By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
This week we celebrated Valentine’s Day, a day to show that special someone how much you love and appreciate them. Coincidentally, Valentine’s Day happens every February which is also known as Heart-Health month in the U.S. These two events are a good reminder for us to think about our own hearts as well those of the people we love.
A healthy heart is approximately 250g to 350g (9-12oz). When the heart is diseased it can be as heavy as 1kg (2 lb) in weight. This gives you an indication of what the heart will do to compensate when the cardiovascular system is diseased and the heart is struggling. The heart is approximately the size of a fist and beats approximately 10,000 times per day. *
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and around the world, accounting for more than one in every four deaths in the United States and Australia.
We all know that we need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for good health, but it is always valuable and important that these sentiments are backed up with research.
While “5 a day” has been the mantra for fruit and vegetable consumption, researchers found that those who consumed eight or more servings were 22% less likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed less. **
Recent research from the British Heart Foundation and the University of Oxford suggested that 15,000 lives a year could be saved if everyone ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
The higher the intake of fruits and veggies consistently lowered the risk of heart disease; for every additional serving above two per day, researchers observed a 4% reduction in the rate of heart disease deaths. **
Under rigorously controlled experimental conditions, fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, which is an important cardiovascular risk factor and the soluble fibre in fruits and vegetables also helps block the absorption of cholesterol from food. *** Soluble fibre is retained in fresh juices.
Researchers from Canada’s McMaster and McGill universities found that eating fruits and vegetables may actually change a gene variant, called 9p21, this is one of the strongest predictors for heart disease. “We found that in people with this high-risk gene who consumed a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, their risk came down to that of people who don’t have that gene,” said Dr. Sonia Anand ***
Despite having a high genetic risk for heart disease, a healthy lifestyle can actually turn off the gene. Raw fruits and vegetables played the biggest role in lowering the risk. Juicing allows us to have these nutrients in their raw state so therefore the best heart health promoting benefits may be seen with juicing and raw salads.
For optimum health it is suggested to consume a rainbow everyday, this is one of my favourite sayings. While all vegetables are good for your health and colourful is best, there are some vegetables that have extra special heart promoting benefits. The best vegetables associated with promoting heart health are the greens due to their folate, iron, calcium, vitamin K, magnesium and other important phyto-nutrients such as kale, lettuce, silverbeet(chard), cabbage, bok choy, collard, turnip greens, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach.
For heart healthy fruits think red. Lycopene, anthocyanins and resveratrol are some of the phytonutrients found in red fruits such as pink grapefruit, watermelon, red apples, cherries, red or purple grapes, mulberries, strawberries, papayas and cranberries. Resveratol has been associated with a decrease in heart disease and stroke.
All the benefits of the nutrients that support a healthy heart found in fruits and vegetables will be retained in a juice. The benefits of juicing are the increased assimilation of the nutrients and the large volume of vegetables and fruits that can be consumed in a juice. You can easily consume all the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables in just one large juice! As the study indicated, the larger the volume of fruit and vegetables consumed, the lower the incidence of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
I hope this information helps you to continue to take the time to commit to taking care of your heart and yourself!
Happy Juicing Rebooters!!
News release, European Heart Journal.Francesca Crowe, MD, Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, England.British Heart Foundation.NHS Choices: “Cardiovascular disease.”CDC
Eating Vegetables And Heart Health http://www.sooperarticles.com/health-fitness-articles/nutrition-articles/eating-vegetables-heart-health-824555.html#ixzz1mMDnIcQz
Heart Healthy Fruits | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/way_5365459_heart-healthy-fruits.html#ixzz1mMKToysW