Cardiovascular Health

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How to Maintain a Healthy Cardiovascular System
Olive, sesame, avocado and peanut are examples of oils loaded with heart-healthy fats. J Sci Food Agric. The decreased risk of CVD may be due, in part, to a reduction in arterial stiffness and blood pressure. Keep Exploring Britannica Atom. In animal studies, anthocyanins inhibit cancer development in animals given carcinogens and in those with a hereditary predisposition to cancer. The left side of the heart receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it through the systemic arteries to the tissues of the body. A fourth groove, between the left atrium and ventricle, holds the coronary sinus, a channel for venous blood.

Cardiovascular System Physiology

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Dehydration reduces blood volume, so your body compensates by retaining more sodium in the blood. High blood-sodium concentrations are related to high blood pressure and cause your body to close small blood vessels, the capillaries.

As more capillaries close, the pressure in major blood vessels rises and overall blood pressure further increases. Because the blood has become more concentrated and thicker, it is more difficult to effectively circulate. Your body compensates by "squeezing" blood vessels to help move the blood along, which raises blood pressure. Cardiac output is the volume of blood that the heart pumps out per beat, multiplied by heart rate. For example, if your heart pumps milliliters of blood per beat and your heart rate is 70 beats a minute, your normal cardiac output would be 7, milliliters a minute.

Cardiac output represents how well the heart is delivering blood to the rest of the body. When you are dehydrated, your cardiac output decreases significantly. Even though heart rate is increased, the amount of blood that the heart can pump per beat is reduced because of overall low blood volume.

For example, during dehydration your heart rate might be 90 beats a minute, but your heart might be pumping only 40 milliliters per beat. The total cardiac output, 3, milliliters per minute, indicates that your heart is much less efficient at providing blood to the rest of your body.

Orthostatic hypotension occurs when blood pressure drops significantly when you quickly shift from lying down to sitting or standing. It can easily occur with dehydration; symptoms include dizziness, feeling light headed and fainting.

During dehydration, orthostatic hypotension can occur because blood volume is too low for your body to adjust blood pressure and heart rate as it normally would when you change position.

Cardiovascular Disease Several studies have found an association between the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods and CVD protection. The researchers found that consuming anthocyanin-rich strawberries and blueberries once per week was associated with a significant reduction in death from CVD and coronary artery disease.

The decreased risk of CVD may be due, in part, to a reduction in arterial stiffness and blood pressure. As part of the Twins UK study of 1, women aged 18 to 75, researchers found that a higher intake of anthocyanins was associated with significantly lower central systolic blood pressure and arterial pressure. The authors suggested that consuming one to two portions of berries per day might be an important strategy for lowering CVD risk.

A study of rats fed a red cabbage extract rich in anthocyanins recently provided the first piece of evidence that an anthocyanin extract protected against hypercholesterolemia induced by an atherogenic diet and related cardiac oxidative stress. Laboratory studies suggest that anthocyanins and their metabolites, which are produced by gut microflora, may decrease inflammatory markers associated with increased CVD risk.

Cancer Anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich extracts in cell culture and in animals have anticarcinogenic activities. While laboratory studies have provided some insight into how they may work, the exact mechanism or mechanisms for how these dietary compounds prevent cancer is unclear. Laboratory studies that used a variety of cancer cells have indicated that anthocyanins not only act as antioxidants, they also activate detoxifying enzymes; prevent cancer cell proliferation; induce cancer cell death apoptosis ; have anti-inflammatory effects; have antiangiogenesis effects ie, they inhibit the formation of new blood vessels that encourage tumor growth ; prevent cancer cell invasion; and induce differentiation the more differentiated the cancer cell, the less likely it is to grow and spread.

In animal studies, anthocyanins inhibit cancer development in animals given carcinogens and in those with a hereditary predisposition to cancer.

In cell culture, anthocyanins from an anthocyanin-enriched purple sweet potato stopped the reproduction of colon cancer cells and initiated cancer cell death. Two studies from Italy found no relationship between anthocyanin intake and the risk of oral, pharyngeal, or prostate cancer. Cognitive Function With regard to cognitive function, research suggests that flavonoids, including anthocyanins, have the ability to enhance memory and help prevent age-related declines in mental functioning.

Several other studies have found that berries, most notably blueberries, which are rich in anthocyanins, can effectively reverse age-related deficits in certain aspects of working memory. Anthocyanins and other flavonoids are thought to work by inhibiting neuroinflammation, activating synaptic signaling, and improving blood flow to the brain.

The authors of a recent review on the subject suggested that the consumption of flavonoid-rich fruits such as berries, apples, and citrus throughout life potentially could limit or even reverse age-dependent deteriorations in memory and cognition. As of now, however, there are no human studies to prove a causal relationship between the consumption of anthocyanins, or any flavonoid, and cognitive functioning. Whether the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods can have a beneficial effect on cognition also may depend on when in life exposure occurs.

For anthocyanin-rich berries, she recommends keeping frozen ones on hand. While Blumberg admits that the medical community has limited knowledge of the mechanisms of action and health benefits of anthocyanins, he questions the wisdom of waiting for definitive research when clients may benefit from increased consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods now.

Anthocyanins in cardiovascular disease. Mol Nutr Food Res. Concentrations of anthocyanins in common foods in the United States and estimation of normal consumption. J Agric Food Chem. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: Am J Clin Nutr. Prospective study of alcohol consumption and risk of coronary disease in men. Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women.

Higher anthocyanin intake is associated with lower arterial stiffness and central blood pressure in women. Effects of wine, alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease risk factors: A randomised trial to investigate the effects of acute consumption of a blackcurrant juice drink on markers of vascular reactivity and bioavailability of anthocyanins in human subjects.

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