Our cardiovascular system is responsible for keeping us alive by pumping oxygen into each and every cell of the body. Heart, arteries and veins are its components and each of them needs to be kept in sound health for smooth functioning of the body organs and for life itself. Arteries supply oxygen-rich blood from the heart to different body organs and hence nourish them. However, with our current poor dietary habits, arteries get clogged with cholesterol and start functioning poorly. Blood supply is restricted, leading to high blood pressure and overall poor heart function.
We consume foods which are high in cholesterol, a type of fat that deposits in the arteries, hardening them. This leads to clogging of arteries and reduced oxygen flow. The poor state of our arteries is a major factor contributing to coronary heart disease and hypertension. Stress, smoking, junk foods rich in saturated and trans fats contribute to ill-health of the cardiovascular system.
Ways to reduce blood cholesterol and hypertension:
* Consume more servings of fruits and vegetables as they contain large quantities of fiber and vitamins.
* Vitamins have anti-oxidant properties which help in combating free radicals that damage the arteries.
* Caffeinated drinks must be consumed in moderation as they tend to increase blood pressure.
* Curb consumption of foods rich in saturated fats and trans fats. Packaged foods like biscuits, cookies, cakes, snacks, etc. are rich in these two unhealthy types of lipids.
* Consume a handful of nuts like walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds for the heart-nourishing mono and polyunsaturated fats or good fats.
* Go for natural foods good for the heart and arteries like garlic and onions. These are proven by studies to lower cholesterol as they contain allicin, a compound which can lower cholesterol levels. You can also go for odor-free garlic capsules which are available in the market and are more socially acceptable.
* Grapefruit and red wine are a very good source of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that give the rich color, fragrance and taste to red grapes. Red grape extracts, available in the form of ResverMaxTM, have proven health benefits according to clinical studies. These are known to reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure up to a significant level in studies.
* Moderate aerobic exercises like walking and light jogging are beneficial in bringing down your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.