Holistic NutritionNatural MedicineMicrogreens for Heart Health

November 26, 2019by Meg
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Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death among Americans accounting for 30% of all deaths in the United States. Heart disease is often referred to as the “silent killer” because the first sign in my cases is the fatal event. Atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of artery walls, is the cause of the cardiovascular disease.

 

Atherosclerosis is the process underlying all cardiovascular disease. The coronary arteries are blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. Severe damage or death of the heart can occur when the blood flow through the arteries is restricted or blocked. This results in cardiac arrest (heart attack). Most cases of blockage is due to plaque build up which is a combination of cholesterol, fatty material, and cellular debris. A stroke is when the blockage occurs in the brain.

 

Prevention of cardiovascular disease involves eliminating risk factors. The increase of cardiac event exponentially rises with the number of present factors.

 

Atherosclerosis Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol levels (especially LDL)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity

 

 

Other Risk Factors

  • Low antioxidant status
  • Low thyroid function
  • Low essential fatty acid levels
  • Low magnesium and/or potassium levels

 

 

Major Risk Factors Increases Cardiovascular Incidence By Percentage:

  • Smoker, high cholesterol, high blood pressure:  720%
  • High blood pressure and a smoker:  350%
  • High cholesterol and a smoker:  350%
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure:  300%
  • Presesnce of one or more major risk factors:  30%

 

 

Clinical evaluations are recommended by contacting a healthcare professional to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Physical assessments can include laboratory testing such as:

 

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  • HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Lipid peroxides
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein

 

 

Therapeutic considerations in the prevention of heart attack or stroke must be approached from a holistic perspective. Not only do risk factors need to be eliminated, supportive dietary measures conducive to arterial health are imperative. Reducing the intake of saturated fat and trans-fatty acids while increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, dietary fiber, monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids are important and essential for improving the structure and composition of cell membranes. Preventing oxidative stress and free-radical damage to these membranes can be attained by consuming high level antioxidants and phytochemicals.

 

 

 

Antioxidants are nutrients that have been clinically shown to offer significant protection against cardiovascular disease. Fats and cholesterol form lipid peroxides and oxidized cholesterol which damages artery walls and accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis. Antioxidants block the formation of damaging compounds. Dietary antioxidant nutrients like lycopene, lutein, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin C have been shown to provide significant protection against heart disease.  These vitamins require selenium and CoQ10 to work efficiently thus indicating the need for a medicinal grade multi-vitamin.

 

 

 

Plant-derived antioxidants have benefits on their own and are known to potentiate the activities of vitamin and mineral antioxidants in fighting free radical damage. Microgreens are tender immature greens produced from the seeds of vegetables and herbs that are harvested at 714 days after germination, depending on the species. These heart-protecting foods are packed with intense avors, vivid colors and tender textures.  They can be added to salads, soups, and sandwiches. They contain considerably higher concentrations of supportive vitamins than their mature plant counterparts thus fighting oxidative stress and free radical damage by:

 

 

    • Reducing LDL oxidation
    • Increasing plasma LDL breakdown
    • Inhibiting excessive platelet aggregation
    • Increasing HDL levels
    • Reducing CRP (C-Reactive Protein) levels
    • Improving endothelial cell function
    • Improving insulin sensitivity

 

 

Maximum values of vitamin C, viamin K, and vitamin E (tocopherol) were found in red cabbage, garnet, amaranth, and green daikon radish microgreens. Carotenoids, abundantly found in cilantro microgreens, showed the highest concentration of lutein. These fat-soluble antioxidants can protect cellular membranes by scavenging free radicals. Red cabbage micro-greens contained over 40 times the vitamin E content than mature greens.

 

 

The growing, harvesting, and handling of microgreens has a considerable impact on the synthesis and degradation of vital phytonutrients including vitamins and carotenoids. The efect of agricultural practices on phytonutrient retention requires a controlled environment to ensure preservation of nutrients. Many microgreens are grown in uncontrolled environments leading to pathogen transfer in the microgreen production. Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) is limited for the emerging microgreen industry as many of these power foods are grown in the basements of grower’s homes. Contamination sources include growth media, irrigation water, and seeds.  Hydroponically grown (a method of growing plants without soil) microgreens are more susceptible to contamination influencing food safety risk.

 

 

 

 

micro greens

 

 

Your body is designed to heal 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on heart disease prevention and microgreens, please visit us at 301 N. Salem Street in downtown Apex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/81/1/292S/4607585

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267354000_Microgreens_Assessment_of_Nutrient_Concentrations

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168160518307323