The saying goes something like, “ Spice up your life”, and it’s true because spices aren’t just a way to add some flavor to your favorite dishes or drinks; they pose some seriously good heart health benefits. People have been using plants, herbs and spices for thousands of years for the flavor—and medicinal—qualities they offer. In fact, many pharmaceutical drugs are derived from nature.
Heart-Healthy Diet Tips
Improve Circulation with Cayenne
This popular spice gets its kick from its active ingredient, capsaicin, which has been shown to aid weight loss and circulation. Research has also shown that capsaicin helps to combat bad cholesterol levels and may have decreased the amount of plaque found in their arteries. If you can stand the heat, try using it to spice up soups, add in a meat, fish or poultry rub or even add it to some tea.
Regulate Blood Sugar with Cinnamon
A popular spice that many use is cinnamon and is filled with many health benefits. Aside from its great taste, it contains antioxidant properties which help protect cells from the damage and destruction free radicals cause. Also, other research has shown cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar and has decreased blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. This spice is a great addition to oatmeal, roasted veggies, sautéed greens or tea.
Prevent Heart Disease with Garlic
Aside from adding a little extra kick to your meals, garlic has been a healthy herb for many years. Lowering of the blood pressure and decreasing the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis),as well as helping prevent heart attack or stroke by acting as a blood thinner are all benefits of adding garlic to your diet. Garlic is an amazing additional to many recipes, try with meats, fish, poultry, soups, dressings, marinades, veggies, salads, stews and more.
Lower Cholesterol with Ginger
Ginger is known to help calm and treat nausea, but it may also help combat heart disease. Some preliminary studies show that ginger could lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots. Be wary of high doses of ginger, Medline Plus (a website of the National Institutes of Health) notes that large quantities could worsen heart conditions. If you have a heart condition, ask your doctor if he or she recommends ginger. Once you’re sure it’s safe, keep this tummy-friendly root in mind for smoothies, teas, soups and marinades.
Fight High Triglyceride Levels with Oregano
Oregano, among other spices like cinnamon and paprika, could also lower your triglyceride (a type of fat found in the blood) levels. This pungent herb also offers a boost of antioxidants and helps to ward off bacteria. Dried oregano is great to add to pasta sauce or pizza, and can be used in marinades, dressings or even over vegetables.
Decrease Inflammation with Turmeric
An Indian specialty spice , turmeric is an added health benefit for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect you from various diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and more. This spice is great in curry dishes, salad dressings or sprinkled on veggies. You can also make a tea by adding a quarter teaspoon to a cup of boiled water; squeeze in some honey or lemon to taste.