asma en Europa no pueden atribuirse únicamente a los diferentes niveles de polución -ya que en el riesgo de desarrollar la enfermedad también intervienen otros factores-, los investigadores subrayan que las evidencias sobre los perjuicios que la contaminación ejerce sobre la salud son suficientes para una llamada a la acción.

“Hay numerosos datos sobre cómo la contaminación afecta a las enfermedades respiratorias, las cardiovasculares o incluso el desarrollo cognitivo en los niños”, indica Nieuwenhuijsen.

“Es necesario mejorar la calidad del aire, cambiar el modelo de las ciudades y proporcionar alternativas para que las personas puedan desplazarse sin utilizar el coche. Es difícil, es caro, pero merece la pena porque lograrlo no solo tendrá un impacto beneficioso en la salud, sino también en la temperatura, en los niveles de ruido, en la disponibilidad de zonas verdes o la promoción del ejercicio físico, entre otras cosas”, concluye.

#Maior estudo de sempre sobre #bactéria super-resistente mostra uma Europa onde os hospitais são os maiores centros de contágio

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MEDIA FOR MEDICAL

As bactérias K. pneumoniae são capazes de modificar o seu código genético na reprodução, ao contrário de muitas outras famílias de bactérias. Nessa mutação, estão a adquirir uma resistência quase total ao antibiótico mais potente do mercado. Os hospitais são os maiores centros de contágio

 

Omaior e mais recente estudo à resistência da bactéria K. pneumoniae envolveu 244 hospitais em 32 países do continente europeu e analisou mais de 2.000 amostras desta bactéria super-resistente. As conclusões são alarmantes e, segundo os autores do estudo, deveria servir para “abanar” os responsáveis pelos serviços de saúde, já que é principalmente nos hospitais que esta bactéria tão difícil de aniquilar se espalha e contamina doentes com deficiência imunológicas pré-adquiridas.

Os pesquisadores do Centro de Vigilância de Patógenos Genómicos, com base no Instituto Wellcome Sanger, na Universidade de Freiburg, confirmaram com este estudo a realidade que vários outros já tinham descoberto: cada vez se morre mais por causa desta bactéria, que é resistente à classe carbapenem de antibióticos, os mais potentes e normalmente considerados “de última linha”, ou seja, utilizados para tratar infecções muito graves causadas por bactérias que sobreviveram a outros antibióticos. Em 2007, relembra o estudo, 341 mortes foram causadas por infecções por K. pneumoniae. Em 2015, esse número tinha aumentado para 2.094. Os antibióticos já não funcionam e são os mais velhos, as crianças e as pessoas com supressões de imunidade, as mais afetadas por esta bactéria que causa maioritariamente pneumonia mas que depois se espalha a outros órgãos além dos pulmões.

O problema com esta bactéria é que a forma através da qual ela se reproduz não é assexuada, como é o caso com outras famílias de bactérias que apenas se “copiam” criando “clones automáticos”. A K. pneumoniae reproduz-se através de um processo chamado “conjugação” que possibilita a transferência de genes, o que, tal como acontece nos humanos, faz evoluir a espécie, dotando-a de um código genético que a protege contra estes antibióticos potentes. É também possível que esta característica comece a passar para outros tipos de bactérias, tornando-as também resistentes.

Os investigadores encontraram nas amostras que analisaram algumas sequências genéticas que comprovam a resistência à classe de antibióticos carbapenem. Estes novos genes que a bactéria está a assumir tornam-na capaz de produzir uma enzima capaz de “mastigar e destruir” o antibiótico quando ele entra no corpo humano, tornando o medicamento inútil, dizem os investigadores num trabalho publicado esta segunda-feira na “Nature Microbiology”.

Sophia David, uma das autoras do estudo, disse à BBC que o maior problema é mesmo a transmissão nos centros de saúde, hospitais e outras instituições de tratamento. “No caso das bactérias resistentes aos carbapenem, os hospitais são os facilitadores principais da transmissão: mais de metade das amostras que continham o gene da resistência estavam relacionadas com outras amostras do mesmo hospital, o que sugere que as bactérias estão a espalhar-se de pessoa para pessoa dentro das instituições de saúde”.

Os códigos genéticos das bactérias que apresentavam este tipo de resistência também estão mais proximamente relacionados dentro do mesmo país do que entre diferentes países, o que sugere que ainda é possível controlar a multiplicação descontrolada de cada tipo de gene resistente. Mais controlo dos doentes quando chegam ao hospital, incluindo isolamento, cuidados quando se transferem doentes entre hospitais e monitorização electrónica das bactérias são alguns dos conselhos que os médicos que realizaram o estudo dão a quem gere uma unidade de cuidados de saúde.

