New Delhi: A spoonful of honey makes the heart beat soundly, suggests a dietitian.Along with a host of ''superfoods'' like fenugreek, almonds/walnuts or the garlic bulb that are available in most Indian kitchens, having just a teaspoon of honey daily could lead to modest reductions in blood pressure, an important risk factor for heart disease and reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol while raising "good" HDL cholesterol, says Daljit Kaur, Head-Dietitian at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.
Honey blocks cholesterol synthesis and the antioxidants present in honey are known to reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer. It may also promote eye health, and notes that some studies even suggest that honey improves heart disease risk factors in people with diabetes.
Most of the superfoods are surprisingly easily available and accessible for the average Indian
housewife who would find most of them already stocked in her pantry. They range from fenugreek seeds, turmeric to almonds and garlic.
Consumption of 1/4 to one tsp of fenugreek seeds daily could reduce blood glucose, inhibit cholesterol and triglycerides due to its high fibre content. The seeds benefit both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, along with improving general carb tolerance in non-diabetic, healthy individuals. Importantly, fenugreek seeds protect the heart from serious damage during a heart attack.
Fenugreek seeds also seems to protect the heart from serious damage during a heart attack, she says.Three almonds or walnuts are recommended for their high Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin-E that reduces LDL cholesterol. Walnuts have higher antioxidant activity than any other common nuts. Walnuts are significantly higher in omega-3 fat than any other nut, providing 2.5 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving that everyone should from their diet.
Two to three cloves of garlic a day reduces blood lipids and plaque formation, says Kaur. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure for those with known high blood pressure (hypertension) suggesting that supplements may be as effective as regular medications as it reduces total and LDL cholesterol.
Consuming another superfood, soybean of 25gm/day, which contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases due to its anti-oxidant and anti-angiogenesis activity.
In the case of oats, just 30 gms a day lowers cholesterol, reduces cholesterol, prevents plaque formation cause of high content of soluble fibre. Oats contain many powerful antioxidants, including avenanthramides;it helps reduce blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing both total and LDL cholesterol and protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidations.
Having two amlas a day, which are rich in Vitamin C and are an antioxidant, helps to reduce the build up of bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Besides reducing clogging of the arteries by boosting good cholesterol or HDL, there are benefits in preventing thickening of blood vessel walls, the first sign of heart disease.
Consumption of 50 grams of flaxseeds, full of Omega-3 fatty acids are heart-healthy and helps prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries. They may be useful in treating arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure, studies suggest.
Taking 1 tsp to 2-3 tbsp of day of psyllium (Isabgol) can lower total cholesterol levels by promoting the removal of bile acids from the body. Its regular intake has been linked to reduced blood pressure, lowered triglycerides levels and reduced risk of heart disease.
Kaur suggests that even 50 grams of the common flaxseeds or 1 tsp of turmeric consumed daily helps the heart. Flaxseeds may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes and is useful in treating arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure while the main benefit of curcumin, found in turmeric, improves the function of the endothelium, the lining of blood vessels. It's well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease.