Emily Kopp’s tale of courage: The Surgery .. The Strength (Part 2)


My chest was being painted with a cleaning solution for my transplant. It tickled and I was rooting more vehemently for the Browns because I was being painted orange. The original transplant day was scheduled for October 16, but the double checking of the heart pushed it to October 17. I was 17-years-old and had only been on the waiting list for 7 days. I didn’t realize how odd these numbers were yet, but I did realize how lucky I was. Some patients spend years and holidays waiting. I was the calmest person in the room. It was soothing to be surrounded by family and friends. I was ready to say goodbye to my bad heart. Goodbye water weight. Goodbye sores.

While hugging everyone before being wheeled into the operating room, I felt a small panic. “What if this is the last time everyone will see me?” I calmed myself by telling myself that I wouldn’t feel a thing. I would be in a two day coma. I made sure each hug was long, but had trust in the surgeons. I decided not to look back once inside and I remember how big the operating room was. I hopped up onto the operating table where they had me count backwards. Before I could finish counting, I was out. I remember they told me that when I would be half awake, they would ask me to move. I don’t remember moving.

The next thing I remember was that I was fighting to be awake. I had a difficult time trying to open my eyes and everything I could barely see appeared to be covered by a thin veil. It turns out that my eyes kept opening even when I wasn’t awake so they had to glue them shut. I felt like I was burning up with a fever. My feet could only move at first so I tried kicking off my blanket then I muttered, “it is too hot.” I don’t remember who I first saw when I woke up, but I think everyone was there waiting for me. I learned that everyone waiting wasn’t informed right away when I was done and that I was put in my room from back door backwards. Mary (Who is Mary Should be told sister/friend)didn’t sleep or leave my side. My dad had cried upon seeing everything that I was hooked up to.

I had a breathing tube in that I felt upon waking, tubes to drain the blood from my lungs, multiple infusions, pacemaker wires, and loads of tape. I thought that my heart was racing when I first woke up, but then I remembered how slow my heart had been. Even though I was loaded up with morphine, I could feel the tubes in my lungs digging into my back. When it was time to get the tubes removed, I was excited, but it was the most unpleasant thing I can remember experiencing. They had me take a deep breathe before pulling them. Despite the deep breathe that I took, I gasped, choked, and cringed in pain.

They say that transplant patients crave things that the donor liked. I was craving M&M cookies. I had to wait until I healed more until I could eat more foods. They let me have an M&M McFlurry.

I told the nurses that I didn’t mind being poked over and over again with needles, but I had an infusion put in the side of my bicep to insure that I didn’t get an infection. I had a pencil sized infusion in my groin already. I didn’t want to bend my leg and was afraid that I would accidentally pull the pacemaker wires that protruding from my body out. The worst part about getting the infusion in my bicep was the numbing process. The surgeons were asking me if I felt anything and they kept hitting a nerve in the process. It created the tingling sensation you feel when you smack your open hand on a table.

I was upset at the fact that I needed a permanent and rather bulky pacemaker because my new heart wasn’t beating fast enough. Taking medicine has never been a problem for me because I have always had to take medicine even as a child. I will continue to always have medicine for the rest of my life. There were new limitations that I hated, but had to accept. I would have to receive heart biopsies on a regular basis. I wished that there were other ways to check rejection levels. No more Mountain Dew. The grapefruit juice would interfere with my anti-rejection medicine. No standing in front of loud speakers or going through metal detectors. Electronic devices could interfere with my pacemaker. For my pacemaker surgery, I was fully conscious. I couldn’t feel the incision, but I did feel the pressure of the surgeons pounding my pacemaker in. The pacemaker scar hurt more than my transplant scar did. I was annoyed at the fact that I couldn’t lift my arm for a while in order to keep the pacemaker in place. I had some of the most vivid dreams and got to spend my Halloween in the hospital. It was exciting to get a whole pillowcase full of candy from everyone there.

CorpseBride     CorpseBride2

I was allowed to walk a short distance with a wireless heart monitor. I loved to sit and watch the tropical fish in one of the waiting rooms. One day, I noticed a large family grouped together. They were crying. I learned that Denzel Douglas’ heart was failing and it was too late. He was only 16 years old. I had survivor’s guilt and cried for them. I thought about how knowing for certain when you would die would feel peaceful and horrifying. I wanted to comfort them somehow, but thought I would only make it worse.

