Antioxidants and Heart Health

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Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States? According to www.heart.org, a 2019 study reports that 121.5 million adults in the U.S. – 48% based on 2016 figures – have cardiovascular disease.

The foods we eat and beverages we drink have a profound effect on our overall health and our body’s capabilities. As people are living longer, they want to look and feel their best for as long as possible. Now more than ever, health and wellness are of great importance.

WHAT CAUSES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE?

Cardiovascular disease, often known as heart disease, if often attributed to poor eating habits, lack of exercise, smoking and genetics. Free radicals, unstable atoms that cause destruction to cells, DNA and protein, may be linked to cancer, other diseases and accelerated aging. Free radicals occur naturally as part of our body’s own metabolic processes, but they also form from tobacco use, air pollution, fried foods, alcohol, and sun exposure, just to name a few.

Luckily, people can prevent the formation of free radicals through antioxidant consumption. Antioxidants are the vitamins and other molecules the body uses to counteract the damage caused by free radicals. This chemical process happens in our body every day and can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues.

According to livescience.com, “Our body produces some antioxidants on its own, but an insufficient amount. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals (too many free radicals and too few antioxidants.)”

ANTIOXIDANTS AND THE FIGHT AGAINST FREE RADICALS

Free radicals can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease when arteries build up with plaque that hardens, narrowing the arteries and congesting them. When arteries become clogged, the heart is forced to work much harder in order to receive the blood and oxygen it needs to survive.

Antioxidants can help prevent this process by fighting free radicals and prevent the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the formation of plaque. LDL is a type of cholesterol that is considered harmful to your heart. It collects in your blood vessel walls and can build up over time, causing blockage and attaching onto the plaque in your arteries.

ARONIA BERRIES AND ANTIOXIDANTS

If you are looking to add more antioxidants to your diet, fruits and vegetables are an excellent source and berries are known to have some of the highest antioxidant values. Out of all the “super berries” available today, Aronia berries have more antioxidants than any other berry.

According to healwithfood.org, “the small dark berries of the Aronia melanocarpa plant are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and anthocyanins, and offer wonderful health benefits for those who want to improve their health through better nutrition.”

HEART HEALTH AND ARONIA BERRIES

One major indicator of heart disease is high blood pressure. As stated on www.heart.org, high blood pressure is a major risk of cardiovascular disease and is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it lacks obvious symptoms.

Research has demonstrated that Aronia berries have positive impacts on vascular health, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation. The small purple berries are native to North America and have been used for hundreds of years by indigenous populations as a nutritious food source and in natural remedies. The dark coloring of the berry is an indicator of its anthocyanin content—phenolic plant compounds which have correlated with antioxidant activity. Aronia has significant antioxidant power with high levels of Vitamin C and anthocyanins.

A study titled “Effect of Bioactive Compound of Aronia melanocarpa on Cardiovascular System in Experimental Hypertension,” examined the link between cardiovascular disease and the effect of Aronia on 12-week-old male rats with induced hypertension. The study concluded that active substances of Aronia may have a positive effect on blood pressure and proinflammatory processes in induced hypertension. To read more about the study click here.

As more research is being done, Aronia berries are proving to be beneficial to the heart and the overall health of the human body. It’s crucial to make your health a top priority and the health of your heart is an excellent starting point. Don’t be another statistic, take care of your body and encourage others to do the same.