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11.09.2022
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The heart and the cardiovascular system

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The heart and the cardiovascular system

The heart and the cardiovascular system

Our cardiovascular system is comprised of the heart and blood vessels.

The three primary functions of the cardiovascular system are:

  • Transportation of oxygen, nutrients, and carbon dioxide

It transports nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to all organs and carries the deoxygenated blood to the lungs.

  • Regulation of body temperature

It regulates the functions of organs and tissues by delivering mediators, biologically active substances, and hormones to them; and by changing their blood supply when necessary.

  • Clotting of open wounds

It protects us from excessive bleeding by forming blood clots and by regulating immune and inflammatory processes in the body.

Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

TOP-10 ingredients
for your health and
balanced meal plan
Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

As Hippocrates said, you are what you eat. The meaning of this phrase concerns every person, who takes care of his health. The food we eat has a big impact on our vital activity, state of health and quality of life.

Nowadays healthy diet is very popular and everyone knows that he should give up junk food. But not everyone knows what he must eat except for grain, vegetables and protein food.

It's essential to diversify your diet. Every bite of food should provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are necessary for good health.

So how can we have a proper nutrition plan?

We prepared a PDF-file to help you. It contains TOP-10 ingredients, which should be added to everyone's diet.

It is essential to take good care of your cardiovascular system if you want to live a long and healthy life. In this article we will address the following key topics:

  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and what to do to reduce the risk of CVDs.
  • The foods that are beneficial to our heart and the cardiovascular system.
  • The foods that are bad for the heart and the cardiovascular system.
  • Supplements for heart and cardiovascular health.
  • Activities to make your heart and the cardiovascular system ber.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)

Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. CVDs are the leading cause of death globally.

Research: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)

In the United States alone, the top three causes of death are coronary heart disease, strokes, and heart failure. Most of these are asymptomatic, so one might not even know they had them.

CVDs include:

  • Atrial fibrillation.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Coronary heart disease: atherosclerosis.
  • Hypertension.
  • Stroke.
  • Myocardial infarction.
  • Angina pectoris.

What can we do to reduce the risk of developing heart disease

To answer this question, let’s first have a look at what causes CVDs. 

Some risk factors are out of your control. These include age, gender, ethnicity, and family history.

  • Age

The risk of heart disease increases with age. The risk of CVDs is higher from the age of 55 for women and 45 for men.

Research: What Is Coronary Heart Disease?

  • Gender

Men have a higher risk of developing CVDs.

What can we do to reduce the risk of developing heart disease

  • Family history

Your risk of CVDs is greater if you have close family members with a history of heart diseases.

Other risk factors are within our control:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Being physically inactive
  • Acute or chronic stress

The foods that are beneficial to our heart and the cardiovascular system

  • Bananas are a great source of potassium which is one of the most critical minerals that helps to keep our hearts beating at the right pace, reduces blood pressure, and protects us against strokes.

Research: Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies

Potassium also normalizes our nervous system functions by helping brain cells to communicate with each other and preventing vascular calcification.

Research: How too little potassium may contribute to cardiovascular disease

  • Pomegranate is a yummy and juicy fruit that can strengthen and support your heart and blood vessels. It is a source of some essential antioxidants that help to prevent the development of atherosclerosis and angina pectoris. Pomegranate juice promotes hematopoiesis and is used for treating and preventing anemia.

