The importance of taking care of your heart doesn’t need to be explained. That too with our modern-day lifestyles when we barely take care of what we eat or drink. We binge as if there is no tomorrow. But the fact is there will be a tomorrow and enjoying it safe, sound, and healthy is in our hands, at least to a certain extent.
And the best part is that you don’t need to make too much effort to achieve this. The way to your healthy heart starts right from where you like the most to be – in the kitchen! We all love food and just by adding a few easily-available home spices to it, you can make your meals tastier and even healthier.
Herbs and Spices – A Storehouse of Nutrients
Do you know that some of the most common spices we use daily in our cooking have some of the most important health benefits, especially for the heart? Most of these herbs and spices are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for long-lasting good health.
7 Best Herbs and Condiments for Healthy Heart
Here we bring to you the names of 7 of the most commonly available spices used in daily kitchens:
Top benefit: Helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar
A recent research on diabetes proved that daily consumption of this multi-benefit condiment helps reduce blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels in humans. Besides that, it also facilitates build-up of good cholesterol levels and improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetics.
How to take: The spice is now available in capsule form, which you can take after consultation with your health specialist. But it’s advisable to take it in its natural form – either raw or as powder. You may add a small piece of the stick or sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder in your daily cooking. You may also add it to your tea/coffee to enhance its flavor as well as health benefits.
- Chili Peppers
Top benefit: Helps improve longevity and reduce stroke risks
As against popular belief that spicy foods are bad for the heart, a study of about 500,000 people in China revealed that those who ate more of chili peppers often reported lower death rates, especially caused due to heart disease and cancer. This explains that the spice is considered excellent to improve longevity in people and improving cardiovascular health. Chili peppers are also available in powder and paste form that can used in different stuffs to add spicy taste.
How to take: Can be eaten raw in salads or stuff them with your favorite filling and cook them mildly to enjoy a wholesome meal.
Top benefit: Reduce inflammation, prevents gum disease, and aids treatment of depression
The primary compound in turmeric called Curcumin has reported a multitude of health benefits in past studies. Therefore, researchers like to call it the “golden spice of life”.
A recent clinical trial on depression patients proved that Curcumin supplements worked just as well as the prescription drug Prozac in improving moods of these patients.
How to take: Turmeric is commonly used in every kitchen and it’s a good idea to always put a pinch in anything and everything you eat – raw or cooked. The spice also has anti-bacterial properties so that makes it a must in every diet.
Top benefit: Helps reduce blood pressure level
Hypertension is believed to be direct cause of heart diseases in people nowadays. And what better than you can actually prevent both with a simple and easily available spice at home – the flavorsome garlic. Not only is the spice rich in flavor, added to most dishes and even eaten raw, it has a hoard of health benefits on offer.
Taking half to one clove of garlic every day reduces cholesterol levels by up to 9% and aged garlic extract helps lower systolic blood pressure by 5.5%.
How to take: It is best taken raw, slightly crushed and added to all meals. Butter garlic toast is an all-time favorite for many, and a super idea to feed the herb to kids. You can even use garlic paste to enhance the flavor and nutrition value of your curries.
Top benefit: Controls blood sugar
Fenugreek’s benefits find reference in ancient Ayurveda, which means its glory dates back to the old era.
Dry Fenugreek leaves are already used in our homes for garnishing purpose. Their rich taste and aroma make them a popular choice in a lot of dishes. Now research has unraveled its health benefits as well in terms of improving the functioning of insulin hormone in the body, thereby controlling blood sugar levels.
How to take: At least 1 gram of fenugreek extract daily is generally recommended for diabetic patients. Soak a few fenugreek seeds overnight and drink the strained water early morning on empty stomach. You may also use the seeds in your daily cooking.
Top benefit: Natural blood thinner
People with heart and cardiovascular disorders are often prescribed loads of medications for thinning their blood. Now you have a substitute that’s natural, healthy, easily available, and cheaper too. Most important, it is full of juicy flavors and can be used in multiple forms to suit your palate.
How to take: Peel the ginger and you can then use it chopped or grated in all your sauces, stir-fries, soups, fruit and vegetable juices. Ginger tea is well known the world over for its healing properties against common colds.
Top benefit: Helps reduce cardiovascular risks
Cilantro is highly rich in beta-carotene, which helps lower the risk of cardiovascular problems in people. The spice also works extremely well to detox the body, which is related to healthy functioning of the heart.
How to take: Enjoy a cup of hot cilantro tea or chop its leaves like coriander and use them in cooking or garnishing.
Spices are the easiest and cheapest means to satisfy both your taste buds and your heart. Just add them to your daily cooking and stay hale and hearty for long.