Gary Moller: [DipPhEd PGDipRehab PGDipSportMed(Otago)FCE Certified, Kordel's and Nutra-Life Certified Natural Health Consultant]. ICL Laboratories registered Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Medical Nutrition Consultant.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Nutrients for keeping your arteries healthy flexible

As we get older our arteries tend to lose their flexibility. They harden. This shows as an increase in blood pressure. If we were listening to the pulse of hardening arteries through a stethoscope we would hear a hard wooden knock as compared to a soft thud as the heart ejects each pulse of blood into healthy arteries.

Maintain sexual performance by looking after your arteries
Sexual drive and performance relies on the healthy functioning of a number of mind and body systems, including healthy circulation - the ability of the arteries to contract and relax freely. This applies as much to women as much as it does to men, so strategies to improve arterial health should be beneficial for your sex life as well!

All is not lost. Every part of your body is renewed with even the bones being completely replaced about every 6-7 years or so. So, one can assume that arteries can be softened up to some degree if the conditions are right. This starts with good nutrition and we now know nowadays that there are several nutrients that are beneficial for keeping arteries healthy:

Vitamin E
Vitamin E has been used for decades, if not longer, for softening scar tissue. Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of vitamin E in improving arterial health. This ability to maintain normal blood vessel tone may partly account for vitamin E's benefits in preventing cardiovascular diseases. There has been some adverse, confusing publicity about vitamin E recently. Do not worry; the bulk of the evidence is in favour of the health benefits of natural vitamin E. Stay away from synthetic vitamin E.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy collagen tissue. The extreme of unhealthy collagen due to vitamin C deficiency if scurvy. Arteries are made up of collagen among other substances. Vitamin C can also provide some protection of the blood vessels against homocycsteine which is one of the most reliable predictors of heart disease.

L-Arginine
This amino acid is the precursor to nitric oxide, and it is known that nitric oxide can increase the flexibility of arterial walls. Nitric oxide increases endothelial flexibility, and studies have found L-Arginine supplements helpful in angina pain and congestive heart failure. As people age the production of L-Arginine decreases and many experts believe this is responsible for many degenerative processes related to aging. Natural sources include: Nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chocolate, popcorn, raisins, brown rice, carob, gelatin desserts, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and protein rich foods including whey protein.
Vitamin C may further improve the activity of L-arginine.

Garlic
Garlic is rich in antioxidants and increases nitric oxide production. When cloves are chewed, crushed or cut, they release a sulphur-bearing compound called allicin - the chemical that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell. And it's the allicin that scientists have discovered is the magic ingredient thought to be responsible for garlic's many therapeutic qualities. Kyolic garlic and garlic oil are both potent sources of the active ingredients of garlic.

Alpha-Lipoic AcidThis antioxidant has long been used to treat symptoms of diabetic nerve disease. Alpha-lipoic acid works together with other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. It is important for growth, helps to prevent cell damage, and helps the body rid itself of harmful substances. It has recently been shown to be beneficial for blood vessel health. Good food sources of alpha-lipoic acid include spinach, broccoli, beef, yeast (particularly Brewer's yeast), and certain organ meats (such as the kidney and heart).

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)
EPO is rich in the essential gamma-linoleinc acid (GLA), a very valuable fatty acid that is not found in many plants. It has numerous vital functions in the body. GLA is an essential fatty acid that the body does not manufacture. This fatty acid is known to help prevent hardening of the arteries, heart disease, eczema, cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, menopause, PMS, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure. It has a positive effect on sex hormone response including the hormones estrogen and testosterone, aids in lowering cholesterol levels, and is important in treating cirrhosis of the liver. Research also demonstrates that primrose oil helps relieve pain and inflammation.

Flavonoids
Flavonoids are a family of more than 5,000 potent antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Studies are showing the importance of these antioxidants for maintaining cardiovascular health, including healthy blood vessels.

Good sources of flavonoids include all citrus fruits, berries, onions, parsley, legumes, green tea, red wine, seabuckthorn, and dark chocolate. I especially recommend dark berries like blue berries, black berries and boysenberrries.

Fish oil and flaxseed oil
Omega 3 fatty acids have also been proven to work wonders for your heart, arteries and veins that make up your cardiovascular system. They help to lower cholesterol, tryglicerides, LDL and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing good HDL cholesterol.

Minerals, including magnesium
Low mineral levels, particularly magnesium, can result in increased arterial muscle tension and an irregular pulse. Supplementation with magnesium can include a bone broth and a nightly soak in a warm bath of Epsom Salts. A bone broth is also a wonderful natural source of gelatine

Monitor cardiovascular health
If you have high blood pressure, or a heart condition and you are intending to try natural therapies including nutritional supplementation, it is important that you monitor your heart health. Do this daily using a digital blood pressure monitor. Consult your doctor and discuss your plans. Heed any advice given.

These nutrients are good for you when taken according to professional guidance. Even if there is no measurable benefit in cardiovascular health from taking these, you may find a pleasant offshoot: healthy skin, hair and nails!
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