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Monthly Archives: November 2007

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – and their amazing heart health giving properties

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Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger 

There is an old saying that ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. This may actually be the perfect motto for the Red Hot Chilli Pepper. But beyond the culinary qualities of adding heat and spice to many traditional dishes these thermogenic delights are valued around the world for their healing properties as well as their capability to add zest and fire to an otherwise bland food recipe.   

    Chilli Pepper enthusiasts have since timely memorial trumpeted the amazingly versatile hot Chilli Pepper as an essential tool to call upon in times of sickness – and the list of common ailments for which this innocuous looking plant can apparently assist with, is endless, including coughs, colds, sinusitis and bronchitis. But there is a whole lot more benefit to be obtained from this wonder food than just relief from the ordinary ailments that strike everyone from time to time.


More about the Chilli Pepper

‘This plant may be considered to be a gift to humanity because it has more health benefits than any other food or herb on earth’, according to Dr. Roopa Chari, a Board Certified Physician in Internal Medicine from San Diego, California. There are over 3000 scientific studies listed in the National Library of Medicine to support the use of Chilli Peppers in preventing and reversing many common health ailments. It is miraculous that a simple fruit like this has healing benefits for a wide assortment of ailments. It has been used as a food, a spice and an herbal medicine for over 9000 years. All hot peppers are botanically called capsicum. They are put into different groups depending on the various species. such as capsicum annum and capsicum frutescens. Cayenne refers to one variety of capsicum but over the years it has become synonymous with capsicum and refers to most hot varieties of chillies. The potency of cayenne is determined by the intensity of its heat. This is determined by the quantity of the chemicals in cayenne and its resins. The more of these chemicals that are in cayenne and the hotter it is the stronger it is indicates it is more effective in healing. The heat is measured in heat units which are called Scoville Units or heat units. Capsicum is rated between 0 to 300,000 heat units. Most cayenne peppers are between 30,000 to 80,000 heat units. Paprika has no heat and is rated 0 heat units. Jalapeno peppers are between 50,000 to 80,000 heat units, Serrano peppers are approximately 100,000 heat units, African Bird Peppers are 200,000 heat units and Mexican habaneros are between 250,000-300,000 heat units. Ouch!

The essential relationship between Heart Health and Chilli Peppers

Lower Cholesterol

Besides the ability to unblock clogged airways, Chilli Peppers may also be capable of lowering the Blood Cholesterol level, according to Dr. Earl Mindell – a Pharmacist and Professor of nutrition at Pacific Western University in Los Angeles. The main chemical that gives Chilli Peppers their ‘bite’ is called ‘Capsaicin’. Dr Mindell continues that ‘based on the results of clinical experiments performed on animals which were fed on a diet high in Capsaicin and low in saturated fat, that this can lower the ‘bad’ LDL Cholesterol’ levels in the blood’.

Blood Thinning

Consumption of Chilli Peppers also appears to have the ability to thin the blood. Additionally, research conducted by the Max Planck Institute in Germany has discovered that eating Chilli Peppers can slow down the formation of blood clots , by increasing the length of time needed by the blood to coagulate. This is a critical defence for the body, as any hindrance to the formation of blood clots can help to prevent life threatening heart attacks and strokes.

Important Information about High Blood Pressure and Heart Medication

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Heart Disease is a massive problem in the United States and Great Britain.

Heart Disease is the primary cause of premature death in the United States, Great Britain and many other European and Westernised Countries. Statistics available from the British Heart Foundation indicate that it is the most common cause of mortality, being listed in more than thirty percent of all death certificates issued in the UK. There are similar data published by the American Heart Association indicating that in excess of 80 million Americans are currently sufferering from some form of Cardiovascular Disease. The statistics are breathtaking – In the UK alone, nearly 230,000 people suffer a heart attack each and every year. This translates into someone experiencing a myocardial infarction (heart attack) every two minutes. The sobering fact is that in about 30% of these heart attacks, the patients die. This represents nearly 70,000 annual deaths annually in the UK alone, or the equivalent of more than 1,300 Jumbo Jet crashes without any survivors!

