Top 10 Herbs and Spices for Your Heart

The heart is a muscular organ, about the size of a fist. It pumps blood through a network of arteries and veins called the cardiovascular system to the rest of the body. This blood provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, and helps in the removal of metabolic wastes.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 611,105 people die each year of heart disease.

Heart disease refers to problems that affect the structure and functioning of the heart as well as blood vessels.

Some common types of heart conditions include coronary artery disease, ischemic heart diseaseirregular heart rhythm, atherosclerosis, angina, myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack), hypertensive heart disease, congenital heart disease, and peripheral artery disease.

The risk of developing heart problems increases with factors like excessive smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, aging, a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and excessive alcohol or caffeine intake.

Some common symptoms that may signal heart trouble include persistent coughing, chest discomfort, anxiety, fatigue, rapid or irregular pulse and shortness of breath.

As the heart functions 24×7, it is important to keep it healthy. Improved heart functioning depends highly on the quality of blood and blood flow.

A healthy, balanced diet and a healthy exercise regime can help you reach your goal. You can also incorporate certain herbs and spices into your diet to improve your heart health.

herbs and spices for heart

Here are the top 10 herbs and spices for your heart.

1. Garlic

garlic

 

Garlic is highly beneficial for heart health due to its anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and antiplatelet properties.

A 2006 review study published in the American Society for Nutrition journal showed a strong correlation between garlic consumption and heart benefits.

Garlic is effective in treating raised serum total cholesterol, raised bad (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) cholesterol, increased platelet aggregation and hypertension, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

  • Eat 1 or 2 freshly crushed garlic cloves daily.
  • You can opt to take garlic supplements. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.

Note: Garlic may interfere with certain medications due to its blood-thinning properties. Consult your doctor before taking it.

2. Turmeric

turmeric powder

Turmeric has a compound called curcumin that possesses powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin enhances cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of many diseases related to the heart.

Turmeric helps increase blood circulation and prevents blood clotting to prevent heart attacks. It even controls inflammation that can lead to heart disease. In addition, it prevents hardening of the arteries by inhibiting fat oxidation and lowering cholesterol.

  • Use turmeric in your cooking or drink a glass of warm turmeric milk daily.
  • As a nutritional supplement, you can take 250 to 600 mg standardized curcumin capsules 3 times daily. Consult your doctor for proper dosage.

3. Hawthorn

hawthorn

Hawthorn is another well-known herb for heart health. It helps in blood vessel dilation, which lowers blood pressure. It also increases blood flow to the heart and improves cardiac muscle contractions, thus leading to an overall stronger heart that functions better. In addition, its anti-arrhythmic effect helps steady the heartbeat.

In a 2010 review by Pharmacognosy Review, researchers studied clinical trials involving hawthorn and the herb’s safety profile.

They concluded that hawthorn may potentially represent a safe, effective, nontoxic agent in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease.

The recommended amount ranges from 160 to 1,800 mg per day in 2 or 3 divided doses. As it may interact with certain medications, consult your doctor before taking this supplement.

4. Hibiscus

hibiscus tea

Followers of traditional medicine rely on hibiscus for the treatment of heart disease. Water extracts of hibiscus flowers affect atherosclerosis mechanisms, blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure. All these elements help improve overall heart health.

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that hibiscus extract helped inhibit the development of atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits. High cholesterol is one of the main causes of heart disease.

  • Drink a cup of hibiscus tea twice daily.
  • You can also take 100 to 250 mg of standardized extract twice daily. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.

5. Cayenne

cayenne pepper powder

Cayenne contains capsaicin, which makes this spice a powerful antioxidant. It also has the potential to dilate blood vessels, combat oxidation and prevent blood clots.

All these factors contribute to good heart health. Capsaicin helps reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, two of the major risk factors of heart disease.

In addition, it helps burn calories and aids weight loss, which reduces the risk of developing heart problems.

  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a cup of hot water. Drink it a few times a week.
  • You can take capsaicin supplements, 2,000 to 4,000 IUs every other day. However, always consult a doctor before taking supplements.

Note: It is important not to take cayenne in excess. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children should avoid this spice.

6. Green Tea

green tea

Green tea is very good for your heart due to its flavonoids and antioxidants. It improves the health of cells that form the innermost lining of the heart and blood vessels. This plays a key role in reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

A 2008 study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation reported that regular intake of green tea improves blood vessel functioning. By drinking more than 5 cups of green tea daily, you can lower the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke by 26 percent.

  • Drink 4 to 5 cups of green tea (preferably caffeine-free) daily.
  • You can even take 100 to 750 mg standardized green tea extract per day after consulting your doctor.
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