Expresso.pt

#30 Best Foods That Help Unclog Your Arteries

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According to the World Health Organization, around 26% of deaths in 2015 were due to heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease. If you’re safe from poverty-related diseases, then your chances of suffering from heart issues will be even higher than this. Around 1 in 3 deaths in the United States are heart-related, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

The most common cause of heart problems is the build-up of plaque on the inner walls of arteries that go to the heart. Arteries are large blood vessels that connect the heart to the rest of the body and carry oxygen and nutrients to/from the heart and the rest of the body. They should be flexible and elastic to efficiently deliver blood, but age and plaque build-up can make them less elastic and harder.

Plaque is made up of an accretion of blood, cholesterol fats and other substances that clog or even block the arteries to the point where less blood can flow through the heart and a heart attack ensues. Where the heart cannot deliver enough blood to the brain, a stroke can result in damaging parts of the brain. A weak heart can cause or make worse any number of other symptoms which can be directly or indirectly life-threatening.

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The clogging up of the arteries is, in part, due to a bad diet and poor lifestyle choices. It is said that only one percent of people eat what doctors recommend as a healthy diet, so it is likely that the rest of us can do better to clean up our act – and our arteries.  Fortunately, it is possible to prevent and even reverse the arterial damage by eating well and living a healthy lifestyle.

1. Garlic

Garlic is well-known for its many health-boosting characteristics.  It is rich in anti-oxidants, such as vitamins C and E, which remove free radicals.  When the cells absorb oxygen from the body, the chemical reaction releases by-products which can damage healthy cells. These are the free radicals which garlic helps remove.  It can reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol, help to widen blood vessels, improve blood circulation and prevent hardening of the aorta.

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Regular intake of garlic will also help regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  It has been known for millennia as an effective means of cleaning the blood and is said to have a large number of health benefits, including helping to fight certain types of cancers, colds & flu, Alzheimer’s & dementia. It is also said to have antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. All these other health benefits will take a little pressure off your heart as well.

Medical experts recommend you eat two full cloves of raw garlic every morning – on an empty stomach no less.  Unfortunately, the compounds which are most positive for cleaning the blood are the same ones which cause the infamous garlic smell – eating some parsley can help with this. You can also add garlic to most recipes, just remember that the health benefits of garlic are derived from fresh, raw, or lightly cooked garlic, only – so don’t overdo the cooking!

Aged garlic extract (AGE) can be taken as a supplement as well and is not quite so smelly or difficult to digest as raw garlic. Since garlic works as a blood thinner, make sure that you don’t have any health conditions that can be made worse by this, or that you are not already taking prescribed blood thinning medicine. As always, if in any doubt, consult your doctor before taking any supplements and boosting your garlic intake.

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2. Pomegranates

The deep red color of this fruit is a sign that it is packed with anti-oxidants, like berries.  Pomegranate seeds contain polyphenols (anti-oxidants) which have many health benefits and the seeds themselves are a valuable source of nutrients and fiber. A single pomegranate can supply 40% of your daily Vitamin C requirement alone. Just be careful if you are on blood pressure or cholesterol medications, as they may react badly to the fruit.

Initial studies point to pomegranates having blood thinning properties, as well as working against clogging or stiffening of the arteries.  The wide range of antioxidants also helps to clean the blood.  The fruit is also considered beneficial for lowering blood pressure, fighting prostate cancer, anti-inflammatory properties (it is particularly useful for the digestive system) among many other benefits.   Again, foods that help the heart provide a range of benefits for the whole body.

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As the fruit is only available seasonally, most likely much of your intake of pomegranates is going to be in juice form or as a supplement capsule.  Fortunately, the juice itself contain more anti-oxidants than most fruit juices. Remember that fruit juices have already lost their healthy fiber and may have lost much of their nutritional benefits if they have been processed or pasteurized.   What you thought was a healthy option may turn out to be little more than sugar-water (fructose).

Choose fresh fruit itself when you can or make sure you drink fresh fruit juice. Unfortunately, the cheaper brands may simply lack the health benefits you seek when you buy fruit juice. While it might look daunting, removing the “meat” from a pomegranate is easier than it might appear – rolling it before cutting it can help to loosen the seeds and submerging the cut fruit in water will help to soften the pith, allowing you to easily whack the seeds out.

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3. Asparagus

Asparagus is a low-calorie, high-fiber vegetable filled with nutrients which make it a natural addition to a healthy diet, especially if one is interested in losing weight.  However, it can improve the health of your heart as well. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood, usually derived from eating meat.  High levels of homocysteine are often indicative of heart disease and may cause damaged blood vessels, blood clotting in the veins, which can all damage the heart.

The B-vitamins in asparagus, especially folate, all help convert homocysteine into a safer molecule and thus reduce the damage caused to the heart. Asparagus also has a beneficial influence on the body’s production of glutathione, an antioxidant which helps combat inflammation and remove the free radicals which can lead to clogged or blocked arteries. Glutathione will also combat cancerous cells and promote strong bones.

