Chapter 3

Prevention and Treatment of Obesity-Related Cardiovascular Diseases by Diet and Medicinal Plants

Bashar Saad

Abstract

Obesity causes serious chronic diseases and affects quality of life of all age groups. It is associated with vascular and metabolic alterations and chronic inflammation leading to the development of the metabolic syndrome. Adipose tissue expansion occurs mainly through hypertrophy (increasing the volume of preexisting adipocytes) and/or hyperplasia (generating new small adipocytes). Adipocytes produce adipocytokines or adipokine, which modulate adipocyte growth and metabolism through a combined action of endocrine, paracrine, and autocrine mediators. These mediators are increasingly secreted during the progression of obesity and are closely associated with the development of obesity-related diseases. <p></p> Weight loss and increased physical activity were reported by numerous scientific papers to prevent/treat obesity and related chronic heart disease. Herbs, diet and their extracts/constituents exert their weight reducing effects through six principal pathways: Inhibiting pancreatic lipase activity, controlling appetite, preventing adipogenesis, and stimulating lipolysis, thermogenesis and lipid metabolism. The cardiovascular beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet are well documented in numerous animal as well as in clinical studies. This dietary pattern distinguished by relatively high amounts olive oil, vegetables, nuts, fruits, grains, a moderate intake of fish, and a low intake of red meat or processed meats. This diet prevents the development/progression of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and erectile dysfunction. This chapter will highlight the role of diets and medicinal plants in prevention and treatment of obesity and its related cardiovascular diseases.

Total Pages: 125-177 (53)

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