February is Heart Health Month. According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death globally. An estimated 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% are due to heart attack and stroke.

It is important to make healthy choices in order to manage heart health. Here are 5 natural ways to reduce your risk of heart disease:

1. Garlic

Garlic helps improve blood circulation. This natural remedy also slows the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and keeps blood pressure within normal limits. Studies have found that consuming a single clove of garlic daily can help reduce the production of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and raise the production of ‘good cholesterol (HDL).

Try eating one or two freshly crushed garlic cloves daily. If you find the taste to be too strong, you can also take garlic supplements as an alternative.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric aids in maintaining cardiovascular health by preventing plaque buildup and clot formation. It contains an active ingredient, curcumin, which helps lower ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Turmeric also provides anti-inflammatory benefits. It relaxes blood vessels and minimizes heart damage after suffering a heart attack.

Boil one teaspoon of turmeric powder in one cup of water or milk. Drink it once or twice daily. You may also take this herb in supplement form.

3. Cayenne

Cayenne contains a compound called capsaicin that is beneficial for treating heart and circulatory problems. While cayenne is a popular spice used in cooking, it also helps prevent the formation of blood clots and reduces the risk of irregular heart rhythms. And it does it naturally with no toxic side effects. Cayenne pepper is known for its reported ability to stop a heart attack in its tracks! It opens arteries which allows critical blood flow to the heart to resume.

Add about half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a cup of hot water. Stir well and drink it two or three times daily for a few weeks. Cayenne capsules are also available as an alternative.

4. Ginger

According to research, ginger can help lower LDL cholesterol levels, improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that ginger has a lipid lowering effect, and plays an important role in preventing atherosclerosis. Certain laboratory studies have found ginger to be a more effective blood clot preventer compared to aspirin.

There are many ways to take ginger as it comes in many forms including fresh root, dried root, capsules, liquid extract and tea. The recommended daily dosage is 1 to 4 grams by mouth divided into smaller doses.

5. Green Tea

Studies have shown that green tea lowers the risk of death from heart attack or stroke by 26 percent. It prevents blood pressure from increasing and also reduces the formation of ‘bad’ cholesterol. Green tea contains Epigallocatechin Gallate or EGCG, an anti-oxidant polyphenol which helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

It is recommended that you drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea (preferably caffeine-free) daily. Or you can take 100 to 750 mg of standardized green tea extract per day.

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Edna Dimataga-Fernandez
Edna Dimataga-Fernandez founded The Wellness Institute in 2013. The company utilizes a holistic model of wellness consulting focusing on the 6 dimensions of organizational well-being: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual & financial health. The Wellness Institute provides holistic health assessments, corporate well-being workshops & wellness consultations with holistic health practitioners. Wellness-Spring, the company’s holistic health store, sells organic & non-toxic health & beauty products. A portion of the proceeds is donated back to causes that support women, children, health, wellness & education. She has worked & consulted for companies in the insurance & financial services industry, the medical & behavioral health field and the non-profit sector. Edna holds a B.A. in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is a Past President (2010-11) of the National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors - Los Angeles Chapter and is an approved Continuing Education Provider for the California Department of Insurance.