Asparagus is a very good source of vitamin K which work to prevent hardening of the arteries and reduce calcium build-up in the arteries. Eat this tasty vegetable on a regular basis as much as possible. You can eat it as an appetizer or side dish and is a wonderful addition to a salad.  Apart from the damage that over-cooking will do to the health benefits of the vegetable, asparagus is a tender plant so treat it gently.

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It is best served lightly steamed or sautéed. A little olive oil, which has its own health benefits, goes very nicely together. Asparagus comes in three varietals, white, green or purple. While they are all great, the purple one has the edge in terms of nutrients.  Although not associated with how the vegetable tastes, some people pick up a strange smell in their urine after eating asparagus.  This does not indicate anything harmful at all.

4. Avocados

The recent rise in the popularity of Avocados has as much to do with their flavor and utility as with their health benefits.  Strangely enough, the avocado tree should have died out in its South American home centuries ago, along with the giant ground sloth which was the only dispersal agent left for its giant seed, but which became extinct 13,000 years ago. It is thanks to humans’ enjoyment of this fruit that we still have avos today.

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Containing 20 different nutrients, the fruit, sometimes called the alligator fruit, packs 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Most of the carbohydrates are healthy fiber.  It has many anti-oxidant nutrients and is especially high in potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure.  Although bananas are well-known for their high potassium content, Avocados have twice the amount so are even better.

Avocados help the heart by reducing the “bad” cholesterol fats in the blood and increasing the “good” cholesterol, which helps clear arteries of blockages.  Their ability to be used as tasty substitutes for many unhealthy foods makes them especially attractive as health foods.  The healthy oils in Avocados will also help you better absorb nutrients in vegetables such as vitamins A, D, E and K which needs to be combined with fats to be absorbed by the body.

For a health food, Avocados are surprisingly tasty and can be included in your diet in so many ways.  While their softness makes them a favorite baby food, they can be crushed on toast for a healthy snack or used in salads either in slices or softened as a dressing to replace high-fat mayonnaise or other unhealthy salad dressings – guacamole has Avocados as their main ingredient after all.  You can find a use for Avocados at every meal of the day!

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5. Broccoli

While every child learns the nutritious benefits of green, leafy vegetables, they are rarely the most enjoyable item at the dinner table.  While other vegetables, such as spinach, are known for their health benefits, broccoli has the advantage in terms of taste and popularity. Fat-free and high in fiber, broccoli boasts a wide array of nutrients. it is high in fiber, very high in vitamin C and has potassium, B6, and vitamin A, as well as a large amount of protein for a vegetable.

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These nutrients are all anti-oxidants which remove unstable molecules from the body before they damage cells, and thus combat cancer and clogged arteries. Broccoli also enjoys high levels of phytochemicals which give plants their color, smell, and flavor, but which also benefit the immune system. The fiber can combine with bad cholesterol and remove it from the body, thus reducing harmful cholesterol levels in the blood.

In addition to reducing cholesterol, the sulforaphane in broccoli is an anti-inflammatory which can prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems. And the vegetable’s B-complex vitamins can help regulate or reduce excessive homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease by converting it to a less harmful molecule.

Usually sautéed or steamed, I recommend you try a whole head of broccoli roasted in the oven with olive oil.  Boiled, (which often means over-boiled) broccoli is the least healthy way of preparing it because of most of the nutrients leach out into the water. It can be eaten raw, although it is often combined with a crudité dip which undoes all the healthy benefits of the vegetable itself. The young vegetables make an interesting addition to a salad.

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6. Oatmeal

While it has been known for many years that oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol, which can clog up arteries, new research has discovered additional benefits:  Some of the fiber in oats is called beta-glucan which reduces LDL cholesterol, non-HDC cholesterol, and apoB which carries cholesterol through the blood.  This means that oatmeal is particularly good at improving cholesterol measures because it improves three different factors.

Fibre is, of course, good for digestion as well and oats offer more soluble than other grains, which is an extra benefit. Beta-glucan, being a soluble fiber, actually slows down digestion in the intestines. This helps to keep blood-sugar levels more stable as the body doesn’t absorb sugar so quickly – which can also benefit diabetes sufferers. It also appears to help stimulate the immune system, though this has not been clinically proven as yet.

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There is a particularly powerful anti-oxidant found almost exclusively in oats, called avenanthramides. Avenanthramides are thought to lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the blood. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow.  In addition, oats contain a particularly powerful anti-oxidant called ferulic acid which is not only more powerful than vitamin E and C, but it enhances the abilities of the other-anti-oxidants.

