According to statistics, there are fewer cases of heart diseases in the Japanese population compared to other races. One special food native to the Japanese is said to be their secret to a healthier heart, called nattokinase.
Nattokinase is an enzyme derived from the Japanese cheese natto, a popular breakfast made from fermented soybeans. Natto is made from combining the bacteria Bacillus subtilis natto to the boiled soybeans. Nattokinase is released when the bacteria acts on the soybeans during fermentation. Research shows that Nattokinase has active fibrolytic activities, or the ability to dissolve clots. It directly and indirectly digests the protein that forms clots called fibrin. In the body, only the enzyme plasmin has the clot dissolving properties and nattokinase resembles this enzyme.
So, how does nattokinase help to keep the heart healthy and prevent cardiovascular diseases? It’s pretty simple. Because it breaks down clots, nattokinase can help prevent and improve stroke, heart attacks, thrombosis, and embolism. All of these diseases are primarily caused by clots blocking the arteries to the heart (heart attack), brain (stroke), and other blood vessels of the body. The clot prevents blood into those organs which carries nutrients and oxygen.
Nattokinase is also helpful in cases when the blood becomes very viscous due to high blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. It helps to increase the blood’s fluidity for better circulation and reduce blood pressure. This same action is beneficial for people with high blood cholesterol, which also contributes to increased viscosity and higher pressure.
As we grow older, we produce lesser plasmin. This makes the elderly more prone to developing clots and heart diseases compared to younger adults. The risk is even higher when an elderly is already diagnosed with hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity. During this time, they are usually prescribed with cholesterol-lowering, anti-coagulants, and blood-pressure lowering drugs. In some cases, these drugs provide temporary relief. But they can cause long-term and life-threatening side effects that does more harm to the one taking it.
Say for example aspirin, is an inexpensive drug used for common heart problems. Apart from being proven to be ineffective, long-term use of aspirin has been associated with increased risk of intestinal bleeding and pancreatic cancer. The expensive varieties like warfarin can cause serious bleeding during first time use or large doses. During this time, Nattokinase supplements play a safer yet similarly effective drug to avoid heart problems.
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