I recovered relatively quickly and was able to go home. The tingling sensation remained for a whole month. Everyone who came in the house had to wash their hands and I couldn’t go out anywhere for three months. My dad wrote a letter to the donor family. I wanted to write to express my gratitude, but felt like I would be reopening a wound. My donor was a twenty year old male who died in a motorcycle accident.

I was home schooled poorly, but still managed to catch up when I did go back to school. It was upsetting that I had to withdraw from my chemistry class because it was the only class I shared with my boyfriend, Tony. My chemistry teacher was very fond of me and was all praises for my will power and positive approach throughout my recovery period.  trying and recovering. I learned that people spread rumors at school that I died. It was humbling and amusing.

I was extremely anxious to finally kiss Tony. He earned immense trust by staying with me I started respecting him more because he loved me despite of my medical conditions. We kept glancing over at each other while watching South Park late at night. Our eyes met and he said, “Hi.” “Hi”, I responded with and then finally leaned in. It was passionate and long overdue. I could finally return to normal life.

For many who do not have other complications life goes on normally, with in the frame work of limitation, which is as good as having a new life altogether. I wish I was one amongst them.(I fell this should be end of part one of the story which tell about the fight of young girl to get normal life. This end would make the readers curious about what happened later.)

I am Yet Positive Towards life. I will not fail my donor. I am a strong girl.

Read more about Emily here.

Creamy Mushroom Soup: A healthy treat!!

Creamy Mushroom Soup

This version of creamy  mushroom soup is cooked in just ten minutes, has very low fat content, and is as yummy as it can get. With rich creamy texture of mushrooms, sweetness of mushrooms and milk balanced by salt and hint of pepper.

Recipe Particulars:

  • Servings: Around 500 ml
  • Preparation Time: 15 mins
  • Cooking Time: 10 mins
  • Recipe Credit: The recipe was taken from here to promote healthy eating. We are deeply grateful to the author for posting the same: You are helping us encourage a healthy heart 🙂.
  • Approximate Nutrition Facts: Calories: 250, Proteins: 20.9-21..98 gm, Carbs: 25.7-25.8 gm, Fat : 5.4-5.5gm (Taking low fat milk with 5 gm/500 ml fat content), Fibers: 1.2 gm, Sugar: 27.01 gm,
    • Micro nutrients from Mushrooms: B2: 0.3 mg, Niacin equivalent: 3.7 mg,  Biotin: 8.9 mg, Folate: 18 mg,  Vitamin D: 10-15 gm in sun exposed mushrooms, Vitamin A; 21% ( from milk), Copper: 342 mg; Selenium: 15.4 mg, Phosphorous: 110 mg, Potassium: 310 mg; Chromium:13.4 mg, Calcium 62% (from milk ).
    • The values are not exact but approximate estimation, as taken from different source from internet. The nutritional value will change slightly with the type of mushrooms taken and type of low fat milk taken to make the soup.
  • This is a Recipe from Jyotsna Pant’s Blog. Refer to the blog for complete recipe with Pictures, suggestions and tips.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 200 gm, Button Mushrooms.
  • 500 ml Milk ( This recipe has used low fat milk)
  • 3-4 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt or to taste

Recipe Directions:

  • Wash mushrooms under flowing water.
  • Chop Mushrooms to pieces.
  • Divide the chopped Mushrooms to 2 parts. Pulse one part of chopped Mushrooms to fine paste.
  • Keep aside for further use. No water is required to pulse mushrooms.
  • Pulse the rest half of the mushrooms to a near coarse paste without adding water.
  • Boil milk in a thick bottom pan and when the milk comes to boil bring the heat to low, add the paste of mushrooms and cook with continuous stirring.
  • After cooking for a minute or so add the coarse paste of mushrooms and again cook on low heat with continuous stirring for just one minute. This is sufficient time for the coarsely pulsed mushroom pieces to cook.
  • Shred basil leafs with hands and add to the milk mushroom mixture.
  • Switch off the heat and add white pepper powder. In case white pepper powder is not available black pepper powder also can be used.
  • Mix and add salt to taste and mix.
  • Cover and let it stand for a minute or so for the flavor of pepper and basil to mingle with mushroom.
  • Serve it piping hot. You can warm it up again before serving.

