February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and the people you love don’t become a statistic. This month is particularly personal for me, as my mom has heart disease. She had quadruple bypass surgery one year ago this month. If you know someone who would benefit from this information on preventing heart disease, please share it.
Five Foods That Will Save Your Heart
One way to prevent heart disease is to eat healthy. In this post, I’ll highlight five different foods that can save your heart – literally. These are not the only five foods that protect your heart, but they stand out as star performers in my book.
1. Garlic: Known as “the stinking rose,” this herb does not stink when it comes to heart health. Numerous studies have demonstrated potential benefits of regular garlic consumption on blood pressure, platelet aggregation, serum triglyceride level, and cholesterol levels – all of which keep your ticker ticking. The other thing I like about garlic is that it can be used to season food so you can cut back (way back) on the salt.
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It’s very important to have a well balanced diet, focusing on many fruits and vegetables, for optimal health. Did you know that garlic, which serves as an antioxidant, has been shown to help stomach and abdominal pains and cancer, as well as lowering your blood lipids and blood pressure?
Garlic contains many sulfides, one of which is alliin. When garlic bulbs are crushed, alliin is converted into another compound known as allicin. Allicin seems to be one of the main active compounds in garlic, giving the root its health benefits.
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It’s not a news flash to say that garlic is healthy. It’s been touted as a beneficial addition to your meals for a long time. While previous studies on garlic’s health effects have produced mixed results, there’s now solid research to reassert the positive claims.
Garlic may make vampires uptight, but it relaxes the blood vessels in we mere mortals. A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that red blood cells process compounds from digested garlic and turn them into the cell messenger hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow.
That means that eating garlic could increase your supply of H2S and play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. Garlic is one of the few plants that contains the building blocks of hydrogen sulfide, and researchers say it’s the only one commonly used in our diet.