Minerals, Vitamins, nutrition | July 19, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
This amazing river that flows through our body providing oxygen, nutrition, immunity, transport, amongst other services, is our circulating blood.
Blood is a connective tissue composed of cells and cell fragments suspended in liquid called plasma.
The function of blood is to transport, regulate and protect. We know its main role as providing oxygen and delivering nutrients from digestion. It does this by diffusing through the blood vessel walls to the cells in the body, and in reverse it is able to remove carbon dioxide and wastes from the body to be eliminated via kidneys, lungs and skin.
The function of blood can be simpified by the following:
Blood is made up of plasma, a liquid extra cellular substance (about 55%) and formed cells and the fragment of cells (about 55%). 99% of these formed cells are call red blood cells (RBC) because of their colour. White blood cells (WBC) and platelets make up the remaining 1% of total blood volume.
Plasma is made up of 91.5% water and 8.5% solutes (mostly proteins). It is these plasma proteins that help maintain osmotic blood pressure supporting the transfer of fluids across the capillary wall.
The plasma proteins are made by hepatocytes (liver cells) and they include albumins, globulin and fibrinogen. Gamma globulins (antibodies and immunoglobulins) are produced during certain immune responses. Other solutes in plasma include electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, gasses and waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, ammonia and bilirubin.
Formed elements include three principal components:
Red blood cells (erythrocytes). These carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
White blood cells (leukocytes) help fight infections and aid in the immune process. These include lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils and neutrophils.
Platelets (thrombocytes) which help blood clot.
So how can we keep our blood flowing smoothly?
Maintain healthy blood pressue through exercise, weight control and healthy eating, which includes plenty of potassium rich foods (fruit and vegetables). Avoid excess salt and alcohol intake and do not smoke. The DASH diet is a diet plan proven to help improve blood pressure.
Blood vessels circulate the blood throughout the body. Arteries carry oxygen rich blood to the various organs reducing to very small branches called arterioles, venules and capillaries which unite with veins, returning the deoxygenated blood (now carbon dioxide) and wastes back to the heart.
Support these important vessels with vitamin C, bioflavonoids and vitamin E.
Vitamin C rich foods include; broccoli, citrus fruits, pineapple, strawberries and tomatoes. Bioflavonoids are found in fruits and vegetables and are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, reduce LDL oxidation (reducing the risk of atherosclerosis), and are antiviral and antibacterial. Food sources of Vitamin E include apricots, almonds, egg yolk and wheat germ.
B12 and folate are needed to make new blood cells. B12 is synthesized in the gut from bacteria and found egg yolk, meat, oysters, salmon and sardines. Support gut bacteria with a good probiotic, probiotic rich foods (yoghurt, kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut) and fibre. Folate is found in leafy green vegetables and eggs.
Iron is what gives us energy. It is a molecule that transports oxygen throughout the body in Haemoglobin (Hb), a complex protein found in red blood cells. Foods rich in iron include red meat, poultry, almonds, apricots and avocado. Acid in the stomach is needed to absorb iron; antacids, coffee, tea and calcium can inhibit the absorption.
Blood volume is determined by the amount of water and sodium ingested, excreted by the kidneys into the urine, and lost through the gastrointestinal tract, lungs and skin.
The amounts of water and sodium ingested and lost are highly variable. The kidneys regulate the amount of water and sodium to maintaing blood volumn within a normal range.
Garlic can help prevent heart disease, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and also to boost the immune system. Include garlic in the diet or supplement.
Much study has been done on the benefits of the curcuminoids from turmeric and this includes for use in the prevention of atherosclerosis. This is a condition in which fatty materials such as cholesterol accumulate and thickens the wall of the artery blocking the free flow of blood
Fish oil can be useful for its antiplatelet activity, preventing platelets from clumping together. It helps reduce blood viscosity (thins the blood), decreased fibrinogen levels and thrombin formation (helps prevent blood clots from forming), supports the adherence of probiotics bacteria sticking to the intestinal wall (probiotics aids the production of B12 and vitamin K - which is used for blood clotting), decreases LDL and triglycerides in the blood and is anti-inflammatory.
This amazing herb is useful in helping blood flow by dilating blood vessels and other mechanisms. It reduces atherosclerosis development and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituents.
Tortora, Gerald J. and Derrickson, Bryan 2006, Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. USA
Overview of Blood and Blood Components https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02316
Osiecki H, The Nutrient Bible 9th edition, Bio Concepts Publishing
Fisher, C; (2009), Materia Medica of Western Herbs, New Zealand