Emily Kopp’s tale of courage: How it started…

My name is Emily Kopp and this is part of my story…


It was 2004 and the end of summer when everyone at Thome gymnastics began our nonstop run to the park. I was 14-years old. As we reached the top of a hill, I began to feel unusually exhausted. I didn’t think much of it at first and decided to push myself further with words of encouragement from Coach Brian. I thought that I was simply a little out of shape from not being as active as I had been. My broken wrist and fear of balance beam was to blame for that in my mind. I felt guilty. When we reached the park, I didn’t want to leave. It was quiet and I was cooling down in a fountain. I had fun kicking and splashing while sitting barefoot.

It wasn’t until we ran back to the gym that I realized that something must be wrong and that I might be sick with something. I was out of breath. My dad noticed when it was time to go home Later that day, I walked up the stairs at home and felt extremely out of breath that I thought I was going to faint. I collapsed on the floor.Everything around me was spinning and I felt far too weak to get up. Looking up caused a wash of sickness. I thought I was going to die. This lasted for about ten seconds. It was terrifying and made me realize that a doctor’s visit was absolutely mandatory. To me, it was nothing that a trip to the doctor’s couldn’t fix

Doctor sent home with a heart recording monitor that I had to wear all day and was pleased to not have to wear the recording wires at night. It was annoying and uncomfortable to wear even just with the stickers. They wanted me to keep a journal to mark whenever I felt exhausted and what activity I was doing. I remember getting questions from my fellow classmates in grade school. They seemed concerned. I liked and appreciated their curiosity and concern, and was looking forward to getting it off and be over with.

After my heart recordings were reviewed, the cardiologists decided to do an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound plus recording of the heart. My mom, dad, and I were all waiting in a room together for the results. At first, I was having a hard time paying attention and listening to what the doctor was saying because I still didn’t feel it was that a serious matter. My parents were mostly listening without speaking anything. Then I remember the feeling of dread in the room as Doctor Boyle looked at and talked to me more. There’s no easy way to break this kind of news: I had cardiomyopathy. My heart was enlarged and my heartbeat was irregular and slow. I would eventually need a heart transplant. How does anyone begin to process this all? I wasn’t scared or shocked. I felt numb compared to everyone in the room. No one in my family had heart disease. It felt like we were in that room forever and I just wanted to leave.

If I didn’t had not already considered quitting gymnastics before this, the news would have been absolutely devastating. I had already shed my tears for giving up something that was a huge part of my life. The guilt I had felt turned into the inevitable reality. in an attempt to fill the void I took jazz and ballet classes for a while. in an attempt to fill the void. It was fun, but I eventually decided that my health couldn’t take it anymore.

I remember begging my dad to let me go with him on his bike ride to the lake so we could watch the sunset. I told him that I wouldn’t hold him up. After I convinced him, unfortunately, I had to stop half way through. He was upset, understandably so. When we arrived home, we talked about my condition and how my dad thought it would eventually go away on its own. As much as I wanted that to be true, I knew it wasn’t.

My heart rate was 40 beats per minute. I couldn’t walk without feeling out of breath. I had to avoid drinking plain water because my body would retain it. Walking up stairs was a grueling task. I was huffing, puffing, and heaving with multiple heavy text books. The locations of my classes were nowhere near my locker so I had to carry them all. I was huffing, puffing, and heaving with multiple heavy text books.

Everything was overwhelming. I experienced my first heartbreak, attempted suicide, lost support of friends, and ultimately became depressed. Life changed completely for me. Eventually, my right heart valve stopped opening and closing. I felt as if no one understood or cared about me, period, though it was not so. My family was extremely caring and supportive, yet those who go through the pain can only understand it. No one seemed to truly understand how difficult my heart condition made things. “Imagine having a constant asthma attack” I would say. I gained a lot of water weight and developed sores on my wrists and ankles. My self-esteem suffered greatly.

Walking home from high school during summer was the worst. I always dragged behind and others were always impatient. I tried getting bus passes, but didn’t qualify because I wasn’t far enough to get them for free. It was still a far walk for me. A kind friend, Isaah would offer me his bus passes sometimes. That air conditioning felt like a huge breath of relief. God bless Isaah.

Late August of in 2007, had one of the hottest days I can remember. We had these strange pizza quesadillas that were my favorite, for lunch. Afterwards, I started feeling feverish and nauseous and eventually threw up in the nurse bathroom. Needless to say, I wasn’t fond of those pizza quesadillas anymore. I forgot to mention to the nurse that I had a heart condition so when he listened to my heart, he freaked out and started calling people. My heart rate was 40 beats per minute. I had told him that my heart felt like it was racing. It really did feel racing compared to my normal at the time.

