Heart healthy spices and their flavonoids

Heart healthy spices are another gift from mother nature which can be used in treatment of various diseases, including heart disease. What is great about them, is that they are very rich in various phytochemicals.

Heart spices aren't that expensive and can last you for several months since the doses are very small.

Spices, as well as fruits, vegetables and other heart healthy foods, are very rich in colors which points on different kind of flavonoids, vitamins and minerals in them.

On the other hand, spices contain different and unique kind of phytochemicals, as opposed to healthy foods or herbs.

These makes them work very well with a lot of foods, especially meat and salads. However, spices for heart disease, are poor source of fiber, fats, carbs and proteins, due to their low amount per serving.

LIST OF HEART HEALTHY SPICES

Cinnamon is well known for its ability to improve the ability of pancreas to control blood sugar levels. Herb can even improve digestion, lower cholesterol, boost brain function and memory.

However, it also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties.

Cinnamon has many phytochemicals such as cinnulin, cinnamalydehyde, eugenol, cinnamic acid and several other compounds, responsible for its strength.

Turmeric is one of the most powerful heart healthy spices, thanks to curcumin, a powerfull antioxidant. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, liver protecting as well as cholesterol lowering and cardiovascular system improving characteristics.

Turmeric can keep homocysteine levels in check and improve liver capability to clear out excess LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Turmeric is the main spice in curry.

Ginger comes from the same family as turmeric and it shares a lot of its properties. Ginger contains gingerols, besides other chemicals, which are responsible for its benefits.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and digestion improving properties. It can also lower cholesterol, "thin" the blood and improve circulation. Ginger is one of the heart spices with best aroma.

Cayenne and Chili. Cayenne pepper is one of heart healthy spices frequently used in treating circulatory conditions and improving blood flow. It can even kill cancer cells, help in weight loss and detox.

The power of cayenne pepper comes from capsaicin, a powerful chemical. You can also add chili powder to your meals since cayenne pepper is the main ingredient in it.

Black pepper is great natural remedy for digestive problems. It contains alkaloid piperine which increases production of of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for digesting foods and absorbing nutrients.

By improving digestion, piperine can alleviate heartburn. Black pepper can also be used in treatment of common cold and anemia since it is good source of iron. 

Among all the heart healthy spices, black pepper has the ability to increase the levels of herbs, supplements and medications in your blood. This can be good and bad, depending on the supplements or medications you might be taking.

Rosemary contains antioxidants such as carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid. Although rosemary contains other compounds, these three are the most powerfull ones. It is mostly used to improve mental well-being and memory.

However, since the brain controls heart function, adding rosemary to your diet may also result in better cardiac muscle function. Herbs also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Some say it may even improve lung function and help raise VO2 max.

Oregano contains high amounts of powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals such as carvacrol, thymol and rosmarinic acid which are responsible for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.

It is a natural antibiotic which can help prevent infection-related heart disease. It can also reduce cholesterol and improve respiratory system function which is closely related with cardiovascular system.

Thyme and oregano are two very similar heart healthy spices, due to their similar phytonutrient profile.

However, thyme contains higher levels of powerful thymol. Besides thymol, the herb is also good source of carvacrol, borneol, apigenin and naringenin.

Sage is one of the spices for heart disease which comes from the same family as rosemary. This makes it useful in improving memory, treating brain and nervous diseases. High or frequent consumption of sage can sometimes be toxic for humans.

The herb contains alpha and beta-thujone as well as rosmarinic acid, besides other chemicals which are responsible for sage's heal all qualities.

It can help us calm down, by easing the tension thereby lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

Basil is aromatic plant as wall as anise, fennel and tarragon but unlike them, basil is known adaptogen. It can be helpful for preventing diabetes, blood clots and heart attack.

Basil has anti-bacterial properties and contains unique flavonoids such as orientin and vicenin. However, it also contains estragole as do anise, fennel and tarragon.

Although estragole, besides other similar compounds, is responsible for anti-bacterial properties of these heart spices, it is also a type of phytoestrogen and a known carcinogen.

Parsley is one of those heart healthy spices that are very rich in numerous phytochemicals. It has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and  immune system boosting properties.

It is packed with carotenoids, vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K. It also contains compounds such as luteolin, myristicin, apigenin and chlorophyll. Parsley can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure since it is natural diuretic.

Fenugreek contains powerful compounds, thanks to which it can reduce cholesterol, improve kidney function, prevent heart attack and lower blood pressure as well as blood sugar.

Fenugreek can supposedly improve libido, by increasing testosterone levels in man and women, thanks to fenuside.

However, fenugreek also contains galactagogues which can raise prolactin and stimulate milk production which is good for nursing mothers but not for others.

Clove has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It is most useful for treating stomach problems and improving digestion. Although clove has several phytochemicals, eugenol is the one which stands out.

TIP

To get the most from the heart healthy spices, you can buy curry and chili powder as well as one or two seasoning mixtures which contain spices such as rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme and sage.

This way, you include majority of the most healthiest heart spices into your diet and save some money in the process. It works for me.

CONCLUSION

Adding several spices for heart disease to your meals, is a great way to improve phytonutrient content and natural healing power of foods, especially considering their low price and small serving size.

On the other hand, you shouldn't take mega doses of these spices. High doses can have opposite effect and cause more harm than good. This effect is little more apparent with heart spices such as annise, fennel, basil and cinnamon.

I frequently spice up my meals with little bit of everything thereby improving the taste of my meals, while reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer as well as heart related problems.





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