It is a commonly believed notion that an aspirin a day can keep the heart doctor away. And while it is true that aspirin has blood thinning properties that help prevent blood clots, fight inflammation, and even relieve symptoms of fever and flu. However, aspirin is also responsible for driving an increasing number of patients to the emergency room because of gastrointestinal bleeding, stomach ulcers, indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.
Given the fact that a healthy gut is key to long-term health, it’s best to consider these 4 completely natural alternatives that will do the job just fine, sans the unpleasant side effects.
When it comes to heart health, look no further than this humble herb. Garlic has been shown to benefit the health of damaged arteries. Researchers found that aged garlic extract can inhibit the progression of coronary artery calcification by stabilizing vulnerable plaque build-up along the artery walls.1
Not only that, garlic has also proven to be an effective cure for high blood pressure when taken as a concentrated supplement. A meta-analysis conducted in 2008 conducted 11 randomized controlled trials. In these trials, similar groups of participants were given either a placebo or a garlic supplement. Upon comparing the results, it was found that on the whole, consuming garlic every day reduced blood pressure, and the results were the most significant in adults who suffered from high blood pressure at the beginning of the trials.2
Furthermore, garlic contains allicin, a compound that has strong antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. By increasing your blood’s oxygen-carrying power, allicin not only improves circulation in the aorta but also prevents heart damage caused by oxygen deprivation. Garlic can also decrease the viscosity of blood platelets and can further stave off the dangers of blood clots.
For centuries, Chinese folk medicine has recognized turmeric for its ability to treat heart disease. Turmeric contains curcumin a compound that lends the root its vibrant yellow color.3 It is this compound that is responsible for lending turmeric its potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-cancerous properties.4 Thus, it can help your body fight inflammation and oxidative damage – two main factors that contribute to developing heart disease and strokes.
Curcumin is also said to reduce oxidative stress in our cells. Thanks to the relaxing effects it has on our blood vessels, curcumin also helps to reduce the incidence the clotting blood platelets, one of the main causes of strokes. This property of curcumin, combined with its ability to force the liver to get rid of bad cholesterol from the body is very helpful in reducing cholesterol – another contributor to bad heart health.5 6
Clove is another spice that has earned itself the much-deserved title of “superfood” thanks to its protective properties on our health. Cloves contain high levels of phenols, a type of antioxidant found naturally in certain essential oils that have strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties.7
According to research, even small amounts of cloves can cause a drop in blood glucose and triglyceride levels in addition to inhibiting lipid peroxidation, a cause of heart disease.
Additionally, cloves have also been shown to be a potent platelet inhibitor, thus helping to stave off blood clots, which makes a great substitute for aspirin. In fact eugenol, a well-known component of cloves has been found to be more effective than aspirin in preventing platelet aggregation.8
4. Mustard Oil
This pungent-smelling oil can work miracles on the overall health of your heart. Mustard oil is mainly made of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, that ensure keeping your heart fit and strong. Studies have found that mustard oil can not only significantly decrease the triglyceride levels in the blood but can also reduce the occurrence of bad cholesterol – two important factors for maintaining a strong heart and bringing down one’s risks of strokes and disease.9
Plus, mustard oil also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ideal ratio of 1:2, another huge benefit for the heart since it further helps to balance out cholesterol levels.10
|↑1||Matsumoto, Suguru, Rine Nakanishi, Dong Li, Anas Alani, Panteha Rezaeian, Sach Prabhu, Jeby Abraham et al. “Aged garlic extract reduces low attenuation plaque in coronary arteries of patients with metabolic syndrome in a prospective randomized double-blind study.” The Journal of nutrition 146, no. 2 (2016): 427S-432S.|
|↑2||Ried, Karin, Oliver R. Frank, Nigel P. Stocks, Peter Fakler, and Thomas Sullivan. “Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC cardiovascular disorders 8, no. 1 (2008): 13.|
|↑3, ↑4||Gupta, Subash C., Sridevi Patchva, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. “Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials.” The AAPS journal 15, no. 1 (2013): 195-218.|
|↑5||Kang, Qiaohua, and Anping Chen. “Curcumin suppresses expression of low‐density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, leading to the inhibition of LDL‐induced activation of hepatic stellate cells.” British journal of pharmacology 157, no. 8 (2009): 1354-1367.|
|↑6||Soni, K. B., and R. Kuttan. “Effect of oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human volunteers.” Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology 36 (1992): 273-273.|
|↑7||Cortés-Rojas, Diego Francisco, Claudia Regina Fernandes de Souza, and Wanderley Pereira Oliveira. “Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): a precious spice.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine 4, no. 2 (2014): 90-96.|
|↑8||Srivastava, K. C. “Antiplatelet principles from a food spice clove (Syzgium aromaticum L).” Prostaglandins, leukotrienes and essential fatty acids 48, no. 5 (1993): 363-372.|
|↑9||Dasgupta, Sayantani, and Dipak Kumar Bhattacharyya. “Dietary effect of γ-linolenic acid on the lipid profile of rat fed erucic acid rich oil.” Journal of oleo science 56, no. 11 (2007): 569-577.|
|↑10||Chugh, Bhawna, and Kamal Dhawan. “Storage studies on mustard oil blends.” Journal of food science and technology 51, no. 4 (2014): 762-767.|