I was admitted to The Cleveland Clinic that same day and was told that I was staying until I had the heart transplant. Part of me felt relaxed because I would be closely watched and cared for by professional people. It was happening then. Conflicting thought and emotions were troubling me. At the same time, I was saddened by the realization that someone would have to die so that I could live. It felt selfish.I was put on an experimental infusion drug to change my heart rate so I could get further up on the waiting list.


Within six days, they found a heart. When Doctor Boyle came into the room to inform me, I was so busy playing Pikmin on the GameCube that I didn’t hear what he was saying. Then Nurse Colleen came in to ask me if I was excited. “Excited for what?” When she told me about availability of heart I found out, I was thrilled. I did feel a little bad for alienating Doctor Boyle.

Read More about Emily here.

Choose To Be Happy: A lovely poem By Marlene Rose


Poem Credit : The poem was copied from this source

Choose To Be Happy
By Marlene Rose

Choose to be happy,
Choose to feel great,
Choose not to let things make you irate.

I know that some people are not feeling great,
And I know that some people just know how to hate.
And I wish that all people could be healthy and strong,
And I wish that all people would just get along.

If wands could be waved,  and the world would be cured,
I’d wave that big wand, you can be assured.
But I’ll do what I can every day I am here,
And try to remember “the good,” year to year.

And I choose to be happy,
And I choose to feel great,
And I choose not to let things make me irate!

Spinach Soup: When healthy eating can also be so tasty and full of flavor… Why not??

Spinach Soup.

Soups are healthy and nutritious easily digestible food, provide they are made from fresh ingredients. Ready Made soup mostly contain corn flour which add pure calorie without much nutrition value and the preservatives, flavoring agents are also not too good for health specially when the soup is meant for pregnant ladies or Anemic patient. This  healthy soup is especially very good for those who have low hemoglobin.

Recipe Particulars:

  • Servings: Around 400 to 500 ml
  • Preparation Time: 5 mins
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Recipe Credit: The recipe was taken from here to promote healthy eating. We are deeply grateful to the author for posting the same: You are helping us encourage a healthy heart 🙂.
  • Approximate Nutrition Facts: Cal 50, Potassium 1400 mg, Sugar 0%. Sodium 200 mg, Cholesterol 0 mg, All Fats 0 mg,
    Protein 7.5 gm, Carb 10 gm, Dietary fibers 5 gm, Vitamin A 469%, Vitamin B6 0%, Vitamin B120%, Vitamin C116%, Vitamin D 0%, Calcium 25%, Iron 41% Magnesium 0%.

    • Apart from this carrot adds to Vitamin C, Calcium, Vitamin A and Micro nutrients and Moong dal add Protien and other micro nutrients.
    • If cream is added then fat will be incorporated in the above said values. Ginger, clove, cinnamon and other spices add not only the flavor but aslo help in aleviating cold, cough, sore throat.
  • This is a Recipe from Jyotsna Pant’s Blog. Refer to the blog for complete recipe with Pictures, suggestions and tips.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 250 gm Spinach leafs (1 Small bunch Palak)
  • 20-30 gm. Carrot (1 Small)
  • 5 Tea spoon Moong dal(30 – 40 gm.)
  • 2 Tea spoon Cream (Optional)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Inch piece of cinnamon
  •  2-3 Cloves
  • 1 Inch piece Ginger
  •  Water

Recipe Directions:

  • Remove the stalk from leaves of spinach.
  • Discard the stalks and wash the leaves nicely with lots of water.
  • Cut the spinach leaves and keep aside.
  • Cut carrot to small pieces.
  • Wash Moong dal nicely.
  •  Take a pressure cooker and put:
    • Washed and cut leaves of spinach
    • Pieces of carrot
    • Moong dal
    • Cinnamon stick
    • Cloves
    • Ginger
    • Salt
    • 250 ml. water
  • Close the lid and keep the cooker on high flame till pressure builds in the cooker.
  • Lower the flame and cook for 2-3 min.
  • Remove the cooker from heat and let it cool.
  • Remove cinnamon stick.
  • Put the cooled boiled ingredients in the blender and blend to a paste.
  • Add water to make it of the consistency (thickness) you prefer and give it a nice boil.
  • Take it out in a glass or bowl and add dash of pepper powder and few drops of lemon juice. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add some cream and drink it piping hot.

