Can acai berry mend a broken heart? If the broken heart pertains to a heart disease that continues to be one of the leading causes of deaths, acai may help tame it before it becomes a full blown killer.
Heart diseases encompass a variety of conditions relating to the cardiovascular system. It may involve the ability of your heart to pump out blood, its valves, your blood vessels, and more instances that compromise the function of your heart.
Below are some of the most common heart conditions that warrant urgent attention:
Myocardial Infarction or heart attack
It happens when the cells of the heart die due to the disruption of its blood supply. The formation of cholesterol plaques contributes a great deal to the blockage of the coronary blood vessels. When the blood flow is compromised, there is no delivery of oxygen to the tissues, leading to cell death.
Hypertension or high blood pressure
When it requires more force to get the blood flowing, you get a high blood pressure. It makes the heart work harder to pump blood effectively to all organs in the body. Hypertension can be due to other coexisting diseases such as diabetes, kidney problems, arteriosclerosis, etc. Genetics play a significant role in primary hypertension.
It involves the blood vessels, particularly the arteries, and its ability to deliver blood to the organs. The arteries in this case have hardened due to the build up of plaques from fatty substances. This makes the vessels less flexible which makes it harder for blood to flow. When the plaques break apart, they travel in the bloodstream towards smaller arteries, where they may cause a complete blockage. This is how it contributes to heart attacks, stroke, and common heart conditions.
Chlolesterol makes up a part of the bodys lipids. It is vital to the structure of cells, and in the production of hormones and energy. When the levels go up, it creates problems in the blood vessels. The arteries are hardened and blocked. In turn, the blood pressure rises just to be able to push adequate blood for delivery to the organs. When the heart doesnt receive adequate amount of blood supply, heart attack can occur.
The heart functions to pump blood into the body. When it fails, it doesnt mean that it has stopped beating. It just lost its ability to function efficiently, affecting all organs in the long run. The blood goes back to the lungs instead of pushing it forward. Breathing becomes laborious. Fluid accumulates in the dependent portions of the body like the feet.
How Can Acai Save You From A Broken Heart?
Acai berry (Euterpe oleracea), a superfood from the Amazon, offers hope for those with heart problems.
Acai is rich in fatty acids, giving it the oily feel. It contains 2 essential fatty acids called Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) and Omega 9 (Oleic acid). The Omega 6 is a polyunsaturated essential fatty acid that lowers both LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) levels. The Omega 9, which is a monounsaturated, essential fatty acid, helps lower only the LDL, while maintaining a good level of HDL.
Acai is also unusually rich in beta-sitosterol, which is a phytosterol that competes with dietary cholesterol for absorption, hence reducing blood cholesterol. The high fiber content of acai berries may likewise reduce bad cholesterol levels.
The dark pigmentation of acai is attributed to anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants. Even in trace amounts, anthocyanins effectively protect against LDL oxidation. The anti-oxidant properties of acai help heal the cell membranes and linings of arterial wall and help protect the integrity of smaller blood vessels. This prevents the development of arteriosclerosis and the subsequent increase in blood pressure.
Free radicals can speed up the process of arteriosclerosis and aggravate ischemia (the lack of oxygen supply to an organ). With the rich anti-oxidant content of acai, the damaging effects of the free radicals are taken cared of.
Be careful when choosing among the many acai supplements available in the market. The juice form uses other ingredients and preservatives, with only little concentration of acai. It has undergone the irradiation which is something you may want to avoid. The pill form, on the other hand, contains 100% acai, without preservatives. It has not undergone any procedures known to harm your health.
Can I Take Acai Together with my Heart Medications?
With early prevention, acai can lessen your need for expensive heart medications. However, if maintenance drugs should be used, no data has been found as to the drug-drug or drug-food interactions with acai and the common heart conditions.
Be cautious when taking medications containing anti-coagulants or blood thinners because acai contains vitamin k, which exerts the opposite effect.
Potassium is abundant in acai, so you might as well be careful with drugs reacting to potassium:
ACE-inhibitors which are used for the treatment of hypertension. Examples are captopril, enalapril, lisinopril. Potassium levels may increase further with ACE inhibitors especially those with diminished kidney function.
Potassium-sparing diuretics like spironolactone, triamterene, or amiloride may increase potassium levels in the blood.
Heparin which is a blood thinner, used for the prevention of heart attacks. Potassium levels may be further increased with concomitant use of acai, aside from with the antagonistic effect of vitamin K present in acai.
Beta blockers such as metoprolol and propranolol that are used to treat high blood pressure can potentially increase blood potassium levels when mixed with acai.
The high amount of calcium in acai may create potential reactions with certain medications:
Beta-blockers. Calcium may interfere with the blood levels of beta-blockers and vice versa.
Calcium-channel blockers are a class of anti-hypertensives. Calcium may reverse the therapeutic effects of calcium-channel blockers, although studies are conflicting.
Digoxin is used to treat irregular heart rhythms. Calcium may make this drug ineffective.
Anti-cholesterol drug, particularly bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine, colestipol, and colesevelam, may interfere with calcium absorption and increase loss of calcium in the urine.
Anti-oxidants in general, are not advised to be taken along with most chemotherapeutic agents that act by producing free radicals to kill the tumor.
There are no documented effects of the above drugs interacting with acai berry supplements, only possible risks. Nonetheless, caution must be taken to avoid untoward reactions.