Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In a 2003 Time magazine article, on women and heart disease, “The No. 1 Killer of Women”, Gorman reveals that heart disease is the number one killer of women and that one in three women will die of heart disease. Women worry about cervical and breast cancer, yet more women die of heart disease than of all cancers combined! It is estimated that one in three Americans will eventually die from this disease.
Several factors are believed to promote atherosclerosis. These include high cholesterol levels, hypertension, cigarette smoking, and diabetes (Percival, 1998). There is now evidence that a critical step the development of atherosclerosis is the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) within the arterial wall. In other words, this proposal, supported by several epidemiological studies, links low intakes of dietary antioxidants to an increased frequency of heart disease. An inverse relationship between heart disease and plasma antioxidant levels has also been reported. Antioxidants prevent LDL oxidation and retard the progression of atherosclerosis in animal models (Percival, 1998). Vitamin E functions together with CoQ10 to reduce blood cholesterol.
In human studies it was shown that supplemental vitamin E:
Increased vitamin E levels in LDL,
Increased the resistance of LDL to oxidation, and
Decreased the rate of LDL oxidation.
Nurses who consumed higher amounts of vitamin E on a regular basis had a 41% lower incidence of heart disease than nurses who consumed the lowest level of vitamin E from their diet and supplements.
Dietary increases in antioxidant vitamins may reduce the risk of heart disease by 20-30%.
A poor concentration of any single one of the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta carotene, appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Several suboptimal antioxidant concentrations may have an additive or even synergistic affect on increasing the risk of heart disease.
Numerous epidemiologic studies show that regular consumption of foods and beverages rich in antioxidant vitamins and flavonoids decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality (Steinberg et al, 2003). Foods that have been identified as having a high polyphenolic flavonoid content include many fruits and vegetables such as apples and onions, teas (green and black), red wines, and certain chocolates. Ames et al (1993) in an article, “Antioxidants and cardiovascular disease”, notes that “A major development in cardiovascular disease research is the finding that oxidation reactions play a central role in atherogenesis (hardening of the arteries) and that in epidemiological studies cardiovascular disease is associated with low plasma concentrations of ascorbate, tocopherol and ß-carotene”. The beneficial effects of dietary antioxidants is also strengthened by animal and biochemical studies.
The incorporation of antioxidants like dark chocolate,cocoa powder, fruit, vegetables, vitamin C, and rooibos tea, results in a high antioxidant intake and may consequently reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Selected heart protecting products
Homocysteine is associated with cardiovascular disease. Historically, beets have been used to support liver functions. Beets contain betaine, which helps the liver to process fats and plays a role in reducing homocysteine.
The AIM Garden Trio includes RediBeets® as a food supplement.
BarleyLife® contains beta carotene, an important antioxidant. Dr. Johnson, and Professor Mokler (2001) also note that “Barley grass appears to contain significant levels of antioxidants, the most important being 2”-O-glycosyl isovitexin (2”-O-GIV), which is an isoflavonoid.” The 2”-O-GIV antioxidant has been shown inhibit superoxide and hydroxyl radical formation.
Just Carrots® is carrot juice, and contains many important nutrients - beta carotene and other carotenoids.
Always consult your doctor. This site is for information purposes and does not prescribe products. Confirm all details with a specialist (see disclaimer).