Last updated on March 14th, 2017 at 07:35 pm
The heart is a pump that distributes blood to the organs of the body. It is the main organ that keeps all the others functioning. It pumps blood throughout the body via the circulatory system, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other waste products of the metabolic activities in our body.
In humans, the heart is roughly the size of a large fist and weighs about 10 to 12 ounces (280 to 340 grams) in men and 8 to 10 ounces (230 to 280 grams) in women. The heart is made of 4 chambers. The top 2 collecting chambers are called atria; the bottom 2 ejecting chambers are called ventricles. The right atrium receives blood deficient in oxygen from the body and sends it into the right ventricle. The right ventricle squeezes the blood out to the lungs to pick up fresh oxygen. The oxygenated blood returns from the lungs to the left atrium, which then funnels the blood into the left ventricle. The left ventricle ejects the oxygenated blood into the entire body via the aorta. Blood vessels coming out of the aorta and supplying blood to the heart are called coronary arteries. The aorta supplies blood to the head via the carotid and vertebral arteries. Major branches coming out of the aorta also include the renal arteries (supplying blood to the kidneys), the mesenteric arteries (supplying blood to the gut), the celiac artery (supplying blood to the liver and spleen), and the iliac arteries (supplying blood to the hip and lower legs). An adult heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute pumping about 6 quarts (5.7 liters) of blood throughout the body. The heart is located in the center of the chest, usually pointing slightly left. Problems with the heart can cause abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. There are many types of arrhythmia. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or it can stop beating.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart develops an arrhythmia that causes it to stop beating. This is different than a heart attack, where the heart usually continues to beat but blood flow to the heart is blocked. There are many possible causes of SCA. They include coronary heart disease, physical stress, and some inherited disorders.
Sometimes there is no known cause for the SCA. More than a million Americans have heart attacks each year. A heart attack is a permanent damage to the heart muscle. The heart muscle requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to nourish it.
For more information specifically relevant to identifying the difference between a heart attack or cardiac arrest; Is it a HEART ATTACK or CARDIAC ARREST?
The coronary arteries provide the heart with this critical blood supply. If you have coronary artery disease, those arteries become narrow and blood cannot flow with ease. Fatty matter, in most of the cases, builds up within the arteries to form plaques of different sizes. The plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. Stress, lack of movement, and especially unhealthy eating are all major factors that contribute to heightened rates of heart attack.
More than a million Americans have heart attacks each year. A heart attack is a permanent damage to the heart muscle. The heart muscle requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to nourish it. The coronary arteries provide the heart with this critical blood supply. If you have coronary artery disease, those arteries become narrow and blood cannot flow with ease. Fatty matter, in most of the cases, builds up within the arteries to form plaques of different sizes. The plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. Stress, lack of movement, and especially unhealthy eating are all major factors that contribute to heightened rates of heart attack.
But making a few small changes to your diet can drastically lower your risk. Here are some foods and drinks that are known to help keep your arteries free of blockage:
Green tea: Green Tea is mostly known for its antioxidant qualities that help to lower the cholesterol level; in the blood and supports metabolism.
Sea Weed: The seaweed is rich in numerous minerals, vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, and carotenoids. Regular consumption can help regulate blood pressure and widen vessels, both of which are beneficial to circulation.
Asparagus: The contents of asparagus prevent clogging of veins and inflammation. Asparagus is delicious as a main dish, in soup, or as a side to noodles or potatoes.
Nuts: Nuts are known for their abundance of healthy fats. These include omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats, which are good for your cholesterol levels, but they also benefit your joints and memory. Walnuts and almonds are particularly high in these healthy fats. One handful each day can make all the difference.
Turmeric: Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color. It contains high levels of curcumin, which has many positive attributes. The spice helps to prevent overactive fat storage and lowers tissue inflammation.
Orange Juice: 100% orange juice is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that support healthy blood vessels. Orange juice is also known to lower blood pressure levels. Two glasses of fresh juice each day are enough to cover your daily recommended value of vitamin C.
Watermelon: The epitome of summer fruit is not only refreshing, it also widens blood vessels by promoting the production of nitric oxide. It is a good source to supplement the requirement of water in your body as it contains 90% water. Melons intake is also extremely important for preserving our health because they are as rich in iron content as spinach is, which means they are the richest fruits in iron. Plenty of iron is found in red meat, too, but watermelons are more appropriate to be eaten because they are not that rich in calories as meat is.
Spinach: Spinach is a good source of potassium and folic acid both of which lower your risk of heart attacks and support muscle tissues. It also helps to clear arteries and lower blood pressure.
Salmon: Salmon is considered one of the heart-healthiest foods out there. The reason for this is the many healthy fatty acids naturally found in the fish. These help to lower and prevent heightened cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and inflammation. Other healthy fish options are tuna, herring, and mackerel. Fishes are also a good source to obtain omega-3.
Persimmon Fruit: Rich in fiber and healthy sterols, persimmons can help lower your cholesterol levels. Persimmon fruits are also rich in iron thereby making them beneficial for your growth as well.
Whole Grain: Whole grain flour is another effective way to prevent high cholesterol. It is high in fiber, which binds with cholesterol, preventing it from collecting in arteries. Foods high in whole grain don’t only prevent cholesterol from building up.
Cheese: Here is another excuse for cheese lovers, cheese doesn’t always have the best reputation when it comes to cholesterol, but if it’s not consumed in excess, it can actually help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Olive Oil: Italians and Greeks have long known the secret to good health: high-quality olive oil. Cold-pressed olive oil provides your body with healthy fats and lowers cholesterol levels. This can lower the risk of heart attack by up to 41%. It is also rich in omega-9 and omega 3.
Pomegranate: Pomegranates are rich in phytochemicals that naturally promote nitric oxide production, which is, in turn, a good way to help circulation. It can be consumed in salads or its juice can be extracted and consumed.
Broccoli: This green power vegetable, exploding in vitamin K, prevents calcium settling in your arteries. It also is beneficial to blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Whether eating it raw as a snack, or as part of a larger meal, broccoli is a nutrient-rich addition to your day.
Avocados: Avocados are extremely healthy for you. The fats found in avocados promote a healthy balance between good and bad cholesterol, which is vital for healthy arteries. This versatile fruit is delicious in a salad, on bread, or on its own with a dash of salt and pepper.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is not only delicious in tea or baked goods; it is also an important tool to fight high cholesterol by preventing buildup in arteries. Even 1 teaspoon per day can have a noticeable effect. Several studies also suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood that helps to prevent the clogging of the arteries. Also, it is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
Cranberries: Cranberries are very beneficial and also a staple for the holiday season. Cranberries are a great source of potassium. If you regularly drink cranberry juice, you’ll raise levels of healthy cholesterol and lower dangerous ones. Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.
One of the important things is that each of us has significant control over most of these risk factors that are associated with the heart. And therefore, to a large extent, each of us holds our cardiac fate in our own hands. Even people who have strong a genetic predisposition to heart disease can often significantly delay the onset of heart problems by adopting healthy lifestyles.