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure (hypertension) is often referred to as the “silent killer”, because it does not exhibit any symptoms which are easily noticed, until the situation becomes quite serious. However it quietly carries on increasing if left unchecked, until it causes a massive failure of one of the body’s essential organs. Even if the sufferer survives, they may be left with a permanent disability or a severely degraded quality of life. The management of high blood pressure is therefore a key defence in the battle against heart disease.

Different Types of High Blood Pressure

There are two different types of High Blood Pressure known as ‘Primary Hypertension’ and ‘Secondary Hypertension’. Primary or “essential” hypertension has no known cause, however genetic and certain lifestyle factors such as body weight and salt intake are involved. Approximately ninety percent of people diagnosed with hypertension fall into this category. The diagnosis is made when no other cause is found. Secondary hypertension is caused by some other medical diagnosis or problem, such as kidney disease, Cushing’s syndrome, pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, chronic alcohol abuse, or the use of certain medications.

Primary hypertension

More than 9 out of 10 people with high blood pressure have what is called ‘primary’ or ‘essential hypertension’. It may be surprising to discover that there is no single clear cause of this condition, although it is known that some lifestyle factors can contribute to the condition. These include:

  • smoking
  • family history
  • obesity
  • excessive use of alcohol
  • lack of exercise
  • diet

Secondary hypertension

Around 1 in 10 people with high blood pressure have ‘secondary hypertension’. This means that the condition cannot be linked to a recognised cause – in fact, it may be a symptom of another underlying disease or factor such as:

  • kidney disease
  • endocrine disease
  • narrowing of the aorta
  • steroid medicines
  • the contraceptive pill
  • pregnancy, which can cause pre-eclampsia

How to control High Blood Pressure with Hyzaar Blood Pressure Medication

Hyzaar is a drug that prevents fluid retention in the body’s tissues, which explains its colloquial designation as a “water pill”. This medication is a combination medication used for the treatment of high blood pressure. It consists of two separate drugs that are blended together. These are:-

  • Losartan
  • Hydrochlorothiazide

Losartan belongs to a contemporary class of blood pressure medications that prevents the hormone angiotensin II from contracting the blood vessels. This in turn allows blood to flow more efficiently, which can assist with maintaining control over the patient’s blood pressure.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic that increases the elimination of urine, which has the overall effect of removing fluid from the body and as a result, the patient’s blood pressure is lowered.

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Blood Pressure Terminology

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Understanding the condition

Many people who suffer from elevated high blood pressure are not aware that they have the condition. This is due to the lack of observable symptoms, and the fact that many sufferers appear to be, and generally seem to be in good health, even to the point of declaring that they are ‘feeling great’. However, it is an important condition to understand. This is one of the most frequently ocurring medical conditions, which increases with increasing age, and which also increases the risks of stroke and other heart ailments. In order to understand the condition, it is helpful to understand some of most frequently asked questions about blood pressure:

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force which the blood exerts against the walls of the main arteries. As the heart responds to stress and physical activities such as exercising, blood pressure rises and falls.

Methods of measuring blood pressure?

Blood pressure is measured through the use of an instrument called sphygmomanometer. The traditional and familiar instrument used by physicians has, in recent years been supplemented through the ready availability of automatic electronic machines which are available for self testing by individuals. The blood pressure reading is indicated, either mechanically or electronically by giving the systolic and diastolic pressures expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The measurement is written with the systolic pressure above the diastolic pressure or with the systolic number before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mm Hg.

What do the terms systolic pressure and diastolic pressure mean ?

The systolic pressure is the force of the blood exerted as the heart muscle contracts while the diastolic pressure is the measure of the force of the blood against the arteries during the relaxation of the ventricles between beats.

What is the normal blood pressure?

The normal blood pressure of a healthy young adult is about 110/75 (below 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic). As one gets older, the normal blood pressure usually increases – a 60-year old usually has a blood pressure of 130/90.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, is known as hypertension. This a condition where the blood pressure measurement is greater than the normal blood pressure even when the individual is resting.

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