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"Endothelial Dysfunction" Starting Stage For Any Heart Disease

We all have heard and read everywhere that “A healthy heart makes a healthy you.” Our heart is an amazing organ. It pumps around 2000 gallons of blood every single day thus, supplying us with every essential nutrient and our life support oxygen. Can you imagine  life without a heart? No, right! Now, what is the key to keeping your heart healthy? All cardiovascular related diseases begin with endothelial dysfunction. Endothelial cells are active, multifunctional cells which forms the basis of healthy heart, veins, arteries and thus, of entire cardiovascular system.

Why endothelial cells are so important?

Endothelial cells form the innermost lining of our blood vessels. The primary function of this cell is to maintain a smooth flow of the blood in our blood vessels. It’s also known as the magic carpet and it produces the magic bullet called the nitric oxide. This wonderful nitric oxide acts as a dilator, mediator, regulator of the blood vessels and also improves our immune system.

Why nitric oxide is life saving and what does it do?

  • It helps in smooth blood flow through our  blood vessels.

  • It is the strongest dilator of the blood vessels that is, it helps to relax the blood vessels and thus, allows easy flow of blood therefore, prevents hypertension.

  • It prevents formation of inflammation at the first place and hardening of arteries.

  • It destroys the foam cells which are nothing but a complex formed of white blood cells and oxidised cholesterol and thus preventing from plaque buildup and blockages.

What damages our magic carpet and in turn its ability to produce the magic bullet?

Our favourites like milk shakes, yogurt, pizzas with extra cheese, hot dogs, bread toast with omelettes, that is our modern western diet which is super-rich in cholesterol, fats, and added sugar coming from animal, poultry and dairy sources. These foods are highly acidic in nature and since our body is alkaline therefore these foods causes severe damage to our endothelial cells. What happens is that the acid from these foods damages our endothelial lining and thus a hole or a gap is formed in between the arteries. So our liver produces cholesterol which is actually good and fills this gap. Now due to continuous intake of this poor diet our inflammatory responses goes on increasing and cholesterol goes on piling up in our arteries and this affects the production of nitric oxide by our endothelial cells. Later, these free radicals formed due to the oxidative stress oxidises this good cholesterol and makes it bad. After sometime, they form plaque and causes hardening of the arteries. And one day when this plaque ruptures, our arteries gets blocked and blood flow is suddenly hindered leading to a mild to serious heart attack.

Is this damage reversible? If yes, then how?

Yes, 95% to 99% of this damage is reversible not by drugs nor by surgical procedures or operations but simply by your diet. The key to healthy functioning of your endothelial cells and thus of your heart is consumption of plant based & nutrition dense diet. Since they are anti-inflammatory in nature and contains a number of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals therefore, keeps your endothelial cells healthy.

Take home message

  • Healthy endothelial cells mean healthy heart and healthy you.

  • Nitric oxide produced by endothelial cells prevents you from getting hypertension, atherosclerosis or any other heart disease

  • Plant based & nutrition dense diet is the key for proper functioning of your endothelial cells while dairy, processed and animal foods damages these linings and makes your life at risk.