Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, remains as the foremost cause of death in the United States despite progress in prevention, detection, and treatment. CVD is a killer of people in the prime of life, with more than half of all deaths occurring among women.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of those suffering heart attacks do not survive, with about 340,000 of them dying in the emergency room. Even more troubling worrying, another 250,000 people with heart attacks will succumb before they ever reach the hospital. Most of these are sudden deaths caused by cardiac arrest. CVD includes dysfunctional conditions of the heart, arteries, and veins that supply oxygen to vital life-sustaining areas of the body like the brain, the heart itself, and other vital organs. A lack of oxygen causes the tissue or organ to die.
There are several risk factors for heart disease; some are controllable through changes in diet, exercise, and behavior.
Other risk factors are uncontrollable. These include: male sex, old age, family history of heart disease, post menopausal women, and race (African or Latin descent are more likely to have heart disease than are Caucasians).
There are still many risk factors that can be controlled. By making changes in your lifestyle, you can actually reduce your risk for heart disease. Controllable risk factors include:
The use of tobacco is the most avoidable major risk factor for CVD. Smokers have more than twice the risk for heart attack as nonsmokers, and are much more likely to die if they suffer a heart attack.
Improving Cholesterol Levels
The risk for heart disease increases as your total amount of cholesterol increases. A total cholesterol level over 200, an HDL (‘good’) cholesterol level under 40, or an LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol level over 160 indicates an increased risk for heart disease.
A diet high in fiber and low in saturated and trans-fats will lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk for heart disease.
Taking goji everyday
Hypertension or high blood pressure is the most common heart disease risk factors. And according to the National Center for Health Statistics, more then 50 million people in the U.S. alone have these.
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Goji contains cyperone, a sesquiterpene that can benefit the heart and blood pressure; its anthocyanins may help to maintain the strength and integrity of coronary arteries.
The effects of goji’s master molecule polysaccharides on endothelial function were observed by Jia YX et al. (1998) in China. Their end results illustrates that the increase of blood pressure in the hypertensive rats could be averted significantly by the treatment with goji polysaccharides.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and/or kidney failure. This explains why high blood pressure is often called the “silent killer.” Some of the current study of Goji involves how its master molecule polysaccharides may contribute in treatments designed to normalize symptoms of increased blood pressure.
People who don’t exercise have higher rates of death and heart disease when compared to those who engage in even gentle activities like walking or gardening.
An animal study showed that goji’s polysaccharides induced a remarkable increase in exercise tolerance and stamina, and helped to eliminate fatigue. Goji enhances glycogen storage (glycogen is the body’s primary energy fuel).
A heart-healthy diet means more than just lowering saturated fats and cholesterol. Antioxidants are important, as they have been shown to lower your risk for heart disease. The most important antioxidants for preventing CVD are those that inhibit or block lipid peroxidation.
The accumulation of lipid peroxides in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Our blood contains the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) to fight against lipid peroxidation, but levels of SOD decrease as we age. In a Ningxia Medical University study, goji berry consumption was accompanied by a remarkable 40 percent increase in SOD levels, and a decrease in lipid peroxides of an impressive 65 percent. It has been noted that goji actually contains a unique iron-containing form of SOD.
Cholesterol and other blood lipids can become deadly when they react in the body to form lipid peroxides. The accumulation of sticky lipid peroxides in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Goji increases levels of an important blood enzyme that may inhibit the formation of dangerous lipid peroxides.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Excess weight strains the heart and can exacerbate several other heart disease risk factors such as diabetes. Research is showing that obesity itself increases heart disease risk. By eating right and exercising, you can lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease.
In an Asian anti-obesity study, patients were given goji each morning and each afternoon. Results were excellent with most patients losing significant weight.
In an animal study, it was shown that goji’s master molecule polysaccharides enhanced the conversion of food into energy, and reduced body weight.
Research has proven that tight control of blood sugar can allow diabetics to reduce their mortality risks almost to those of the normal population. If not properly controlled, diabetes can lead to significant heart damage, including heart attacks and death.
Goji And Diabetes
Goji has been used in China for the treatment of adult – onset diabetes for years and its polysaccharides are used to help balance blood sugar and insulin response, by their physicians. Goji contains betaine which can support normal liver function and vascular health, which are often issues with diabetics.
Uncontrolled stress and anger is a significant contributor to heart attacks and strokes. The use of stress and anger management techniques can lower your risk.
Beating Stress Naturally With Goji
Goji provides the energy reserves to help one handle just about any difficulty. In Asia, it is said that constant consumption of goji brings a cheerful attitude, and nothing beats good cheer for overcoming stress! Ranked as one of Asia’s premier adaptogens, Goji is said to increase exercises tolerance, stamina, and endurance. It helps to eliminate fatigue, especially when recovering from illness.