An unpronounceable disease, atherosclerosis is the number-one killer in the United States; it’s responsible for more than a quarter of our deaths each year.
Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to our organs and tissues (including heart muscle tissue). It is a type of arteriosclerosis, the term for any stiffening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is especially dangerous because it is hidden deep in the body and not easily detectable. It is a slow, progressive disease.
A normal arthery is like a new rubber band: flexible, strong, and elastic.
Although the exact trigger of atherosclerosis is unknown, researchers suspect that the process begins with damage to the inner wall of the artery (which can be caused by high cholesterol, hypertension, or cigarette smoking, among others).
Over time, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances accumulate in the wall of the artery and form fatty deposits called plaques. The narrower artery opening limits blood flow.
These plaques can burst, causing a blood clot to form.
Many factors can contribute to atherosclerosis: high cholesterol, a poor diet, obesity, smoking, too much alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle.
Prevention is key. You should lose weight if you’re overweight, quit smoking, exercise, and eat healthier.
Avoid overindulging on ice cream, whole milk, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, egg yolks, fatty meats, fast food, fried chicken, breaded chicken or fish, pastries, and chips. These foods tend to contain saturated fat and trans fats.
Pomegranate Found To Prevent Coronary Artery Disease Progression
Rather than relying on medication to prevent cardiovascular disease, why not use the precious products that Mother Nature offers us in abundance?
One of the valuable natural products that helps us maintain healthy arteries is the pomegranate. It is a fruit that contains hundreds of edible seeds called arils. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and bioactive plant compounds.
Pomegranate’s value in cardiovascular disease is quite broad, as evidenced by the following experimentally confirmed properties:
- Anti-inflammatory: Like many chronic degenerative diseases, inflammation plays a significant role in cardiovascular disease pathogenesis. There are five studies on GreenMedInfo.com indicating pomegranate’s anti-inflammatory properties.
- Blood-Pressure Lowering: Pomegranate juice has natural angiotensin converting enzyme inhibiting properties, and is a nitric oxide enhancer, two well-known pathways for reducing blood pressure.Finally, pomegranate extract rich in punicalagin has been found reduce the adverse effects of perturbed stress on arterial segments exposed to disturbed flow.
- Anti-Infective: Plaque buildup in the arteries often involves secondary viral and bacterial infection, including hepatitis C and Chlamydia pneumoniae.Pomegranate has a broad range of anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Antioxidant: One of the ways in which blood lipids become heart disease-promoting (atherogenic) is through oxidation. LDL, for instance, may be technically ‘elevated’ but harmless as long as it does not readily oxidize. Pomegranate has been found to reduce the oxidative stress in the blood, as measured by serum paraoxonase levels. One study in mice found this decrease in oxidative stress was associated with 44% reduction in the size of atherosclerotic lesions.
Pomegranates can be used fresh in salads and as a garnish, or they can be juiced to make a healthy red drink. As little as 3 ½ ounces of juice per day can provide antioxidant benefit. Before the pomegranate is juiced, you will need to seed it first.
To seed a pomegranate, you will need:
- 1 large bowl
- 1 small sharp knife
- Mesh strainer or slotted spoon
- 1 colander or strainer with small holes
- Make a shallow slit at the top of the pomegranate where the knob/stem is (this part is known as the crown).
- Cut all the way around the top of the rind, creating a shallow circle. Don’t push the knife in too deep, or you may burst some seeds.
- Pull the crown of the pomegranate off to reveal the inner seeds.
- Pull the fruit apart to create three large sections.
- Remove any large pieces of pith that are visible.
- Submerge the sections in a large bowl of cold water.
- Break apart the sections underneath the water, separating the seeds from the rind and the pith. As you remove the seeds, they will sink to the bottom of the bowl. The pith will rise to the top and float. Discard the large chunks of rind (the peel).
- When all the seeds have been removed, use a mesh strainer or slotted spoon to remove the floating pieces of pith from the surface of the water. A few seeds may float as well; separate these out and return them to the bowl.
- Drain the seeds in a colander. Remove any additional pieces of pith that may have mixed into the seeds.
HOW TO JUICE A POMEGRANATE
- Place your pomegranate seeds in a blender.
Pulse the seeds a few times to break them apart and release their juice. Don’t blend them for a long period of time, or the seeds will break apart and create cloudy juice.
Use a mesh strainer to strain the pomegranate liquid into a container.
Use the back of a spoon to push against the pomegranate pulp and extract as much juice as possible.