Instant oats are less nutritious because they have been processed more. Rolled, crushed or steel-cut oat is preferred. Proper oatmeal is a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  Half a cup of oats will contain a balanced selection of nutrients as well as 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, but only 300 calories. This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

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7. Oily Fish

Oily fish refers to fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower the risk of heart disease, improve mental ability, and protect against cancer, dementia, and arthritis.  Fish are probably the only food which can provide us with vitamin D. While lack of Vitamin D is usually associated with lack of exposure to sunlight, fear of skin cancer has begun to cause Vitamin D deficiency even in sunny countries.

Fish oils are also particularly good at lowering the level of a certain type of fat in the blood – triglycerides – an excess of which can collect in your arteries and clog them. Fish oils also help to lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, lower heart and stroke risks and reduce irregular heartbeats. They also increase the levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL.  Of course, they are also a good source of protein with low-fat content.

As attractive as fish seem to be in terms of healthy eating, it is possible (but unlikely) to eat so much fish that the levels of fish oils become dangerous.  In addition, fish high on the marine food chain, such as tuna, may contain high levels of poisonous heavy metals such as mercury.  Pregnant women should be careful about eating certain kinds of fish, though the Omega-3s in fish oil is essential for the baby’s early growth and development.

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The oil in oily fish is also useful for carrying certain nutrients which depend upon fat to be absorbed into the body, which makes fish particularly healthy. As is common with most foods that benefit the heart, eating fish regularly offers a variety of other health benefits many other areas of the body.  Try to eat fish at least twice a week, preferably with a meal that contains some fat which helps it to be absorbed. If you are allergic to fish, walnut oil is similar in nature

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8. Nuts

Nuts contain a lot of goodness in a small package. They are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids (the good fat) in the form of both monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat (omega-6 and omega-3). They are easy to store, provide lots of fiber, protein, and nutrients and can easily be eaten on the go – this makes them an easy alternative to unhealthy snacks.  They might be one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy.

Just be careful not to eat too many because they are high in calories and many of us like the salted varieties – and salt is also better in small quantities.  And of course, some people are allergic to certain types.  The evidence on whether nuts are good for your heart is yet to be fully clarified.  However, there is evidence that specific nuts can have a beneficial effect on your heart, your blood sugar, and many other chronic diseases.

Almonds, for example, can lower your bad cholesterol level (LDL) while also working to help you reduce your weight, which is always a good thing.  They are high in protein and fiber and contain vitamin E, calcium, copper, and magnesium. Eating pistachios will help lower your blood pressure when you’re under stress, while also helping reduce your LDL level.  Walnuts are noted for their high levels of good fats, increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL.

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Peanuts, (which are actually a type of bean) are often considered to be less healthy than tree nuts, but actually, do offer many of the same benefits. Various studies have shown a good impact on heart problems and Type 2 diabetes. However, eating too many of them can hit your waistline worse than tree nuts might, and of course, most of our peanut snacks are salted, so be careful.  All other nuts have similar general health benefits, so don’t limit yourself to the ones listed above.

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9. Olive Oil

Olive oil is the pressed oil from olives – in its pure form, it is known as extra virgin olive oil. If it’s not extra virgin, it means it has been refined or diluted with cheaper oils and is therefore not as good for you. Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants and contains vitamins E and K plus the good fatty acids. Olive oil has its own anti-inflammatory properties, which can also help keep your arteries strong and working well.

The beauty of olive oil is that it is so much tastier than most of its alternatives and can be added to your diet in so many ways.  It is also a great substitute for some of the worst offenders in our diet, such as polyunsaturated fats and butter. Did you know that in many Middle Eastern countries, olive oil is the go-to spread for bread and toast rather than butter? It is also so much easier to spread on a cold day and is great for dipping your bread into with a little bit of balsamic vinegar added.

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Even though it is a “good” fat, it is still a fat which should be eaten in moderation. While the benefits of olive oil in your diet is known from population studies, scientists in the laboratory still don’t fully understand why olive oil is good for your heart. However, there does seem to be signs that the combination of olive oil and green vegetables creates a molecule called “nitro fatty acid” which can relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.

The other benefit of olive oil is that it is so easy to combine with other foods which benefit the heart, such as asparagus, garlic or even broccoli.  If you’re like me, thinking about the Mediterranean diet takes you to Italy, which has enough wonderful recipes to keep you going for years.  Just remember that each and every country around the Med has its own wonderful tastes to discover, many of which include olive oil.

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10. Coffee

While in the past coffee has been generally considered bad for heart health, researchers have started looking beyond caffeine and found that coffee contains many other compounds which make it less bad for you than previously thought, and may even promote heart health.  While caffeine can exacerbate the symptoms of people who suffer from an irregular heartbeat, there doesn’t seem to be evidence that caffeine will actually cause arrhythmia.

The old belief that coffee can cause high blood pressure is also not true.  While it doesn’t cause high blood pressure, coffee can still worsen symptoms for people who suffer from it. In fact, population studies have shown that coffee drinkers enjoy a lower risk of heart-related problems than the general population.  However, notwithstanding these health benefits, too much coffee can be a problem.