Paya Soup (Mutton Legs/Shank Soup) : When good soup can be as strong as strong medicine

Paya Soup

This soup, apart from having loads of flavor, can also be a great health supplement for all those who have had any sort of bone problem like fracture, calcium deficiency, iron deficiency and for ladies post-delivery and in pre-menopausal stage. This soup is especially good for Tuberculosis patients. Patients having it regularly have shown remarkable recovery.

Recipe Particulars:

  • Servings: Around 400 ml
  • Preparation Time: 20 mins
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Recipe Credit: The recipe was taken from here to promote healthy eating. We are deeply grateful to the author for posting the same: You are helping us encourage a healthy heart 🙂.
  • Approximate Nutrition Facts: Cal 60, Fat 5.5gm., Cholesterol 73gm., Sodium 199 mg., Potassium 550 mg., Carbs  10gm.
    Dietary fibers 2gm., Protein 25gm., Sugar 0.5 gm, Vitamin A 142%, B12 50% , Calcium, Copper, Iron and other micro nutrients are present in the soup. All values given above are not exact but approximation to the nearest value.
  • Those suffering from High BP should not add tomatoes as it has high sodium content.
  • This is a Recipe from Jyotsna Pant’s Blog. Refer to the blog for complete recipe with Pictures, suggestions and tips.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 Pieces or Mutton Legs (Lower bone part of goat leg / Shank)
  • 1 Medium size Onion
  • 1 inch Ginger piece
  • 1/2 medium size Tomato
  • 5-6 Sprigs of fresh green coriander leaves
  • 2-3 Cloves
  • 1 cm. Piece of Cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Recipe Directions:

  • Wash the mutton bone pieces very nicely, to get rid of all hair pieces stuck to them
  • Cut onion.
  • Cut tomatoes.
  • Peel and cut ginger piece.
  • Wash coriander sprigs nicely and cut them.
  • Put in a pressure cooker:  Mutton pieces, Cut onion, Cut tomato, Cut ginger, Cut coriander leaves,  Piece of cinnamon, Cloves, Salt, 150 ml. water
  • Close the lid and keep on high flame and cook on high flame till pressure builds in the cooker.
  • Lower the flame and cook on low flame for 5 min.
  • Switch off the gas and let the cooker cool with all boiled ingredients in it.
  • When cool remove the boiled material from cooker.
  • Remove cinnamon, cloves and discard them.
  • Remove the bones and put them in a bowl with some water and with a bone scooper take out if anything is left in the bone.
  • Rinse the boiled bones with some mashing action.
  • Keep all liquid in a bowl and discard the bones.
  • Grind all other solid boiled material except bones in a grinder- mixer to a paste.
  •  Mix all the liquid and paste together and sieve it through a sieve.
  • Add water to make the soup of the consistency you want.
  • Give a nice boil and garnish it with a dash of lemon juice and black pepper powder.
  • Drink/ serve piping hot.

Carrot Soup for the healthy you!!!

Carrot Soup for the Healthy Heart

Since carrots are very low on fat and rich in vitamins and minerals therefore they are very good for convulsing persons. Making soup does not destroy the nutrients. For those who are on strict diet regime for weight, soups are the best nourishing, make full dinner along with greens, whole wheat bread and chicken / fish.

Recipe Particulars:

  • Servings: Around 400 ml
  • Preparation Time: 20 mins
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Recipe Credit: The recipe was taken from here to promote healthy eating. We are deeply grateful to the author for posting the same: You are helping us encourage a healthy heart 🙂.
  • Approximate Nutrition Facts: Calories: 71 , Total Fat:0.403 gm (saturated 0.118 gm. , Polysaturated 0.174 gm, mono saturated 0.026 gm.) , Potassium: 5410 mg, Sodium: 73 mg, Total Carb: 72.03 gm, Sugars: 7.50 gm, Protein: 14.16 gm, Vitamin A: 34%, Vitamin C: 26% , Calcium: 4%, Iron:4%, Dietary Fibers:10.28 gm., Garlic is good source of Phosphorous, Selenium, Manganese, Vitamin B6
  • This is a Recipe from Jyotsna Pant’s Blog. Refer to the blog for complete recipe with Pictures, suggestions and tips.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 100 gm. Carrots
  • 50 gm. Onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 50 gm. (One medium size) Tomato
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 cm. Long Stick of Cinnamon
  • Water (As needed)

