Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States and is a problem all around the globe. A healthy diet with lean meats, low-fat dairy and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain can go a long way to prevent this, as can regular exercise. For some people, however, a healthy lifestyle is not enough and that is where many of these herbs come in: they are a safe and effective way to prevent heart disease without having to deal with the side effects of some traditional prescriptions. Seven of the best herbs for heart health are discussed below.
Garlic is one of the best foods to eat for heart health. Multiple studies over many years have shown garlic’s ability to lower LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol while raising up the HDL (healthy) cholesterol and it has also been shown to be able to regulate blood pressure. Research has also found a link between garlic consumption and a lower chance of a stroke.
Dark chocolate really is one of the great superfoods for heart health; it is a rich source of epicatechin, a flavanol which is linked to improved circulation and blood vessel function. In a recent study out of Switzerland, consumption of dark chocolate was linked to reduce oxidative damage to the heart and improved blood vessel and platelet function in patients with heart failure.
Consumption of bilberry can help heart health in many ways: it improves circulation in the small blood vessels, strengthens their walls and even helps the formation of new capillaries. As a strong antioxidant, it also helps to prevent cardiotoxicity.
Hawthorn extract is a natural vasodilator and expands the diameter of the blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure naturally and also improving circulation and helping prevent the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries. It also has strong antioxidant properties and can protect the heart from free radical damage.
Motherwort can help calm a racing heartbeat and relax tension, but it has also been shown to prevent the formation of blood clots, reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and support heart muscle strength. This is largely due to it being a rich source of compounds like phenylpropanoids, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Ginseng has long been valued a general tonic and immunity booster, but research has showing that it also is good specifically for cardiac health. It has been shown to protect the heart against a whole array of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, enlargement, heart failure and irregular heartbeat; this is likely due to the fact that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Gingko biloba is, like hawthorn, a natural vasodilator and can help improve blood pressure and circulation while decreasing fatty deposits in the arteries. It also works as a natural blood thinner and makes the formation of clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack less likely.
These herbs all act in different ways, but they are all excellent for heart health and make many of the most common heart conditions such as blood pressure, high cholesterol or arrhythmia less likely. Talk to your medical practitioner about a plan of care that could include these herbs into your healthy lifestyle.