Antioxidants vs Cardiovascular Disease
Studies show that "flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease”
In addition to the other healthful properties that palo azul has, this magic tea also has flavonoids which are found in green tea as well.
Most of us have probably heard about the antioxidant benefits of green tea that can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc.
But...what are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are natural products commonly found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and tea such as palo azul. There’s a ton of studies that have found numerous health benefits in flavonoids and these are are attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties.
In fact, we read two medical reviews composed from the findings of 327 studies done specifically on flavonoids, and the researchers found that flavonoids may “lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
* Here's a very important finding: Scientists in one study observed the “consumption of them (flavonoids) is associated with improvement in endothelial function (blockage of arteries) via vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase and protein kinase B (Akt) activation.”
What is endothelial function?
The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction, as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion.
Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to be important in predicting stroke and heart attacks due to the inability of the arteries to dilate completely. Dysfunction can result from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Studies have shown that endothelial dysfunction precedes the development of atherosclerosis, a chronic disease characterized by abnormal thickening and hardening of the artery walls. This can cause a stroke or a heart attack.
In other words...Endothelial dysfunction causes a blockage in the arteries that can lead to hypertension, stroke, or heart attack.
These are the most flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas such as palo azul
Researchers from a medical review also mentioned that “population studies have shown that flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.”
Epidemiological, clinical and animal studies reveal that “flavonoids may exert protective effects against various disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
The studies inform that “the cardioprotective role of tea is reported to be due to antioxidant effect of the flavonoids, which act as scavengers for free radicals.“
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.
This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases.
Since flavonoids have strong antioxidant properties, they can reduce oxidative stress and free radicals associated with cardiovascular disease.
In conclusion, the researchers of a study conclude the following: “Continued studies of the mechanisms underlying the biological effects of plant flavonoids may provide new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.”
Key findings from medical studies
• Flavonoids “may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”
• Flavonoids “possess the bioactivity to positively affect against cardiovascular risk factors such as lipoprotein oxidation, dyslipidemia and endothelial dysfunction.”
• "Antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties play a significant role in the lower cardiovascular mortality illustrated by increased flavonoid consumption.”
• “Research on flavonoids received an added impulse with the discovery of the low cardiovascular mortality rate and also prevention of CHD (coronary heart disease).”
* Palo Azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce