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5 Top Spices for Your Heart

5 Top Spices for Your Heart

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By    |   Wednesday, 30 November 2016 03:28 PM

Spices are an easy – and delicious – way to help boost your heart health, a top cardiologist says.

“The use of spices, not only to flavor and preserve food but to enhance health as well, dates back to ancient times,” renowned cardiologist Dr. Chauncey Crandall tells Newsmax Health.

“There are records from ancient Egypt attesting to specific spices that have health-giving properties, including notes that say laborers who built the pyramids consumed onions and garlic ... for this purpose.”

Spices are also part of Chinese medicine, dating back thousands of years, and they’ve been a very important component of Ayurveda, the traditional form of medicine in  India, says Crandall, chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

“Spices are rich in color, the giveaway that they are packed with flavonoids, which are a diverse group of chemicals that are loaded with antioxidants.  This is what makes fruits and vegetables so healthful,” adds Crandall.

Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that occurs during metabolism that can lead to cellular damage. Oxidation sets the stage for the ailments that come with aging, including coronary heart disease.

“Studies show that one of the most healthful ways to get antioxidants is to combine them with food, because they act synergistically, which means they are most powerful when combined together,” says Crandall, author of the Heart Health Report.

According to Crandall, Penn State University researchers found that eating a spicy meal, which included turmeric and cinnamon, can help counteract the negative effects of a high-fat meal.

Although the men were overweight, they were otherwise healthy. They were given identical chicken meals, except the researchers added two tablespoons of a high antioxidant spice blend to the test meal on two separate days.

The spiced blend included garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric, ginger and black pepper.

Eating the spiced meal lowered triglycerides by 30 percent. Not only that but the antioxidant activity in the participants’ blood increased by 13 percent compared to their eating the non-spiced meal, which was used as the control, they say in the 2011 study, which appeared in Nutrition Today.

In another study, Finnish researchers found that these spices reduce coronary heart disease risk.

Using carotid artery diameter as an indicator for heart health, researchers tried to find out if spice consumption was an important dietary factor in the development of heart disease.

After adjusting for other factors, such as smoking, obesity, and fat intake, the researchers found that the men with the lowest levels of flavonoids tended to have the worst carotid artery diameter and hence the greatest risk of coronary heart disease, according to the study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Here are Crandall’s five top spices for heart health:

Cinnamon: This popular cooking spice has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, as well as reduce inflammation that is linked to many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Turmeric: The chief component in turmeric, curcumin is a very powerful anti-inflammatory with the ability to neutralize free radicals, which are linked to oxidation, and aging, as well as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Ginger: This root vegetable has multiple benefits, from quelling nausea to possibly fighting cancer, and for heart-health, lowering cholesterol, and reducing levels of oxidized lipoproteins, or blood fats, a marker for coronary heart disease.

Garlic: Many studies attest to garlic’s benefits in terms of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, but a study at LA BioMed in Los Angeles also found that research participants who took aged garlic extract daily cut the fat deposits in their coronary arteries by 80 percent.

Cilantro: This fragrant herb, derived from the leaves of the coriander plant, has a long history in ancient medicine. Even Hippocrates was known to use it. Coriander and its seeds are anti-inflammatory, and have cholesterol-lowering properties. They also make blood less likely to form heart attack-causing clots.

 

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Spices have been used to enhance heart health for thousands of years, so a top expert chooses which five are the most powerful.
Heart, disease, spices, cooking
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2016-28-30
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 03:28 PM
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