As with all the foods listed here, coffee boasts a high concentration of polyphenols—the antioxidants which help offset inflammatory mediators in the blood and which help protect the whole body from a wide range of illnesses, not just heart disease. It seems that coffee supports the endothelial cells which line the arteries and thus allow better blood flow so that the heart has less strain and thus reduces the likelihood of heart issues.

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There is also broad evidence that coffee intake has other general health benefits and that it can help ward off Alzheimer’s and cancer.  Just remember that the sugar you add to your coffee is still bad for your health.  Experiment with different types of coffee and ways of brewing coffee to find one which you might enjoy without milk or sugar. With a little determination, you might find that you enjoy black coffee with no sugar.

11. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has enjoyed some highs and lows recently. First touted as the latest “super-food”, it was then found to increase bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood – it has more saturated fat (the bad one) than butter. In fact, it consists of nearly 90% saturated fatty acids. It also boosts good (HDL) cholesterol production and has been shown to reduce weight and waistlines in people with heart issues (all helpful things in warding off heart disease).

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Recent research has shown that the saturated fat found in coconut oil is not the same as the “bad” saturated fat you find in butter or meat. The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) that make up coconut oil’s saturated fat are dealt with by your body differently to the long chain fatty acids found in other fats. They actually end up being a good source of energy and ketones which can help with some brain disorders like epilepsy or Alzheimers.

The energy that comes from the MCTs can also make you burn calories quicker and help with your weight over the long term.  At the same time, the ketones can reduce your appetite causing you to eat less, thus increasing any weight loss.  Even better, it seems the weight loss is often centered on belly fat which is one of the highest risk factors for heart problems. Combined with the increase in HDL and the reduction of LDL cholesterols, your arteries are better protected.

Coconut oil is definitely proving to be a true “super-food” and has a multitude of other benefits and uses. Make sure you buy organic or extra virgin oil though, as the refined oils will not have the same chemical make-up. You can use it for cooking at a high heat, baking, salad dressings, sauces, coffee creamer, to make healthy snacks and as a replacement for butter or other oils. You can also use it as a beauty treatment for your skin or hair.

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12. Orange Juice

Orange juice is an easy and simple addition to make your diet more heart-healthy – if it isn’t on your regular diet already.  Orange juice is the classic source of Vitamin C and provides a range of nutrients and anti-oxidants, such as potassium, folate, and thiamine. In particular, an antioxidant in orange juice called hesperidin is a flavonoid compound which improves the health of the delicate endothelial cells that line blood vessels and thus prevent heart attacks and strokes.

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Make sure that you choose complete, fresh orange juice with no added sugar, for best results.  Of course, orange juice contains many other healthful nutrients. Try and buy the juice which retains the pulp, as this contains the fiber which has its own benefits.  In fact, include actual citrus fruits in your diet whenever you can. Orange juice is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are good for lowering blood pressure levels.

Orange juice has lower sugar levels and higher nutrient levels than most other juices, which supports its broad health benefits. The many other health benefits of oranges combine to make for a generally healthier body which will relieve the heart of the need to strain. Several studies have reported that orange juice intake had beneficial impacts on various markers of oxidative stress and inflammation which can damage your health, including heart health.

Some of these benefits include a stronger immune system, stronger, bones, better brain-cell health, improved collagen production for healthier skin, while the Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which in its turn helps the blood absorb oxygen – a key factor in helping your heart.  Thus, washing your iron tablet down with a glass of orange juice will help it to be absorbed quicker. However, drink orange juice in moderation. A single glass of orange juice in the morning is adequate.

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13. Spirulina

You probably don’t spend much time worrying that you may not be getting enough freshwater blue-green algae in your diet, but we hope to change that.  Given that most of us don’t follow the healthiest of diets, there is space on this list for a natural supplement that can boost your intake of the right nutrients.  Spirulina is basically pond scum, a natural “algae”, high in protein, antioxidants, and B-Vitamins, but is dried and completely safe to eat when you buy it in shops.

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Its cousin Chlorella shares most of the same benefits, but it sounds too similar to the disease to recommend it.  However, if it’s on special in the health food aisle, go for it. Spirulina has a broad range of health benefits.  With regard to the heart, it helps reduce blood pressure problems and repairs the endothelial cells which line the blood vessels and are easily damaged.  It will also reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

Its ability to clean up clogged arteries means that the risk of a stroke is also reduced. Nutrient-dense, protein-rich (it is 70% protein by weight), foods like spirulina take more energy to metabolize, and will, therefore, help reduce weight.  It also seems to reduce hunger pangs, particularly among overweight people. It extracts sugar from your cells, boosting your energy levels, and may also repair brain cell damage, improve memory and general cognitive function.

