Keeping your heart and arteries working properly may be the most important thing you can do to stay healthy – and to survive. Despite advances in treatment, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 1,700 people every day in the US die of heart-related problems – more than one a minute.
If you want to improve your odds of avoiding this epidemic, researchers have come up with a quick, easy and tasty way to make a big difference for your cardiovascular health. And almost no one knows about it. Details below. . .
This is so easy almost anyone can do it: When you sit down to eat, make sure your food is flavored with herbs and spices. This easy-to-do addition improves your chances of avoiding heart disease.
Improves Heart and Artery Function
A study at Penn State shows that including spices and herbs – which are rich in antioxidants – in your meals cuts back on the after-meal build-up of unhealthy circulating fats in your blood and can help make other changes that protect your circulatory system.
After you eat a rich meal your body creates and releases triglycerides – blood fats – into the bloodstream. But the Penn State tests showed that spices and herbs can curtail this increase by around 30 percent. The spices the researchers used in their analysis include rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, cloves, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper.1
The researchers point out that among all foods, these spices contain some of the highest density of antioxidants. And in their measurements they showed that eating food spiced with these ingredients increases antioxidant activity in blood vessels by more than ten percent.
They also think it’s likely that the effects of the spices on heart health compares favorably to the drugs that doctors use to treat or prevent heart disease.
Protects You From Infections
Along with improving the function of your heart and arteries, studies demonstrate that spicing your food can help your immune system fight off infections.
For example, research at George Mason University shows that turmeric can help you avoid illness from viruses.2
The George Mason test focused on how curcumin, a compound in turmeric, can stop the virus that causes the often fatal Rift Valley Fever that infects both people and animals in tropical climates.
George Mason researcher Aarthi Narayanan is from India, where turmeric is a very popular flavoring. She thinks we don’t appreciate how powerful turmeric is in keeping us healthy. “I know this works,” she says. “I know it works because I have seen it happen in real life. I eat it every day. I make it a point of adding it to vegetables I cook. Every single day.”
Build a Better Brain
At the same time, some of these spices have been shown to help boost your brain by facilitating the formation of better network connections among neurons.
A study in Brazil shows that apigenin, a natural chemical found in red pepper, parsley, thyme and chamomile, may improve your ability to learn new information and improve your memory by supporting neurplasticity – the ability of your brain cells to adapt to new experiences by reorganizing the way their synapses [connections between neurons] link up.3
And a study in India confirms this finding. Apigenin in this investigation was found to boost memory by stimulating the release of what are called “neurotrophic” factors in the brain.4
What I love about all this research is how it once again shows that a basic, natural addition to your life – adding spices and herbs to your food – can bring about profound health benefits. And they are truly holistic benefits that affect the body and improve health in multiple ways.
Those are the kinds of benefits that our drug-obsessed medical system can’t match.