What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
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Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organisation. The NHS explains CVD is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels, and is usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots.
The NHS says: “It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes.
“CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK, but it can often largely be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.”
A new clinical trial found daily consumption of cranberries for one month improved cardiovascular function in healthy men.
The new study, published today in Food & Function, looked at whole cranberry freeze-dried powder, equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries, and its impact on cardiovascular health.
READ MORE: Diabetes: Two red fruits shown to supercharge insulin sensitivity and slash blood sugar
The study included 45 healthy men who consumed whole cranberry powder equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries per day (9 g powder) or a placebo for one month.
It found that those consuming cranberry had a significant improvement in flow-mediated dilation, which signals improvement of heart and blood vessel function.
This is considered a sensitive biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk and measures how blood vessels widen when blood flow increases.
Dr Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at King’s College London and senior author of the study, said: “The increases in polyphenols and metabolites in the bloodstream and the related improvements in flow-mediated dilation after cranberry consumption emphasise the important role cranberries may play in cardiovascular disease prevention.”
She added: “The fact that these improvements in cardiovascular health were seen with an amount of cranberries that can be reasonably consumed daily makes cranberry an important fruit in the prevention of cardiovascular disease for the general public.”
The researchers note low consumption of fruits and vegetables is one of the top modifiable risk factors associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease worldwide.
The results suggest that eating cranberries as part of a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood vessel function.
An initial pilot study was completed with five healthy young men to confirm the biological activity of the whole cranberry freeze-dried powder.
The study found significant improvements in flow-mediated dilation two hours after first consumption and after one month of daily consumption showing both immediate and chronic benefit.
Indeed, although the exact cause of CVD isn’t clear, the NHS says there are lots of “risk factors” to be mindful of, and some surround diet.
The health body says an unhealthy diet can lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are risk factors. Moreover, being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for CVD.
If you’re over 40, you should be invited by your GP for an NHS Health Check every five years. Part of this check involves assessing your individual CVD risk and advising you how to reduce it if necessary.
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