Other benefits include its ability to extract dangerous heavy metals from our bodies. While Westerners may worry about absorbing mercury from fish, Asians are often troubled by arsenic found in river water. It also helps balance the microbiome in the gut, thereby combatting thrush and similar infections and works to lower blood sugar levels. As always, speak to your doctor before adding supplements to your diet, and make sure you buy high-quality supplements from a reputable supplier.

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14. Whole Grains

Carbohydrates are generally considered a bad dietary choice these days, but that is usually because we are eating the bad ones where the goodness has been refined out of the food.  Fibre is an important component of a heart-healthy diet, but most people only eat half of the required daily amount.  Fibre mainly comes from whole grains and vegetables and fruit, and everyone knows we are not eating enough veggies and fruit.

So don’t leave the carbs out of your diet – just make sure at least half of them are the good ones.  Fibre helps the heart by removing bad cholesterol from the body and can also reduce blood pressure problems. Switching to high-fiber substitutes from refined grains is an easy choice to make, so replace your cereal with a high fiber alternative and wholewheat pasta, brown bread and brown rice instead.

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Since brown bread is man-made, spend some time shopping for a bread that has the best fiber load and watches out for added ingredients like extra sugar and salt which may detract from the health benefits of the product.  It may not be called “brown bread” but with a little effort you can find something that you enjoy but still offers whole grain health benefits.

Fibre can help you feel full but passes through your body undigested, indeed it can extract certain foods along the way; which means that it adds no calories and can actually reduce your calories.  The fiber in whole grains is usually of the insoluble variety, which means you should ensure you have oats, beans, and legumes in your diet to provide soluble fiber, which is the other useful type.  Make sure you drink lots of water to complement your fiber intake.

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15. Green Tea

Green tea is another easy substitute to make in your diet with great heart-health benefits.  Green tea is a refreshing, light aromatic tea which can reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.  Green tea contains polyphenols such as catechins and flavonoids – these are the antioxidants that give green tea its greatest health benefits. Green tea drinkers can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%!

While the catechins are available as a separate health supplement, drinking green tea bring a number of extra health benefits as well. One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.   Green tea also contains caffeine, although less than in coffee, which is a stimulant.

Caffeine, in combination with the amino acid L-theanine which is also in green tea, helps improve brain function. It can also slow down the impact of aging on brain neurons, in particular, fighting off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Small studies have shown that green tea can increase the body’s metabolic rate, thus burning more energy and producing weight loss. The many anti-oxidants and nutrients in green tea attack free radicals in the body, helping defend the body against various types of cancers.

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The same catechins which are such powerful antioxidants also have antibacterial properties and are particularly helpful in keeping mouth bacteria under control and reducing tooth decay and bad breath. By improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar levels, green tea helps people with diabetes or who are high risk for diabetes.  The overall benefits of green tea – indeed all the foods listed here – mean that it can contribute to a longer and healthier life.

16. Foods Fortified by Plant Sterols

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The term phytosterols include both plant sterols and plant stanols. Both are chemicals that occur naturally in plants. They have no taste or odor, so it’s easy for manufacturers to fortify foods with them. The original flavor of the food won’t be affected by the fortification. They work because their structure is the same as that as cholesterol. That means that they compete with cholesterol for the opportunity to be absorbed in the intestine. And they tend to be victorious. They are absorbed instead of the cholesterol. They don’t cause the same harm that cholesterol does. So, when your body absorbs them instead of cholesterol, your arteries can’t get clogged.

Studies conducted have shown that consuming foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols does lower the levels of cholesterol in the body. But you need to eat them every day to take advantage of their benefits. Foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols include wholegrain bread and cereals, rice and pasta, and reduced-fat dairy products.

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17. Turmeric

Turmeric is traditionally used in Indian cooking. It gives curries their yellowish color. Not only is it tasty, but it also creates a pleasing aesthetic when you use it in your cooking. But, even more importantly, it has a variety of healing properties. Its active ingredient is curcumin. This substance is rich in antioxidants. They stop fatty deposits from building up in your arteries before they even start. Some study has been done on turmeric and its effect on the health of your arteries. Mice were the subjects of the study. After 16 weeks, those mice fed a diet rich in curcumin had a 26% reduction in fatty deposits in their arteries. This means that curcumin may prevent the development of atherosclerosis.

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can help to reduce the damage clogging does to your arteries. If you’re not a curry fan, you can still get turmeric into your diet. Try out a golden latte. It’s a beverage made with a healthy sprinkling of turmeric.

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18. Persimmons

A persimmon is a fruit that looks like a large tomato. Its flesh is sweet which makes it highly favorable to the palate. You can eat them as they are or include them in salads and baked pies and cakes. They are produced in China, Korea, and Japan. However, they are also grown in Southern Europe, Britain, and America.

