6 Heart Healthy Spices for Seniors
Seniors must pay close attention to what they eat. Maintaining a proper diet is vital for everything from heart health to brain health. Healthy eating for seniors needs to include heart-healthy spices as well. There are six spices that you should take a look at as part of a heart-healthy diet for seniors:
- Black pepper
The use of these spices is not meant to be a substitute for following an overall healthy diet. They are also not intended as replacements for medical treatments prescribed or recommended by your doctor. However, these spices can prove to enhance your overall health and well-being, particularly if you are in your senior years.
Many people (understandably) do not realize that cocoa is more than just a tasty chocolatey delight. Cocoa is a spice. Cocoa comes complete with a number of health benefits.
Cocoa powder comes from cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are rich in flavonoids. You are not to be shamed if you are unaware of flavonoids. Flavonoids are classified as antioxidants. What this means is that they help your body break down and remove harmful toxins. These are toxins that have the potential to damage your cells. Research studies demonstrate that flavonoids may help prevent plaque build-up on artery walls and reduce cholesterol.
There is one key caveat to keep in mind when choosing cocoa for heart health and other healthy living goals. It is very 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.
Cinnamon is another spice that can be beneficial to your health. This popular spice is widely used in recipes. Cinnamon adds a sense of warmth and flavor to all kinds of dishes. These include everything from different types of coffee to spicy chilis.
Researchers have discovered that cinnamon is helpful in reducing high cholesterol as well as unhealthy triglyceride levels. These issues are known to contribute to heart disease.
Garlic powder is one of the most widely used spices in kitchens across the United States and around the world. While garlic powder is convenient, you can garner significant benefits by using real garlic. Yes, it’s a bit more work to use real garlic as opposed to powder. However, the tradeoff is a great contribution to your health.
Garlic is full of nutrients that are known to boost heart health. You obtain these benefits from fresh garlic that you cut or crush a clove. The process of cutting or crushing garlic is how what is known as allicin is released. Laboratory research 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 as well.
When we think of our cardiovascular health, we understandably think of cholesterol levels and blood pressure. What many people do not realize is that 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 both heart attack and stroke. And there is a spice that can be helpful in reducing inflammation.
Research has demonstrated that the spice turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Turmeric can be added to a variety of different dishes. These include things such as Thai dishes, breakfast scrambles, and even tea.
One of the most widely used spices in kitchens in the United States is black pepper. You very well may be like many seniors and not realize how beneficial black pepper can be when it comes to your health. Some experts go so far as to say that black pepper packs a proverbial powerful punch when it comes to associated health benefits.
Black pepper has significant anti-inflammatory properties. These elements of black pepper are known to promote cardiovascular health. In addition, black pepper is proven (through research) to have anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-ulcer properties. As a consequence, black pepper really can contribute to the health and well-being of people in a number of different ways, including women and men in their Golden Years.
Ginger is yet another spice that is shown to have health benefits for seniors and people of all ages. Ginger extract has been shown to reduce levels of unhealthy cholesterol. Ginger is also demonstrated to be effective in fighting inflammation as well.
The active ingredient in ginger is called gingerol. This ingredient is believed to relax blood vessels. It also stimulates blood flow. Ginger is also demonstrated to provide some pain relief.
Ginger also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants 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.
One More Spice: Cayenne to Ease Pain
In addition to the spices we just discussed that have health benefits that can be realized through regular use (according to researchers), cayenne is a spice that can be helpful in relieving or reducing pain. This includes pain arising from arthritis as well as pain related to diabetes.
Cayenne is a type of chili pepper that you’ll find in Southwestern American cuisine, as well as Mexican, Creole, and Cajun dishes. Cayenne peppers contain a substance called capsaicin. It is the substance that makes them spicy. It is also the substance in cayenne that can provide pain relief.
The way cayenne works are that the capsaicin in it reduces the number of pain signals sent to a person’s brain. The result of this is that a person will not register as much discomfort from such health issues as arthritis and diabetes. It particularly works on pain caused by arthritis and diabetes-related nerve damage.
Lab research and studies in animals suggest that eating cayenne pepper can also help with pain arising from ulcers. Although people often associate spicy foods with stomach upset, capsaicin aids in helping reduce ulcers by restricting or reducing the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria. This reduces excess stomach acid and increases blood flow.
By taking advantage of these spices, you can improve your overall health and wellness. Improved health can make your day-to-day life all the more enjoyable. It can even add time to your life.