Did you know that the blood vessels in your body are nearly 60,000 miles long which is twice around the world.
Their job is to carry vital blood, oxygen and essential nutrients to every part of the body. Healthy vessels are strong, elastic, flexible and clear of any deposits.
What causes a stroke?
So what can we do to keep our blood vessels unclogged, strong and healthy?
- Follow - the principles of a Mediterranean-style diet rich in a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, ideally 6 portions a day and include a daily portion of a vegetable rich in nitric oxide, such as beetroot, broccoli, spinach, collard greens and kale. Nitric oxide is a substance that is essential for optimal arterial health and function. Eat regularly.
- Move - Aim for 30 minutes 5 times a week. However, research is growing that 'snack size' consistent exercise is just as impactful on our bodies and our mind. Dr Chatterjee is a huge advocate for adding an exercise snack with your daily routine so add squats as the kettle is boiling, or toe raises whilst brushing your teeth 5 minutes a day is better than nothing and consistency is key.
- Stop - smoking.
- Maintain - low LDL cholesterol by reducing your consumption of processed and deep-fried foods.
- Lose - weight carrying extra weight increases your chances of having too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, leading to fatty deposits building up in the arteries, restricting blood flow. Studies show that even losing 5% of your body weight can improve cholesterol levels.
Our Bergatone, is made from Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia) only grown in Calabria in Italy and can be used to support the health of your arteries by reducing cholesterol and supporting weight management.
Studies show that bioactive compounds in Bergamot can reduce the “bad” fats, lowering LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and improving total cholesterol levels.
In fact, Research on Bergamot has been shown to have 2 specific molecules that are very similar in structure, and function to statins.
Bergatone can generally be used in conjunction with prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication – speak to one of our pharmacists for more information about your health and any potential indications with current medication.
It turns out that we really are ‘the sum total of our experiences.’ Had I known then the impact of many of my decisions, I may have made changes earlier, but it turns out that we must live life to truly understand it.
I was definitely living life. Perceived invincibility provided me with the tunnel vision which enabled me to dash from one task to another, ticking off one more achievement, adventure and accolade.
Of course you can’t sustain this symphonic level of intensity without topping up the tank with quick access fuel, mine came in the form of sugar- packets of delicious sweets and finely baked biscuits.
I also gradually began to neglect my regular exercise regimen in exchange for a membership in the weekend warrior club. Gut irritation and a little extra weight accumulated, but, as far as I was concerned, I felt normal for a 40-something professional.
‘That’ evening, the one that irreversibly shook up my life, Thursday 3 December, I found myself staring eternity squarely in the face. I had returned home from work with my two girls. It had been a stressful day capped by a suitably heated, hard-hitting quarrel that left me trembling.
I did not generally consider my life stressful, and yet I knew that I ran at a pretty high-octane pace. But that was OK, because, despite warnings from others, I was, or believed I was, bulletproof.
I wore my intensity like a shiny badge of honour. On that evening, however, the engine said ‘no more’; you can’t drive even the most brilliantly engineered sports cars at 5000 RPM indefinitely.
It took my mum, who spotted me bent over, clutching my chest, rubbing my arms on FaceTime and my daughter's subsequent fear-filled plea to get help for me to make the medical call. Reluctantly, in a haze of pain, I did make the call. In minutes an ambulance was there.
Pride masking the danger, I couldn’t help, but feel that all this commotion was quite unnecessary. The seasoned paramedics quickly assessed my traumatised frame, blood pressure surging through my veins like a blocked firehose. They looked me straight in the eyes, piercing my vanity, and said, “We are taking you to hospital. Now.”
‘That’ evening marked the beginning of a myriad of changes. Naturally, and most significantly was that of my health, but also, running neatly alongside, compelling me, almost without choice, was my desire to capture the goodness in life around me.
Being in hospital forced me to slow down and rest, my senses sharpened and my eyes opened to the subtleties in the world around me, to things I had not previously noticed before.
