A few years ago, Dr. Gregory Thomas’ research made him think that no matter how much you exercise, how much kale you eat and how many cigarettes you avoid, heart disease is inevitable. Eventually, everyone’s arteries will harden up with some calcium plaque as they age, Thomas thought, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Now a group of farmers in Bolivia have blown that theory out of the water, Thomas says.

Who Has The Healthiest Hearts In The World?

Image by Matthieu Paley/National Geographic

In his late 20s, Christopher Milford of East Boston, Mass., got high on some OxyContin his friend gave him. By the time he was in his early 30s, he was shooting heroin and Suboxone.

Milford is part of a group of opioid addicts whom doctors describe as the sickest of the sick: intravenous drug users, mostly people who use heroin, who get endocarditis. Some aspects of their treatment present an ethical dilemma for doctors. Cardiologists, surgeons and infectious disease doctors can fix the infection, but not the underlying problem of addiction.

Doctors Consider Ethics Of Costly Heart Surgery For People Addicted To Opioids

Image by Jack Rodolico/NHPR

Hope you’re all having a great day! I just wanted to share something I’m proud of with all of you. Today we had our first annual health fair at my university and it went so well! Our poster was sought out to be a display in our athletic center on campus and we had health services trying to get it too! It took a long time to work on but I’m proud of how it turned out! We focused on the importance of both aerobic (cardio) and non- aerobic (strength training) exercise on heart health. Definitely some interesting finds if any of you have any questions about it!

How to Help Unclog a Heart Naturally

We all know that a healthy heart requires a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. A diet low in saturated fats,sodium and bad cholesterol, and high in fresh fruits &vegetables (organic), fiber and lean protein.

  Quite often years of unhealthy eating and lifestyle have done damage to a person before they start to take the proper care of themselves and their heart. That being said, there is often already plaque built up clogs in the arteries and vessels. Often people ask if there are any particular foods that help unclog those arteries and remove that plaque build up better than other foods.

 The answer is yes!

 * GARLIC- is possibly one of the most important. 1 to 4 cloves a day (raw or cooked). You can add it to recipes and foods you are already cooking or even roast it alone and once the cloves are nice and soft you can spread it on flat-breads or alone or with vegetables with some fresh herbs. It’s delicious and one of the best foods for this purpose

* GRAPES - (The darker the color the better. Concord being  one of the best)-  Grapes contain lutein.  Lutein is a carotenoid that’s been shown to help reduce early atherosclerosis. and also helps prevent thickening of the carotid artery in the neck.. It also lowers inflammation of LDL cholesterol in artery walls.

 “quercetin” (antioxident that prevents LDL cholesterol from sticking on the walls of your arteries.) is found in the skins of grapes. 

“Resveratrol” (also in the skins) stops inflammation and blood clots.

“procyanidins" in the seeds of the grapes- help keep your blood vessels clear including added antioxidant properties

The juice from concord grapes stimulate the production of nitric oxide creates a relaxation effect in the blood vessels making them more flexible and therefore helping blood pressure. It is similar to what happens with red wine but without the alcohol and it lasts much longer with juice.


*WHOLE OATS- Research studies support claims that oatmeal reduces LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and improves immune system defenses. An 8-oz. bowl of oatmeal cereal is a potent source of magnesium and zinc. Magnesium builds bones, maintains heart rhythm and supports the immune system.



 * STRAWBERRIES- (organic)-  can cut cholesterol by 10%- vitamin C and E, ellagic acid, assorted carotenoid and anthocyanins



* CHERRIES-  high in antioxidants plus multiple compounds that clear away arterial plaque and clogs. 17 to be exact. 



 *APPLES and GRAPEFRUIT- Both  contain pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol. as well as slow down the progression of atherosclerosis and the clogging of arteries.

 apples contain “quercetin” , potassium and magnesium – minerals that  help control blood pressure and prevent hardening of the arteries.



*GREEN TEA- one cup a day.. Hascpolyphenols” – which are powerful antioxidents.

Healthy green tea  (organic and pure with no additives at all) also contains “procyanidins”, which also help prevent blood clots forming and promote healthy “endothelium” - the tissues that line your blood vessels and heart.



* HAWTHORN TEA- Extract from the hawthorn berries. Calms palpitations, help restore blood vessel elasticity, eases fluid build-up in the heart, stop fatty degeneration of the heart, help dilate coronary arteries and also reduce blood pressure. 

Hawthorne can be used by those already on cardiac medication and may help you decrease your dosage. 

Buy a bag of organically-grown hawthorn berries at a natural food store and steep them in hot water as a tea to help your heart stay healthy. Hawthorn has not been shown to have any adverse side effects. 



* SWEET POTATOES- Rich in fiber (cholesterol lowering at that) ,  potassium, beta carotene, folate and vitamin C. Sweet Potatoes help to lower your blood pressure and keep your arteries clear.



Tomatoes are rich in carotenoid lycopene (antioxidant that can significantly lower your risk of atherosclerosis nearly in half!). The following products from organic totatoes of course, give you a more-concentrated form than fresh tomatoes.

Tomato soup

Tomato juice 

Tomato paste

 also tomatoes are antioxidant rich- making LDL cholesterol much less susceptible to becoming oxidized – which is a  first step in the formation of artery-clogging plaque formation (a major risk factor for heart disease).




 *OMEGA 3’s- Salmon ( wild caught), Olive oil (organic cold pressed), flax seeds. 

 A previous entry on Omega 3’s and what kind are best as well as why they are so important can be found here http://viozen.tumblr.com/post/61698298094/omegas-and-you

Please do not buy Omega’s from farmed fish, SO IMPORTANT! 

and last but not least….

*BEANS- garbanzo being the best.  All beans contain good/important dietary fiber, but garbanzo beans just might be one of the best. They hep remove bad cholesterol.

Here’s to a healthier heart and a healthier YOU!


© VioZen 2013

*note-  additional contributing sources are hubpages in conjunction with Carol Weaver & livestrong


Why Vegans Have Better Blood

A plant-based diet can lower your blood pressure, according to research released today in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. The meta-analysis confirmed a very promising health benefit of being a vegetarian: an enviably lower blood pressure than your omnivorous friends.

“If you’re eating animal fat, your blood is actually thicker and has a hard time circulating. So the heart has to push harder to get the blood to flow. If you’re not eating meat, your blood viscosity drops and your blood pressure drops. We think that’s the more important reason.”

Back in the gym!

Did a hard workout consisting of 35 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise and 25 minutes of weight/strength training, and I felt my heart working almost as hard as it could the entire time. It was amazing! I could imagine every chamber of my heart ejecting my blood as fast as it can to fuel my hard-working muscles. My heart felt so happy afterwards, like it appreciated the healthy work I just put it through. I could even feel the blood vessels in my legs expanding to bring more blood to my legs, which was another amazing sensation. Another amazing thing I could picture with clarity was my coronary arteries expanding to bring more blood to my heart muscle itself, which always inspires me to keep exercising. Exercise always makes me fall back in love with my heart and hearts in general. Definitely going to exercise as much as possible this semester (oh yeah, and I’ll try to post some new recordings of my heart beating soon as well, since they’ve been so well-received)! And please, keep talking to me about my heart, since that makes me want to take excellent care of it.