Recipe Directions:

  • Wash the carrots and remove the thin roots sticking to them.
  • Remove the top where leaves were attached.
  • Cut carrots to on 2-3 cm. big pieces.
  • Peel onion and cut it to 2-3 cm. big pieces or slice to long thin pieces.
  • Peel garlic and pound it.
  • Wash and cut tomato to 2-3 cm. big pieces.
  • Take all carrot, tomato, onion, garlic, cinnamon and 150 ml. water into a pressure cooker.
  • Close the lid of pressure cooker and keep it on high flame till pressure is formed in the cooker.
  • Lower the flame and cook for 2-3 min.
  • Remove the cooker from gas and allow it to cool.
  • Sieve the liquid from boiled solid.
  • Mash all solid and pass the contents of cooker through a sieve.
  •  While passing the mashed contents through the sieve make sure maximum mashed vegetables pass through it. You may require 100-200 ml. water to sieve the solid through the sieve.
  • Throw the little solid left on the sieve. They will mostly be seeds of tomato and cinnamon stick.
  • Add the pulp to the liquid you get after sieving, add salt and give one boil.
  • Take out the hot soup in a soup bowl / glass sprinkle some pepper powder and serve hot.

Turmeric- more on its benefits on the healthy heart

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We introduced Turmeric earlier in this blog… and mentioned how it can be helpful in an earlier article. We are going to talk more about how turmeric helps our hearts…

Turmeric and Plaque Build-up

Both heart attacks and strokes are caused by atherosclerotic plaque buildup or high cholesterol levels. This plaque buildup leads to blood clots being formed and when a single clot breaks off from arterial walls and travels to the brain or heart, it can cause a stroke or heart attack. Studies have found that turmeric could reduce the adhesive abilities of blood platelets, thereby preventing them from forming clots. It can also relax blood vessels and minimize heart damage after suffering a heart attack.
Several other studies conducted on the benefits of turmeric suggest the same – that it could prevent buildup of plaque, therefore preventing onset of atherosclerosis leading to blocked arteries, stroke or heart attack. In laboratory studies on animals, it was found that turmeric extracts could lower levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol from building up in the arteries. This could stop platelets from bunching together and could also reduce risk of clots being formed on arterial walls. However, in another study, it was found that 4g of curcumin taken daily did not drastically improve cholesterol levels.
Another study pointed out that curcumin prevents cholesterol oxidation that is the main reason for plaque buildup, destruction of blood vessels and heart attacks or strokes. Curcumin has vitamin B6, essential in maintaining optimal homocysteine levels, excess of which could cause plaque buildup and blood vessel damage. In a study on 10 healthy patients given 500mg curcumin for 7 days daily, their oxidized cholesterol levels in the blood reduced by 33%, total cholesterol by 11.63% and HDL cholesterol had a 29% increase.

Turmeric for LDL / bad cholesterol control

A study was conducted on rats being fed a diet rich in saturated fats and low in fiber or a diet that also included curcumin in it for 8 weeks. In the rats fed the curcumin diet, serum triglyceride levels reduced by 27%, LDL cholesterol by 56% and total cholesterol by 33.8% as compared to the group fed the high fat diet. Their low-density lipoprotein levels also reduced and they had 20% less blockage in their arteries indicating the benefits of turmeric in preventing plaque buildup and heart disease or stroke.
Curcumin in the blood sends signals to the liver cells commanding them to produce more mRNA the messenger proteins. These create more LDL cholesterol receptors and help liver cells to clear out the bad cholesterol from our bodies. This results in reduction of bad cholesterol and prevents plaque buildup. Liver cells that received 10 microM of curcumin were able to demonstrate a 7-fold increase in production of mRNA as against cells that did not receive any curcumin.