I became acutely aware of nuances in conversation, of the sacrifices of those around me and of the delicacy of relationships. I was also painfully cognizant, in increasing measure, of the compounding effects of the bad choices I had made for my body- sugar addiction, stress, exercise withdrawal and sleep deprivation.
Buckminster Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So, that is what I did (and am doing), engineering a new, more tantalising model for life.
My diet, for instance, has been transformed. The once glutinous intake has been replaced with cleaner foods, nutrition straight from the earth and, perhaps more importantly, I expunged sweets.
Implored by the immediacy of the situation, I also instilled radical changes to my work routine and introduced regular, gentler exercises in the great outdoors. The list goes on, but I feel that, if indeed we are ‘the sum total of our experiences,’ I have been gifted a lifeline with which to significantly alter the outcome of my time here on earth. And, I must say, my heart feels good, very good indeed.
NOTE FROM THE NAKED PHARMACY
Jeff Schmidt is the Author/illustrator of the bestselling book:
HEART ATTACK- Finding hope, joy and inspiration through adversity.
As if Chianti and pizza were not enough reasons to love everything Italian, one of the most powerful natural solutions for cardiovascular health has Italian roots, literally!
Bergamot may sound familiar as the peel of this citrus is often used for teas, perfumes and essential oils. The fruits grow on trees only in the region of Southern Italy called Calabria, very close to Sicily.
Beyond the appeal of the peel, the fruit pulp itself has a unique combination of five polyphenol bioactives, whose names are a mouthful such as naringin, bruteridin and melitidin. These natural bergamot compounds block the same enzyme as statin medications but without the side effects. Bergamot fruit extract has also been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel activity and activate the AMP-K system, similar to a common diabetic drug called metformin.
How is all of this known about the citrus fruit growing in a remote area of Italy?
There was a belief that natives of Sicily who ate the fruit of the bergamot citrus tree did not get heart disease, diabetes and other maladies.
Universities in Italy began studying this folklore which proved to be accurate, based on a number of high quality human clinical studies. There are now more than 200 scientific studies exploring the role of bergamot for health. Bergamot is now available in capsules that concentrate the active polyphenols found in the whole fruit.
Does bergamot actually work?
The science says yes and the experiences and feedback from consumers who regularly take bergamot supplements supports this too. In a recent trial of 77 patients with high cholesterol, subjects were treated with either a statin medication alone or a combination of statin and bergamot. The combination therapy produced the lowest LDL cholesterol and the highest HDL cholesterol.
This trial also showed the measures of damage to blood vessels by oxidation were the lowest when bergamot was added. Further studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of bergamot on blood sugar levels and body weight were demonstrated.
What about metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of increased abdominal fat and waistline, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol lipid values with low HDL and high triglycerides and elevated blood sugar.
An estimated 20–25% of the world’s adult population is thought to have this condition and maybe as many as one third of adults in the United Kingdom suffer from it. Bergamot has proven to be particularly useful in assisting the reversal of this syndrome, which raises the risk of future events like heart attack and stroke.
A particularly challenging condition seen more and more commonly is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also known as NASH. NASH results from an inactive lifestyle along with a diet that is high in processed foods, oils and fats which over time, overloads liver cells with fat droplets. It is also associated with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and adult Type 2 diabetes as the insulin resistance builds. While the foundation of the treatment of NASH is activity, weight loss, plant-based diets with low or absent of added oils, bergamot shows promise here too. In a study of humans with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, significant responses to bergamot were recorded.
What can Bergatone do for you?
When combined with lifestyle efforts focusing on diet, exercise, sleep and stress, the bergamot fruit from southern Italy could provide significant cardiovascular benefits.
Our new formulation of Bergatone sees a move from tablets to capsules that contain pure Bergatone fruit extract in a tapioca capsule shell, nothing else.
We recommend this supplement is taken for at least 3-4 months at a dose of one capsule three times daily. This should be consumed 20-30 minutes before the three main meals and in doing so will:
- Help unhealthy fats pass safely through the gut
- Restore and improve cardiovascular health
- Help restore normal cholesterol balance