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   Sep 03

The Effect Of Antioxidants On Your Heart

It’s a debate that continues to spark controversy: Can antioxidants really protect us against heart disease and cardiovascular illness — leading causes of death today? We now know that there are numerous potential factors that drive up risks and fuel cardiovascular disease.

Some of the biggest culprits are related to lifestyle. Among all the possible risk factors for cardiovascular disease, however, there are those that stand out universally: chronic inflammation and oxidization from free radical molecules.

Conflicting Data

Published data links chronic inflammation and oxidative stress with arterial hardening, plaque deposits, blood clots, increased blood thickness (hyper-viscous coagulation), unhealthy cholesterol, weight gain, poor blood chemistry, immune dysfunction and much more. In fact, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress from free radical damage may be at the root of nearly every chronic, life-threatening illness, particularly cardiovascular disease. And antioxidants appear to play a critical, protective role.

Yet large-scale population studies on the cardiovascular benefits of antioxidants show conflicting results. For example, a 2013 meta-analysis review, which examined details from multiple clinical trials, suggested that antioxidant supplements and dietary supplements of vitamins A, C and E, don’t offer much or any protection against cardiovascular disease. They may even be potentially harmful. Other studies reveal similar findings.

However, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidant compounds and other phytonutrients tell a different story. Multiple studies have confirmed a link between a diet of antioxidant-rich foods and significant protection against cardiovascular disease. A 2013, study for example, showed that a diet high in antioxidant foods reduced the risks of heart failure in women. A 2007 review provided further substantiation for consuming five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease.

While researchers continue to debate the effectiveness of vitamin and antioxidant supplements, one thing is clear: Whole foods, herbs and extracts contain an abundance of additional phytonutrients, enzymes, minerals and more that work synergistically to offer comprehensive health support. Because of their complex chemistry, whole foods, herbs and botanicals can offer superior health protection compared to isolated or synthetic single nutrients that the body may have trouble processing.

Whole Nutrition And Tibetan Herbalism

As an integrative physician, my primary recommendations always emphasize whole food dietary therapies and botanical-based supplements because of their comprehensive nutritional properties. To help reduce inflammation and protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic illnesses, you should eat plenty of colorful fruits (particularly berries), leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage and broccoli), raw nuts and seeds, culinary medicinal mushrooms (such as shitake and oyster mushrooms), seaweeds and sprouted whole grains. These are excellent sources of different antioxidants, therapeutic phytonutrients, fiber and high quality protein.

An important supplement extensively shown to support cardiovascular health is a Tibetan Herbal Formula that contains 19 unique herbal ingredients and is rich in protective phytonutrients. The tannins, polyphenol compounds, essential oils, flavonoids and other powerful phytonutrients in this formula all work together synergistically to offer important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They also enhance circulation and improve blood chemistry for greater overall health.

The formula supports immunity, fights infections, aids in wound healing and even helps combat cancer. Over 35 years of published clinical studies support the use of this formula for numerous areas of health, but particularly cardiovascular enhancement.

The Strategy Of Synergy

The benefits of consuming a diverse array of phytonutrients — by eating an assortment of different nutrient-dense foods or combining certain herbal ingredients — are well-established. These powerful health effects can be attributed to the synergistic actions that occur when different compounds work together to enhance each other’s benefits. In other words, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” when certain foods, antioxidants and nutrients are combined.

Research on nutrition benefits and nutrient absorption is just beginning to uncover the ways that certain combinations of foods and botanicals work better together to provide greater health effects and protection against disease. A good example is adding lemon to green tea: The lemon enhances the body’s ability to absorb more antioxidants from the tea. Another example is including citrus and healthy fats with a salad. That allows you to absorb more nutrients from the greens. Similarly, eating broccoli with tomatoes enhances the disease-fighting effects of both vegetables.

These are just a few examples of why food-based nutrition is so important and why we need a diverse array of nutrient-dense foods to protect vitality and longevity, particularly cardiovascular health.

For more information about heart health and wellness, download a report on comprehensive cardiovascular health here.

About the Author: Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz’s comprehensive wellness guides.

Source: Easy Health Options

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