Persimmons reduce LDL levels. These low-density lipoproteins are the so-called bad cholesterol. Left unchecked, high levels of LDL can clog up your arteries, making you a heart attack waiting to happen. Persimmons also reduce triglycerides. Triglycerides are lipids (fats) found in your body. They are formed in the body when it converts calories it doesn’t require into straight away into triglycerides. The fewer fats you have stored in your body, the less likely they are to clog up your arteries. Persimmons are full of antioxidants and polyphenols. There is also fiber present which clears the arteries and regulates the blood pressure.

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19. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is an inexpensive yet effective way to treat heart diseases such as clogged arteries. Studies into its efficacy show that cinnamon can have a positive effect on your heart. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants. They prevent oxidative stress. The oxidation process can lead to free radicals affecting the blood cells and damaging blood vessels such as the coronary arteries. These free radicals can do a lot of damage to the body and may even cause some forms of cancer.

During research, rats were fed a cinnamon diet. When their blood was studied, it was found to contain higher levels of antioxidants. The main component of cinnamon is called cinnamaldehyde. It has been studied for its capacity for preventing the formation of blood clots and reducing platelet aggregation. Platelet aggregation can cause blood clots to form in the arteries. Cinnamon is also a rich source of calcium, manganese, and fiber. These help with the production of bile which is made possible by the breakdown of cholesterol.

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20. Cranberries

The cranberry is often underrated and estimated. But it is proof that dynamite does come in small packages. These little berries of full of amazing compounds that are good for your overall health and well-being. Research indicates that cranberries are full of phytonutrients. These, in turn, contain polyphenols. Polyphenols have a vascular impact. They improve the health of your blood vessels.

A study conducted on 10 men showed growing improvements in their circulation, arterial rigidity, and blood pressure. The men had to drink just under 2 cups of sweetened cranberry juice diluted at different ratios with water. Even the cranberry juice mixed with other fruit juice such as that you can buy at the grocery store made a difference. This juice usually has a 25-27% cranberry juice content. Other studies have shown that cranberry sauce is equally beneficial. The research shows that it is a good idea to include cranberries in your diet. But you need to use them in combination with other remedies to unclog your arteries.

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21. Cheese

You would think that cheese would be a big culprit in the clogging up of your arteries. This is not necessarily the case. It’s possible that cheese could lower your blood pressure. This is good news. High blood pressure increases the rate at which arterial plaque builds up in the arteries. It also speeds up the hardening of the clogs in the arteries. High blood pressure is a warning sign that your arteries may be clogged. It could put you at risk of a heart attack.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School saw some surprising results when it comes to cheese. Those that ate three daily servings of low-fat dairy have lower blood pressure than those who do not. But readers should note the keyword here: low-fat. It is essential to read the labels when you buy dairy products to make sure they’re low-fat. Otherwise, you’ll be adding to your problems with clogged arteries instead of solving them.

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22. Watermelon

There’s nothing to beat a delicious slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day. It’s sweet and refreshing. It’s the perfect base for a fruit salad. Or you can enjoy some own its own. Not only that, it’s an excellent diet food. Watermelon is recommended for people who want to lose weight. In addition to this benefit of watermelon, it can assist in the protection of your heart as well. It contains an amino acid called L-citrulline.

A study conducted at Florida State University studied people who were given a 4,000mg dose of L-citrulline. After a mere six weeks, their blood pressure had declined. It’s believed that the amino acids in watermelon help the body produce nitric oxide. This substance widens the blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow to the heart more easily. It also decreases the rate at which plaque grows in the arteries and prevents blood clots from forming. People with pre-existing heart conditions take nitroglycerin. It works by converting into nitric oxide.

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23. Spinach

There are so many benefits to including spinach in your diet. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. All leafy green vegetables are good for you, and spinach is no exception. Two of the most important substances we get from spinach are potassium and folate. These two substances are believed to your blood pressure which puts less strain on the arteries.

One of the most important things to remember with spinach is that cooking it removes a lot of the vitamins and minerals it contains. That’s why it’s a good idea to steam it gently or eat it raw. It might not suit everyone’s palate to each spinach this way. But raw spinach in a smoothie with some chocolate-flavored protein powder is the ideal way to get your daily portion. You can also include it in salads or serve it as an omelet filling. A single serving of leafy green vegetables like spinach each day can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by up to 11%.

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24. Lentils

Lentils contain a protein and fiber punch that your body needs to stay healthy. The lentil is a member of the legume family of vegetables. This includes beans and peas. Lentils grow in pods. You can get green, red, brown, and black lentils. They contain high amounts of folate and manganese. That’s why lentils are essential in reducing your risk of heart disease and other conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

The fiber in lentils reduces the LDL levels in the body. These ‘bad cholesterol’ levels can cause your arteries to clog up. The potassium, magnesium, and calcium in lentils are thought to reduce your blood pressure. You can substitute meat with lentils if you have really high cholesterol levels and you need to make radical changes to your diet. Another attractive factor about lentils is that they are inexpensive and easy to cook. They can also be incorporated into stews and soups to add fiber and flavor. And they help to ensure your arteries don’t get clogged up.

