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Superfoods for Superhealth

By Tom 0
10 April 2015

One in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF). This means that a third of the population has increased risks of heart attacks and strokes but not all of them are aware. Think of blood pressure as the pressure in a hose-pipe. When you turn the hose-pipe on, water flows freely. As you place your thumb over the end of the hose-pipe, the pressure builds up, removing restriction in the water being projected harder and further than it would normally. Blood pressure is simply the force of which the blood is forced through our arteries.

In our blood we have natural fatty acids, these are known as Cholesterol. There are 2 types of cholesterol, good and bad. The bad cholesterol LDL (Low Density Lipo-proteins) builds up in our arteries and can cause problems such as strokes, angina and heart attacks. It builds up on the artery walls and creates a process known as atheroclerosis which is where the artery walls start to thicken, reducing width inside the artery.

Foods that lower cholesterolThe good cholesterol is known as HDL (High Density Lipo-proteins) helps to remove the bad cholesterol and also helps to create certain hormones in our bodies. Both of the cholesterols in our blood are naturally made by our liver and we can influence the production of each of them by what we eat and what exercise we do. We can help our body to reduce our bad cholesterol by around 15% by regular exercise alone. So that means a hefty 85% will be influenced by diet alone.

In our diets, as long as we eat lots of healthy fats such as Omega 3, 6 and 9 and eat regular sources of good fats from fish, nuts and seeds we can maintain good cholesterol levels. Not to mention, reduce risks such as diabetes, stokes, angina and heart attacks.

So what can we do to help with blood pressure and the risks associated with heart disease and strokes? Eat healthy, exercise regularly and have regular health check ups. We don’t all want to visit the doctor every week for a check up though, so instead of fighting a cause, why not prevent so we don’t have to?

There are natural foods that can really help with issues such as blood pressure and other diseases and cancers. We call these foods ‘super foods’. The term super food is used to describe any food that has a high phytonutrient content. This could include anti-oxidants, cancer prevention foods, blood pressure lowering foods, cholesterol lowering foods and many more.

Supplements that can give us superpower.. or superhealth

Barley Grass

Out of a possible 21 amino acids found naturally in the human body, barley grass contains a massive 18! This means that this food is great for athletes and sportsmen alike.Amino acids are the building blocks, the foundation of muscle tissues and so barley grass is great for muscle growth and repair. In our diets we also require certain amounts of fibre. There are soluble and non-soluble fibre which can help with regular bowel movements and to keep our colon healthy. Barley grass is also a great source of dietary fibre to aid this. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer in the UK and there are approximately 34,000 new cases every year according to Nuffield Health (2008).

A Barley Grass supplement can be found here: http://www.myprotein.com/UK/products/barley_grass_powder

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is great for a number of things; lowering blood pressure, prevention of cancer, improving skin complexion and can be used to help treat acne. As it is a natural product, it does not have any side effects such as those prescribed from doctors such as beta-blockers and diuretics. Wheatgrass has been used to help treat depression and weight gain. Wheatgrass contains a mixture of natural chemicals that might have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits and also it has been proven to help aid in lowering cholesterol levels.

A Wheatgrass supplement can be found here: http://www.myprotein.com/uk/products/wheat_grass_powder

Chlorella

Like Wheatgrass, Chlorella can help to reduce our blood pressure. This super food is also a great alkaline on the pH scale. The more processed foods which contain additives or preservatives that we eat, the more acidic the blood becomes which can causes symptoms of stress. Stress can increase our risks of heart disease and high blood pressure so by lowering the blood acidity levels, this can help improve our energy levels and relieve this stress. Another benefit of Chlorella is that it is a great source of Magnesium, a vital nutrient that we need which acts as natures own anti-depressant, helping you to relax and sleep better.

A Chlorella supplement can be found here: http://www.myprotein.com/UK/products/chlorella_powder

Spirulina

Spirulina really is an amazing super food, so much so that NASA use it as a food source for their astronauts. It contains six times more protein than what is found in eggs and three times more iron than in beef! These two ingredients are vital for energy production. 1KG of Spirulina contains the same nutritional value as 1,000kg of vegetables and is also a rich source of GLA fatty acids which is essential for growth and brain function.

A Spirulina supplement can be found here: http://www.myprotein.com/UK/products/spirulina_powder

References

British Heart Foundation. (2012). Blood Pressure Research. Available: http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/high-blood-pressure/blood-pressure-research.aspx. Last accessed 27/09/2012.
Nuffield Health (2008). Cancer Prevention. New Maldon:Surrey

 

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author: Tom

Tom has been in the fitness industry for over 8 years. He is qualified in functional movement, Kettlebells, Boxercise, Nutrition and many other qualifications. Tom is also the founder and director of ActivityX. For more information on Tom, see his trainer profile.

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