Anti-inflammatory benefit

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory capabilities too. It can work in two ways by suppressing COX enzyme that causes pro-inflammatory signals to be created in the body and it also inhibits the gene that increase production of all pro-inflammatory molecules. The antioxidant properties of turmeric are similar to vitamin E and C. its antioxidant abilities are not degraded by cooking. A study on rabbits fed a high-fat diet and a turmeric diet found that curcumin reduced damage by free radicals and triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Turmeric and Stroke

A stroke can affect the brain also and animal studies find that a drug made using turmeric could regenerate cells of the brain after a stroke. In a study on rabbits, it was found that curcumin drugs could reduce motor deficits caused by a stroke. This hybrid curcumin compound CNB-001 is said to quickly cross the blood-brain barrier and moderate mechanisms vital to neuronal survival. CNB-001 acts by repairing damage caused by strokes and it does not attack the blood clots themselves. The repair is done at the neuron level. Turmeric on its own does not get absorbed so easily and you require very high concentrations to provide any therapeutic benefits. This means that in an emergency stroke situation, turmeric may not be as effective. This is why CNB-001 seems a better choice for it gets absorbed and distributed very quickly. It can repair damage to 4 major pathways to the brain.
Studies have been conducted on the benefits of turmeric for hemorrhagic strokes at the Medical College of Georgia. Usually patients who suffer from such strokes are treated for nausea, headaches and other symptoms and not for the stroke itself. Often invasive surgery is done to remove the clots. However, some patients might not be able to undergo such surgery. Therefore, laboratory animals mimicking hemorrhagic strokes were injected a solution of curcumin with corn oil in the abdomen thrice over three hours. It was found that the size of the clots reduced although the reason was not known. It was thought to be the combination of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric. IV curcumin seems the most beneficial and it could also prevent a stroke from occurring. Curcumin capsules may also protect those at risk from suffering a stroke. Further studies are required.

Cholesterol… and the heart….

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Cholesterol helps your body build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. Normally, the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from food, such as animal-based foods like milk, eggs, and meat. Too much cholesterol in your body is a risk factor for heart disease.

There are two forms of cholesterol that most Americans are familiar with: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol.) These are the form in which cholesterol travels in the blood.

LDL is the main source of artery-clogging plaque. HDL actually works to clear cholesterol from the blood.

Triglycerides are another fat in our bloodstream. Research is now showing that a high levels of triglycerides may also be linked to heart disease.

Atherosclerosis : Atherosclerosis hardens and clogs arteries leading to the heart, brain, arms and legs. When it affects the arteries of the heart, it causes coronary artery disease which can result in chest pain, weakness, perspiration, shortness of breath and heart attack.

This slowly progressing disease is the cause of nearly 75% of all heart-related deaths. Excess fat, calcium, cholesterol and other substances buildup deposits on arterial walls forming plaque. When plaque hardens, the arteries become hard and inflexible. Risk factors of atherosclerosis include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, eating a diet rich in saturated fats, females after menopause etc. 

Stroke : Blood supply to the brain can get disrupted due to a blood clot or when a blood vessel bursts spilling blood into gaps in the brain cells. The first is called an ischemic stroke and the secondhemorrhagic stroke. This prevents nutrients and oxygen from reaching the brain, or bleeding around the brain and causes cell death. Strokes can cause permanent or temporary neurological impairment. 

High cholesterol itself does not cause any symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol levels are too high. Hence, it is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are. Lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it.

Some recommend that everyone over age 20 should get theircholesterol levels measured at least once every 5 years. The test that is performed is a blood test called a lipoprotein profile. That includes:

  • Total cholesterol level
  • LDL (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • HDL (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides

Introducing Turmeric for a healthy heart..

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Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color.

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric was traditionally called “Indian saffron” because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.

Turmeric is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

Curcumin is effective to prevent heart diseases, as turmeric has antioxidant, antiplatelet and cholestrol-lowering agents. These are all beneficial for the prevention and treatment of heart diseases. Thus turmeric helps to prevent heart diseases and also acts as an aid.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that is said to have powerful anti-platelet activity in several preliminary studies. For dosage for atherosclerosis, you are recommended to check the label instructions. The usual recommended dosage of turmeric powder capsules is 400-600mg thrice daily. I strongly feel that this would vary a lot from case to case.

Turmeric is not known to have any side effects as such. Turmeric has blood-thinning properties. Hence, anyone taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin must consult their doctor before taking turmeric for heart or stroke.

Apart from this, those taking drugs to reduce stomach acid, pregnant and breast feeding women and diabetic patients must be cautious when taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric spice used in food is usually safe for anyone to consume. Excess consumption could cause diarrhea or ulcers in extremely rare cases.