Cocoa is more than just a chocolatey delight. It’s actually a spice with many health benefits.
Cocoa powder comes from cocoa beans, which are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants, meaning they help your body break down and remove harmful toxins that damage your cells. Studies suggest that flavonoids may help prevent plaque build-up on artery walls and reduce cholesterol.
However, when choosing cocoa for heart health, it’s important to avoid sugary foods like chocolate bars or hot chocolate. Instead, look for low-sugar, dark chocolates, or add unsweetened cocoa powder to a healthy smoothie.
Craving something sweet in your oatmeal or latte? Add a dash of cinnamon instead of sugar.
This popular spice adds warmth and flavor to all kinds of dishes, from hot coffees to spicy chilis. It could also help reduce high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are known factors in the development of heart disease.
Next time you reach for the garlic powder, consider using the real thing instead.
Garlic is full of nutrients that bolster heart health — but to get them, you need to cut or crush a clove. That’s how the allicin in garlic is released. Lab studies have shown that allicin could lower your chances of developing heart disease. Incorporating garlic into your diet regularly may also help with high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
When we think of our cardiovascular health, we usually think of cholesterol levels and blood pressure. But surprisingly, inflammation also plays a key role in heart health. Studies have shown that high levels of inflammation in the body are associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
When it comes to fighting inflammation, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It’s also a great addition to a variety of foods, from breakfast scrambles to Thai dishes and even anti-inflammatory teas.
This common spice might be the best-kept secret of your kitchen. Black pepper packs a powerful punch, both in flavor and health benefits.
Black pepper is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which promote cardiovascular health. As an added bonus, it’s also proven to have anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-ulcer properties as well. Who knew this humble household spice had so many health benefits?
A little of this root goes a long way! Ginger extract has been shown to reduce levels of unhealthy cholesterol, as well as fight inflammation. The active ingredient? Gingerol, which is thought to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and even provide some pain relief.
Ginger also contains antioxidants, which may help your body process and remove damaging toxins. The oxidative process is closely associated with cardiovascular disorders. That means the antioxidants in ginger make it an even more powerful spice for maintaining good heart health.
How Do You Use Heart-Healthy Spices?
Got a great recipe for one of these nutritious spices? Let us know in the comments!
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