By now you probably know that foods high in Omega oils and fiber are great for heart health. Have you considered however that foods rich in polyphenols (antioxidants from plants) can boost your heart health as well? Some studies have shown that polyphenols can help improve the function of blood vessels, increase HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind) and help with inflammation responses. Here are a few polyphenol-rich and surprisingly delicious foods to try.

Cloves-
Cloves have one of the highest ORAC values of any food item and have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Cloves contain many bioactive substances like flavonoids, hexane, methylene chloride, ethanol, thymol, eugenol, and benzene. Many of which have various properties, like antioxidant, hepato-protective (liver protective), anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Black Currant-
You might notice a theme of dark colored berries, this in particular is anthocyanins a potent flavonoid that can help the heart by lowering LDL cholesterol and decreasing the amount of fat in the blood. Black currants are at the top of the list in potency and in flavor in our opinion. It can be hard to find fresh black currants, so look for an organic tea to sip on hot or iced.

Cinnamon-
Cinnamon is commonly associated with blood sugar regulation, but it has been tested and proven to lower LDL cholesterol levels, help decrease blood pressure and can help lower triglyceride levels. If you don’t like the flavor, you can easily take cinnamon in capsule form, just ask your practitioner which ones might be right for you.

Dark Chocolate-
Dark Chocolate has garnered much attention in the recent years for its antioxidant properties. The actual flavonoids in cocoa are the hard workers so look for 70% + dark chocolate if you really want to reap the benefits. Studies have shown these flavonoids can help improve blood flow to the brain and heart so it can be especially useful for those at risk of stroke or heart attack as well.

Coffee-
Oh coffee, sweet ambrosia of the Gods. While many of us cannot get through a day without the caffeine from coffee, consider its other beneficial qualities like developing less calcification in coronary arteries.

 

Black Elderberry-
Not only are the anthocyanins in elderberry great for boosting your immune system, they can also help lower LDL cholesterol, increase blood serum antioxidant capacity, and decrease triglyceride levels. We recommend a good quality black elderberry syrup mixed with a little local honey, cinnamon, clove and apple cider vinegar to keep your heart healthy and immune system strong.

 

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