The Role of Antioxidants in Protecting Your Heart Health
Antioxidants are amazing for your health, their role extends from fighting free radicals to keeping off degenerative diseases. Their role in improving health and preventing diseases is proven without doubt via a plethora of studies.
Recent studies reveal antioxidant’s astounding heart protecting benefits. It turns out that if you have a good amount of antioxidants in your body, it protects your heart from risky cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, strokes, high blood pressure, plaques, and high cholesterol. Antioxidants are everywhere in your body – every cell and tissue always ready to scavenge free radicals, but beware, if you fall short of antioxidants, free radicals take over and cause a rampage.
Free radical are implicated in heart diseases
Free radicals literally deplete your body’s antioxidant reserve leading to many health issues. To date, many research studies have shown that free radical damage is directly linked to heart conditions like arteriosclerosis (the thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries), ischemic heart disease (reduced blood supply to the heart), congestive heart failure (weakened heart), hypertrophy and arrhythmias ( irregular heart beat) (1). These studies indicate that during conditions of ischemia, the body’s antioxidant reserve and antioxidant enzymes are reduced due to free radicals (2,3,4). This is why it is critical to maintain your antioxidant levels.
The good news is, if you do have optimal levels of antioxidants in your blood, it delivers the best protection for your heart! And studies confirm this as well.
How exactly antioxidants confer heart healthy effects?
Antioxidant compounds like polyphenols can be beneficial to your heart in more than just one way. Here is an overview you how your heart is protected by antioxidants.
Lowers inflammation: Antioxidants like resveratrol, a type of polyphenolic compound is found to be helpful in lowering inflammation. It prevents the formation of two molecules that are known to trigger inflammation, namely sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D. Resveratrol also reduces the production of lipids and eicosanoid compounds, which promote inflammation and heart disease.
Healthy blood pressure levels: Antioxidant compounds exert a beneficial effect, especially to the innermost lining of the blood vessels, by the possible increase in nitric oxide levels. This allows for the blood vessels supplying the heart to expand and contract efficiently in response to the flow of blood in and out of the heart. This helps to maintain a stable blood pressure, which is crucial for a healthy heart function (5).
Lowers oxidation of cholesterol: Oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) is identified to promote the fatty streak formation, causing heart blockages (6). Epidemiological data suggests that decreased levels of micronutrient antioxidants are associated with an increased frequency of cardiovascular disease. Presence of optimal levels of blood antioxidants prevent the oxidation of LDL compounds and thus lower the risk of heart diseases.
Efficiently scavenges free radicals: Polyphenolic antioxidants are highly efficient in donating a hydrogen atom to unstable free radicals to neutralize them. Another study shows polyphenols are capable of binding to free metal (copper) ions and diminishing the generation of free radicals.
Indeed, all this implies that by consuming enough antioxidants you can aid in protecting your heart and adding quality years to your life. There is no doubt that antioxidants have a major role in protecting your heart, however, it is also important to consume fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and beans to have best heart health. These foods are not only rich in antioxidants but also provide important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which have a primary role in lowering the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends consuming a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich fish, while limiting saturated and trans-fats. It also recommends cutting back on added sugar and replacing refined carbohydrates with whole grains.
Keep in mind, consuming a variety of plant-based foods rich in antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients, along with plenty of exercise and physical activity are the cornerstones to impeccable heart health. If you are looking to add antioxidants to your diet through the use of a supplement take a look at our Super Antioxidant Isotonic Formula OPCXtra. To learn more about OptiHealth Product’s OPCXtra please click here.