How to Spice Up a Heart-Healthy Diet
With every beat of your heart, this vital organ shows love to your entire body. It sends fresh blood to every part of your body and carts away toxins to your lungs and kidneys.
A healthy heart can keep you running, reading, laughing and learning your way through life. Unfortunately, many Americans suffer from heart conditions — most commonly, heart disease.
Some common causes of heart disease are:
- Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
- Certain over the counter medicines
Lifestyle decisions play a big role in the likelihood of getting heart disease. But the good news is, heart disease can often be prevented by changing a few daily habits.
It also means including things into your diet like fresh fish, nuts, berries, and tons of healing spices.
That’s right: your spice cabinet doubles as a medicine cabinet, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
Indulge in the bold flavor of these 5 heart-healthy spices and enjoy tasting your way to a healthier heart.
According to researchers, consuming ginger daily can reduce the risk of high blood pressure by 8%, and heart disease by 13%.
Ginger has high amounts of both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
On top of all this, inflammation has been found to have been the common factor in most diseases, including heart disease. The anti-inflammatories in ginger reduce the immune response that causes inflammation.
Thanks to its delicious flavor, you can use ginger in plenty of recipes. Try adding some to your meat marinade, fruit smoothie or oatmeal in the morning.
Oregano has 3 major healing properties:
- Carvacrol, which kills harmful bacteria in your body.
- Thymol, which works as an anti-fungal and an antioxidant (plus provides immunity support).
- Rosmarinic acid, another powerful antioxidant.
Thanks to the combination of these healing components, oregano has been linked to helping lower cholesterol.
In a study of 48 people, where 32 participants were given oregano oil after each meal, all 32 showed signs of lower “bad cholesterol” (cholesterol that can block the walls of your heart arteries), and higher levels of “good cholesterol” (which travels to your liver to be rinsed out).
Like ginger and oregano, rosemary contains anti-inflammatory properties too.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by high levels of blood sugar inflaming and sticking to your veins and arteries. This inflammation restricts blood flow and can lead to heart disease.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin properly to help digest sugar. Rosemary has an insulin-like effect that while doesn’t work as a replacement for diabetes meds, it does supplement them.
Turmeric has been used for medicinal purposes for over 4,000 years.
Over 200 studies since then have proven that turmeric has countless health benefits — especially for your heart.
Curcumin, a healing substance in turmeric, has been shown to change the part of your genes that can cause a condition called hypertrophy. This is a disorder where the muscles in your heart thicken, leaving less room for blood flow.
Curcumin has also been shown to reverse the negative impact that alcohol has on your heart, too.
These heart-healthy benefits are just scraping the surface of this wonder-spice. Turmeric also protects your heart by:
- Regulating calcium levels.
- Providing antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
- Improving vascular function.
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
So toss some turmeric into your next veggie scramble, rice dish or breakfast smoothie to add bold flavor and powerful heart-protection to your daily diet.
Cinnamon — the staple that adds that little kick to pumpkin pies, oatmeal and apple ciders.
But cinnamon is well-loved for more than its warming flavor. Cinnamon covers all the bases when it comes to a heart-healthy diet.
In a study that compared the antioxidant powers of 26 spices, cinnamon took home the gold.
Reducing blood sugar, increasing good cholesterol and reducing inflammation are all in cinnamon’s wheelhouse. And every single one of these properties can help you fight off heart disease.
You can use cinnamon in stick form, powder form or in a medicinal oil. Add it to your almond butter, granola or even your next chicken curry dish.
When it comes to living a long, healthy life, taking care of your heart is an important place to start. And incorporating these healing spices into your diet can be one of the simplest and tastiest ways to kick-start your heart health.
But while a healthy diet plays a huge role in keeping a healthy heart, the effects don’t reach near as far without the support of an effective exercise routine.
Your office job may not always allow for much activity, but there are ways to keep moving throughout your day so you can keep your heart strong and healthy. Learn how you can stay active in your sedentary job (and why you need to) >
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