Research: Pomegranate for Your Cardiovascular Health

  • Raspberries help to normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels, clean the blood vessels, and to strengthen the heart muscle. This berry also helps to eliminate edema – a swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.
  • Peppers, with the red hot pepper being the most beneficial to heart health because of the high levels of capsaicin – a chemical compound that has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce the buildup of vascular plaque.
  • Garlic contains unique substances such as allicin, inulin, and lysine that lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Lemon is one of the most popular sources of Vitamin C as it contains about 50 mg of it! Consuming lemons can help to prevent the development of angina pectoris, tachycardia, coronary artery disease, and hypertension; and help to keep the blood vessels flexible and free from cholesterol buildup. Lemon
  • Tomatoes are a rich lycopene source that can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and platelet aggregation. Eating tomatoes helps to prevent the development of heart attacks and to regulate the heart rhythm.
  • Onion contains various vitamins and minerals which help to keep your heart healthy. Adding onions to your diet helps to prevent the development of atherosclerosis, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, and normalizes hemoglobin levels.
  • Cranberries contain anthocyanins — a group of colorful pigments found in plants — that have antioxidant properties and can destroy unstable molecules, help to remove toxins from our bodies, and prevent heart attacks and strokes.
  • Turmeric is very beneficial to heart health. Daily consumption of this spice can protect your body from free radicals, improve the function of the lining of your blood vessels, and reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis and stroke.

Furthermore, turmeric may help prevent some forms of tumors.

Research: Turmeric and Its Major Compound Curcumin on Health: Bioactive Effects and Safety Profiles for Food, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnological and Medicinal Applications
Clinical effects of curcumin in enhancing cancer therapy: A systematic review

The foods that are bad for your heart and the cardiovascular system

  • Energy drinks
  • Salt (the recommended daily intake of salt is 3-5 grams)
  • Sugar
  • Fatty foods: French fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast food, margarine, cookies, cakes, pastries, crackers, microwave popcorn.

Vitamins and micronutrients beneficial for the heart and the cardiovascular system

Vitamins

Name Properties Sources
Vitamin C  Strengthens the walls of the blood vessels, and reduces cholesterol. apples, rosehips, blackcurrants 
Rutin (a plant pigment) Has powerful antioxidant properties; helps strengthen blood vessels, restores their elasticity, and increases the flexibility. raspberries, apples, citrus fruits, black chokeberries
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)  Stimulates contraction of the heart muscle, keeps it elastic, and normalizes the heart rhythm.  fish, cereals, sunflower seeds, beans 
Vitamin B3 (niacin)  Dilates blood vessels, relieves blood vessels’ spasms, prevents clotting, lowers blood pressure.  fish, eggs, pulses, chicken, green peas, liver
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) Normalizes the metabolism of fat; regulates blood pressure;  

destroys the harmful LDL-cholesterol;

protects against strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis. 

beef liver, dairy products, salmon, tuna 

Micronutrients

Name Properties Sources
Magnesium Dilates blood vessels,   

stabilizes the heart rhythm,

lowers blood pressure,

reduces angina pain.

pumpkins, nuts, cereals, vegetables
Potassium Prevents the hardening of the arteries, and stabilizes the intensity and frequency of the heartbeat.  beetroots, broccoli, bananas, potatoes, avocados
Calcium Strengthens vascular walls and stimulates the ability of our heart to contract.  dairy products, eggs, cheese, chocolate, seafood, dried fruits 
Selenium A powerful antioxidant,   

is used in the prevention of coronary heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. 

Chicken, seafood, sunflower seeds, grainy caviar.

Activities that strengthen your heart and blood vessels

Warm-up exercises

Even five minutes of morning exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing CVD.

Choose between 5-10 simple warm-up exercises and do them every morning.

Squats

  1. Start with your back against a wall.
  2. Place your feet on the ground in front of you, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly slide your back down the wall while keeping your core engaged until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  4. Your knees should be directly above your ankles.
  5. Keep your back flat against the wall.
  6. Hold this position for 20-60 seconds.
  7. Slide slowly back up the wall to a standing position.
  8. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat the exercise three more times.

Squats

Nordic Walking

It is a style of walking that uses special poles. It combines cardiovascular exercise with muscle workouts for your shoulders, arms, core, and legs. 

Nordic walking is especially recommended for people over 50 as it helps to strengthen the heart and to reduce pain and stiffness.

The material is based on research: