gonutrio

Heart

The heart is a very important organ in our body that is responsible for circulating oxygen and nutrients throughout our body. Our human heart has four chambers in total: two upper chambers called the atria and two lower chambers called the ventricles. The right ventricle and atrium make up the right heart and the left ventricle and the left atrium constitute the left heart. The pericardium is a double-walled sac that covers and protects the heart. Between the outer layer and the inner layer of the pericardium there runs the pericardial fluid which acts as a lubricant and helps the heart during contractions.

The heart consists of three layers – epicardium, myocardium and endocardium. The epicardium or outermost wall layer protects the heart wall. The myocardium or the middle layer that comprises the bulk of the heart wall contains cardiac muscles. The endocardium is the innermost layer of the heart wall that remains in contact with the blood present inside the left atrium. The mitral and tricuspid valves together make up the atrioventricular (AV) valves that connect the atria and the ventricles.

The heart transfers blood to different parts of the body by help of pump action and this is achieved by means of an alternating sequence of relaxation and contraction of the heart muscles. Contraction of the heart is known as systole and relaxation is known as diastole. The trigger for the heart to contract rises from the heart’s natural pacemaker, the SA node which is present in the top chamber. When a contraction takes place, deoxygenated blood passes from the right atrium to the right ventricle and oxygenated blood from the left atrium enters the left ventricle. Another contraction and the oxygenated blood is transported from the left ventricle to different parts of the body while the deoxygenated blood in the right ventricle moves to the lungs. 

Facts of Organ

Laughter is the best medicine:
The popular saying laughter is the best medicine, definitely has scientific truth behind it. Laughter increases the blood flow and improves the functioning of the blood vessels, which can help in protecting the heart against heart attack and other cardiovascular ailments.


The heart is not on the left side
It is commonly believed that the heart is on the left side of the body. On the contrary, it is situated in the middle of the chest, between the lungs more towards the left side. Therefore, the left lung is slightly smaller than the right lung so as to accommodate the heart.


A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s
While the average woman has a heart rate of 78 beats per minute, a man’s heart beats around 70 times per minute. A woman’s heart is smaller in size as compared to a man’s heart; hence, it beats faster to pump the same amount of blood.


Heart is one giant pump
Every minute the heart pumps about five quarts of blood through a network of blood vessels, which is more than 60,000 miles long. That roughly translates to around 2,000 gallons of blood every day.


The heart pumps blood to 75 trillion cells
The human heart delivers blood to a mind-boggling 75 trillion cells in the body except the corneal cells.


The heart can continue to beat outside the body
Since the heart has its own electrical impulse, it can continue to beat outside the body provided it receives a continuous supply of oxygen.


Heart beats 100,000 times a day
The heart beats for 100,000 times a day and around 35 million times in a year. In the average lifespan of a person, the human heart beats for more than 2.5 billion times without resting for a second.


Heart is the size of a fist
If you want to know the size of the heart just make a fist. If you are a child, your heart is the size of your fist. For an adult, it is the size of two fists.


Eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart diseases
Dark chocolate contains a high amount of cocoa, which is made by fermenting, drying and roasting cacao beans, which are abundant in flavonoids. The flavonoids in cocoa is the ingredient that makes chocolate good for the heart as it helpsto lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots and fight cell damage. Therefore, consuming dark chocolate regularly can reduce the risk of developing heart diseases.

Functions of Organ

To circulate blood throughout the body

The primary function of the heart is to circulate oxygen rich blood throughout the body.The right hand side of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from the body via the superior and inferior vena cava. The blood reaches the right atrium and from there moves into the right ventricle. It is then pumped into the lungs through the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary veins bring in oxygenated blood from the lungs into the left atrium. This blood then crosses over into the left ventricle and from there it is pumped into the aorta under higher pressure to be distributed to various parts of the body via the arteries and capillaries. 

Anatomy

Left and right atria

The left and right atria are the upper chambers in the heart that act as the collection chambers of the heart. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the body while the left atrium receives oxygen rich blood from the lungs.

Left and right ventricles

The left and right ventricles are the lower chambers in the heart. Their main function is to expel the blood received from the atrium to different parts of the body.

Mitral valve

The mitral valve also called as the bicuspid valve is a valve that lies between the left ventricle and the left atrium. It controls the movement of oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle.

Tricuspid valve

The tricuspid valve lies between the right ventricle and the right atrium. It manages the flow of deoxygenated blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle.

Aortic valve

The aortic valve is a valve in the heart that lies between the aorta and the left ventricle. It allows for the passage the oxygen-rich blood to exit from left ventricle to different parts of the body. 

Pulmonary valve

The pulmonary valve lies between the pulmonary artery and the right ventricle. It allows for the flow of oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle into the lungs.

Food Tips

Fatty fish 

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are the stars when it comes to heart-healthy foods. It’s because they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which is known to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and decrease bad cholesterol in the body. Having fatty fish at least twice a week can help protect the heart against a host of problems. 

Oatmeal 

Oatmeal being extremely high in soluble fiber acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and picks up the cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream. One should however try and avoid instant oatmeal as that contains a lot of added sugar.

 Berries 

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries contain a compound called anthocyanins that decrease blood pressure and dilate the blood vessels. A recent study found that women who ate more than three servings of berries a week had a 32% lower chance of heart attack as compared with those who ate less.

Soy Protein 

Soy products such as soy milk and tofu are a great way to add protein to a vegetarian’s diet. Soy products contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, fiber and polyunsaturated fats (good for our health). Also, compared to milk and other protein sources soy protein decreases bad cholesterol or LDL in the body.

Lifestyle Tips

Regular exercise

A sedentary lifestyle is known to increase the risk of heart diseases. Exercising regularly and following an active regimen is the number one step to follow for a healthy heart. One should exercise or be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.

Proper diet

Food plays an important role in determining the health of a person. Highly processed junk foods are loaded with calories and have little nutritional value. These foods increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the body which cause plaque deposition in the arteries that leads to blockages in the heart. Switching over to a diet comprising of whole food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein can work wonders for the heart.

Control stress

Stress weighs down on the heart which leads to multiple problems. Stress can be managed through exercise, meditation, social support groups and prayers.

Maintain a healthy weight

People who are obese or too thin have a greater risk of heart diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight is vital in protecting the heart from damage. When the weight is in a healthy range, blood circulates more effectively thus preventing strain on the heart.

Quit smoking

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking increases the risk of developing heart diseases by 2 to 4 times. Smoking leads to plaque deposition in the arteries causing atherosclerosis that paves the way for numerous heart problems. 

Diseases and Conditions

Herbs

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Arjuna

Arjuna

Arjuna is the cardio tonic herb in Ayurveda. It helps in maintaining the cholesterol level, as it contains the antioxidant properties. It strengthens the heart muscles and maintains the heart functioning properly. Arjuna is used for t...Read more

Flax seed

Flax seed

Flax seed/oil, a nutritional supplement for omega-3 and EFAs. Flaxseed is very  beneficial in cardiovascular diseases, lowering serum cholesterol level, diabetes mellitus, help reducing breast cancer and colon cancer, relieve a v...Read more

Garlic

Garlic

Garlic produces allicin which is a powerful anti- inflammatory agent. Garlic is used to treat various ailments like common cold, flu, asthmatic symptoms, earaches, stomach pain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is not reco...Read more

Ginger

Ginger

Ginger contains medicinal, therapeutic and culinary benefits which are used for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. It’s an anti-viral, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antifun...Read more

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a potent antioxidant which increases blood flow to the specific organ and prevents it from damage. Ginkgo Biloba is seen to provide relieve from muscle pain, PMS related symptoms, improve memory problems, anxiety. It ...Read more

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