One of the most harmful effects of having a heart attack is the damage done to heart cells by the hormone epinephrine, which is released in high concentrations during a heart attack.
Five compounds found in blueberries significantly protect heart cells from damage by epinephrine. One way blueberry extract defends the heart is by protecting the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase.
Another serious problem that can follow a heart attack is progressive heart failure, or dilated cardiomyopathy.
To study the effect of blueberry extract on this condition, researchers used an animal model of a human heart attack in which the rats develop dilated cardiomyopathy. The animals that were fed blueberry extract for 12 months demonstrated significant protection against this disorder, with prevention of heart wall thinning and restructuring of the left ventricle.
Another killer following a heart attack is arrhythmia — an abnormal electrical firing of the heart. In a recent animal study, animals were made to develop ventricular fibrillations, premature ventricular contractions, and ventricular tachycardia.
It was found that ellagic acid, which is high in pomegranates, red raspberries, and muscadine grapes, significantly reduced all of these arrhythmias.
Pomegranate extract was shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and did so by promoting cholesterol secretion by the bile.
The pomegranate extract was, in fact, more effective than a statin drug in lowering cholesterol.
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