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25. Beans

Beans come in various forms. Among others, you get great northern beans, fava beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, and chickpeas. Contrary to its name, the chickpea is a bean. It’s also known as the garbanzo bean. And let’s not forget the good old baked bean in tomato sauce. All of them are extremely healthy for you as they contain a lot of protein and soluble fiber.

The protein found in beans is essential for the unclogging of your arteries. Proteins contain all the amino acids your body needs. They are the building blocks of all the cells in your body. They also help to reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Soluble fiber binds to your body’s bile salts which ensures your body doesn’t reabsorb them. It keeps blood sugar spikes under control. These episodes increase the amount of cholesterol in your body. The reason for this is that a blood sugar spike causes the liver to produce more cholesterol.

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26. Spices and herbs

To unclog your arteries, you can do something as simple as adding spices and herbs to your diet. Not only are they good for you, but they also add a special flavor to a meal and make it taste better. Spices and herbs are harvested from plants. These plants are able to protect their own cells from pests, etc. When the plant is converted into an herb or spice, it still has those protective powers. Except now, it’s protecting the cells of your body.

Examples of spices you should keep in your home and use in your cooking are plentiful. Here are just a few: Garlic improves cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Both of these properties reduce your risk of heart disease. Turmeric’s main ingredient is curcumin. This spice reduces your cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as your blood sugar. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that thin the blood, preventing clots. Cinnamon improves your circulation and keeps your blood sugar under control. Other examples include nutmeg, allspice, nutmeg, and Italian seasoning.

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27. Chia Seeds

The chia seed is a plant-based food that has the highest concentration of Omega-3 oils. It contains more than salmon, which is widely believed to be the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in calcium. In fact, they contain more calcium than milk. They also contain more magnesium than broccoli. And the fact that they’re packed with magnesium is also important for your overall health and well-being.

Chia seeds contain a lot of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is important in the fight against cholesterol. Your liver makes bile acid to digest foods. It needs cholesterol to make bile acid. Eating soluble fiber stimulates the need for bile acid. So, by eating foods such as chia seeds, you increase the need for bile acid and reduce cholesterol levels. The best part about chia seeds is that you can include them in just about any dish you serve as they have no taste. So, they won’t affect the flavor of your cooking.

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28. Tomatoes

If you’ve ever wondered why tomatoes are red, here’s your answer. They contain an antioxidant called proteinoid lycopene. It’s also found in green tomatoes or light red tomatoes as well. A diet that contains a lot of lycopene can lower the oxidation of bad cholesterol in your body. Bad cholesterol is what clogs up your arteries and causes atherosclerosis. It is the LDL cholesterol we must avoid. It also reduces the build-up of plaque in your arteries.

When we’re told about the important components in fruits and vegetables that are good for us, we’re told cooking them reduces the goodness. With tomatoes, this is not true. Their lycopene levels are stronger in tomatoes that have been cooked. In addition to the powerful antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes contain high levels of Vitamin A and C, as well as folic acid and beta-carotene. Tomatoes have anti-inflammatory properties which can lower the risk of heart disease. Increased inflammation in the arteries can lead to their susceptibility to becoming clogged.

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29. Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, the saying goes. And it appears that it’s more than an adage, it’s the truth. Researchers at Ohio State University discovered that eating an apple a day reduced the hardening of arteries up to 40%. The magic ingredient in apples that makes it great for unclogging your arteries is called pectin. It gives the fruit its firmness, which allows us to enjoy a crisp apple. Pectin is a complex substance. It contains polysaccharides and a sugar residue called D-galacturonic acid.

Pectin seems to lower the levels of cholesterol in the body. It contains a lot of insoluble fiber. For this fiber to be digested, it needs bile acid. To make bile acid, the liver uses cholesterol. The more cholesterol used to digest insoluble fiber, the less there is to clog up your arteries. The LDL levels are lowered in the body when insoluble fiber such as that in apples is introduced to the digestive system.

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30. Flaxseeds

A study conducted and published in the American Journal of Physiology and Circulation Research looked at the effects of flaxseeds on rabbits. They found that introducing flaxseed into the rabbits’ diet slowed down the progression of atherosclerosis. This is the build-up of plaque in the arteries which can cause the blockage or constriction of an artery. This results in a heart attack. It’s not yet clear though if flaxseeds can reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries that has already accumulated.

Flaxseeds are a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This is essential to the metabolic process. It is not produced in the body and needs to be obtained from food sources. The soluble fiber in flaxseed is important as it stimulates the production of bile acids which help to expel waste from the body. There are lots of ways to include flaxseed in your diet. You can buy it ground to a fine powder. This can be included in a bowl of cereal or oatmeal.

 

MedicalNews

 

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