There are many organs and systems vital to keeping the body running at its best. However, few are as critical as the heart and cardiovascular system. Because it is so integral to processes such as oxygen and nutrient transport, improper management and improper care of this system can lead to long-lasting and sometimes fatal results. Because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States it is particularly beneficial to procure means of supporting and improving one’s heart health.
Various factors are associated with increased risk of heart disease and may contribute to its occurrence. These include:
- Lack of exercise/physical activity
- Poor diet
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Poor circulation
- Chronic stress
- Insulin resistance
- High triglycerides
- High cholesterol
With so many variables involved in cardiovascular health it can be daunting trying to resolve and manage each one. However, there are ways to aid in many of these areas without having to completely and immediately change one’s lifestyle.
There are three naturally occurring and impressively beneficial substances that have a remarkably positive impact on one’s heart and cardiovascular health; artichoke, bergamot, and grape seed. Understanding the benefits of each and finding a way to easily incorporate them into one’s diet may lead to improved heart function and ultimately better health overall.
The humble artichoke may seem like an intimidating and particularly difficult vegetable to enjoy. However, if one is willing to put in the effort of preparation, artichokes provide impressive cardiovascular benefits. Most utilize the hearts of artichokes to get the most flavor but the leaves are where the bulk of the nutritional value is stored. Because of this, most artichoke extract is created from the leaves rather than the heart.
Artichokes contain many helpful minerals and is noted as containing some of the highest levels of antioxidants among all plants. This coupled with the cardiovascular protecting agents found within it make artichokes a great food choice not only for heart health but for other areas of the body as well. In fact, consuming artichokes or supplementing with artichoke extract has been tied to reduced LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol. This aids in reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow, both of which are major factors in cardiovascular health.
Helpful substances and various phytonutrients like quercetin, rutin, gallic acid, and cynarin can all be found in artichokes. These elements aid in combatting and preventing various diseases and conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and certain cancers. Notably, cynarin is effective at combatting inflammation, improving blood flow, and regulating cholesterol levels. Furthermore, cynarin promotes bile production in the liver, which facilitates proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Poor digestion can cause one to be deficient in essential nutrients and fatty acids even if they are following a healthy diet. All the impactful benefits of cynarin can be found in good quality artichoke extract. By using such a supplement, one can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Some may recognize bergamot is a flavor of tea but it is actually a fruit that is brimming with flavonoids and polyphenols. These elements are naturally occurring and provide certain antioxidant properties like those found in tea, berries, red wine, and cocoa, which all help prevent cardiovascular disease. Bergamot specifically contains the polyphenols bruteridine and meilidine, which are effective inhibitors of cholesterol biosynthesis. Additionally, this dynamic duo can help reduce triglycerides in the liver, regulate HDL and LDL cholesterol (“good” and “bad” cholesterol respectively), balance blood sugar levels, and improve artery function.
Many find that this fruit and its juices are unpalatable due to their intense bitterness and overwhelming sourness. It is common for teas or other bergamot flavored items to utilize the peel rather than the fruit, which provides a distinct but subtle flavor. Even though the peel contains some of the beneficial elements of this heart-healthy fruit, the real prize is housed within the flesh. Using bergamot extract or a supplement that contains it allows one to acquire all the cardiovascular benefits without subjecting themselves to the intense flavor. This is great news because bergamot aids in relieving arterial stiffness, regulating cholesterol, and disruption of free radicals. However, bergamot is not the only fruit that provides heart-healthy benefits.
Grapes are a widely consumed fruit that most individuals enjoy. Although grapes are commonly eaten, the most nutrient dense portion of them are frequently discarded or bred out. The seeds of the grape offer multiple benefits that are often overlooked. Grape seeds are full of protective antioxidants that shield blood vessels from structural damage that can increase blood pressure. Additionally, they contain OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes), which are known to be effective combatants against free radicals thereby slowing the aging process and helping to prevent a handful of chronic diseases. Unfortunately, because these heart-healthy morsels do not have a particularly desirable taste we tend to avoid consuming them.
Grape seeds and grape seed extract have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and even assist in maintaining a healthy weight. In part, this is because elements within grape seeds promote capillary, arterial, and vein strength. When these systems are working as intended one experiences optimal blood flow as well as optimized artery and tissue flexibility. However, because grape seeds are encapsulated by the sugar-filled fruit of the grape itself, it’s usually not worth eating a bushel of them for the sole purpose of consuming the seeds. Fortunately, one can acquire grape seed extract on its own or combined with other helpful substances.
Putting the Pieces Together
The heart-healthy powerhouses of artichoke, bergamot, and grape seed can be challenging to incorporate into one’s diet individually. Fortunately, HoltraCeuticals produces Heart Solution, a supplement that contains the cardiovascular boosting benefits of all three. By implementing such a supplement into one’s diet, the body is given the tools it needs to achieve greater cardiovascular health. Heart Solution helps the body better regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels while also offering the various benefits of the foods and extracts above. Keep in mind, it is always important to speak to a physician before beginning a new supplement, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition. Through understanding and proper utilization of the amazing natural substances available to us we can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease without bitter and distasteful side-effects.