READING TIME: 3 MINUTES
“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
George H. W. Bush Sr.
Broccoli’s health benefits are never ending, but 10% of the population still detest it! Broccoli is one among the cruciferous vegetables and is closely associated with cauliflower and cabbage. It is considered a high alkaline food and is incredibly beneficial for heart rhythm regulation.
Pantothenic acid is a B vitamin that ensures proper function of the adrenal glands, which produce and release hormones responsible for stress. In addition to this, broccoli contains the chemicals sulforaphane, lisocyanate, and indoles, all of which help ward off cancer by inhibiting carcinogens.
One of the reasons this is a compulsory staple for palpitation suffers is it contains a high amount of potassium which, as aforementioned, helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function. It also promotes regular muscle growth. Researchers also believe the heart healthy effects of these cruciferous vegetables may be due to their ability to influence the secretion of a cholesterol transporter.
Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure. I recently read a study that states that cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) are best had in the morning, although one step at a time!
It is interesting to note that as of November 2011, a so-called “super broccoli” called Beneforte hit the markets in the UK. According to the Beneforte website, this vegetable is “the result of ten years of cross-pollination and selection to combine the best attributes of commercial broccoli with a wild broccoli variety found in southern Italy.” It essentially contains two to three times more glucoraphanin than standard broccoli.
“What are the 10 most important herbs to have in the home?” He tells them, “At the top of the list is cayenne pepper, because it will make the other 9 work better.”
On first impression, you may wonder why cayenne pepper makes the cut. But the undervalued cayenne has some truly remarkable benefits. There is simply no other herb or plant which increases your blood flow faster than cayenne. Cayenne moves blood around stimulating circulation and blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body.
Many herbalists believe that cayenne is the most useful and valuable herb for the heart and circulatory system. Capsicum exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure.
Research shows that it acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs when used in conjunction with them. Cayenne is a medicinal and nutritional herb. It is a very high source of Vitamins A and C and it contains the complete B complexes. It is also extremely high in organic calcium and potassium.
“Spinach is susceptible of receiving all imprints: It is the virgin wax of the kitchen.”
Grimod de la Reyniere
Vitamin C, beta-carotene and other nutrients in spinach work together to prevent oxidized cholesterol from building up in the blood vessel walls. There are plenty of vegetable sources of Coenzyme Q10, the richest being spinach.
Foods belonging to the chenopod family— including beets, chard, spinach and quinoa— continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families.
While I have yet to see large-scale human studies that point to a recommended minimum intake level for foods from this botanical family, I have seen data done on chenopod phytonutrients. Based on this data, it is recommended that you include foods from the chenopod family in your diet 2-3 times per week. In the case of a leafy food like spinach, I recommend a serving size of at least 1/2 cup and for maximum benefits at least one full cup.
A component of spinach, Coenzyme Q10, which is an anti-oxidant, plays an important role in strengthening muscles, especially the heart muscle. As per the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, C0-Q10 is used to prevent and treat many cardiovascular diseases like hyperlipidaemia, heart failure, hypertension and coronary heart diseases.
Finally, we cannot forget to mention the potassium and magnesium in spinach which also make significant contributions to heart health. Both work to lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
There is however, one disadvantage to spinach. Spinach contains a high concentration of oxalic acid, which can, on rare occurrences, be responsible for the formation of kidney and bladder stones. Nevertheless, the likelihood of developing kidney or bladder stones is easily nullified by combining your intake with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus slices.
“He was cross and grumpy. The guava was cool and green and calm-looking. He stared at the fruit, wished he could absorb all its coolness, all its quiet and stillness into him.”
Kiran Desai, blog posting, 2009
Eating a ripe guava daily on an empty stomach isn’t just any old remedy; it’s a good remedy for controlling palpitations. Let’s examine why this is the case.
Guava is a tropical fruit, the same shape as a pear, with green rind and pinkish or white flesh and small seeds. Guava is better than oranges and other citrus fruits in Vitamin C content (the edible rind contains a lot of it) and it contains appreciable amounts of Vitamin A as well. One guava has 165 milligrams of Vitamin C, while one orange has a mere 69 milligrams. They are also a good source of iron and pectin. In South America, the guava treatment against heart palpitations is already certified.
If included in the daily diet, research by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown that guavas are very effective in preventing cancer and heart disease. It also helps the body to combat free radicals produced during metabolism and helps to prevent age-related chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cataracts and rheumatoid arthritis. The presence of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibres in guava makes it effective in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
This delicious fruit is also high in potassium. Guava’s proven ability to lower blood pressure is the result of potassium. This mineral is an electrolyte that is essential to electrical reactions in your body, including your heart.
A guava a day keeps everything from a common cold to cancer, from swollen gums to blood pressure, also obesity, diabetes and the doctor away! It is very useful in controlling irregular heartbeats caused by stress or mild cardiovascular conditions.
“If wishes and buts were clusters of nuts, we’d all have a bowl of granola.”
From Strangers with Candy
So few fruits or vegetables have significant levels of selenium, which is an important mineral for heart and joint health. Brazil nuts are chock full of it. Just six nuts have almost 800% of the recommended daily allowance of selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant mineral, and thus part of a cancer-prevention diet. The mineral is stored in the soil and is highly variable by region- so supplementing it through your diet is a good idea. Brazil nuts are good, but going wild on Brazil nuts can have the opposite effect.
Brazil nuts are also a good source for magnesium. Women require between 310 to 320 mg of magnesium daily, while men need 400 to 420 mg. Nuts can help you to meet these requirements. Magnesium plays a critical role in how fast your heart beats. Even a moderate deficiency can cause a racing heart.
Additionally, Brazil nuts are full of vitamin E and zinc. Vitamin E is good for preventing heart disease, while zinc is beneficial to the immune system.
Eight medium-sized Brazil nuts make up a single sized serving. Try and limit yourself to them three times a week, while reducing your intake of other fatty foods. You can further decrease fat levels and sodium levels by only eating unsalted Brazil nuts.
A Rose and an Amaranth blossomed side by side in a garden,
and the Amaranth said to her neighbour,
“How I envy you, your beauty and your sweet scent!
No wonder you are such a universal favourite.”
But the Rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice,
“Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a time:
my petals soon wither and fall, and then I die.
But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut;
for they are everlasting.”
Aesop’s Fables (6th Century BC)
Believed to have originated in the Americas, and then introduced to Asia, amaranth has been a part of the human diet in both the seed (grain) and leaf forms for a long time.
Amaranth is used in various cultures in some very interesting ways. Amaranth in Greek means “everlasting”. The Aztecs considered it the “food of immortality” while in India, the amaranth grain is known as “rajgeera” meaning, “the king’s grain”.
The health benefits of amaranth are being rediscovered in the Western world today, but they were recognized long ago by people from countries like Mexico, Argentina and India.
Amaranth leaves taste similar to spinach but with a stronger flavour, and they cook very easily. In fact, many people rate Amaranth higher in terms of taste than spinach. In terms of nutrition as well, amaranth has higher concentrations of calcium, iron and phosphorus than Spinach.
Homeopathic and ayurvedic experts have always recognized the amazing health benefits of amaranth. The seeds and leaves of amaranth are both used as herbal remedies. The seeds and leaves are very effective in helping steer away heart irregularities.
Amaranth is also a well-balanced food. It is this balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that make this grain a great energy food. Because of these essential nutrients, its nutty flavour and crunchy texture, amaranth is a popular ingredient in health food, and it is being increasingly used in greens and even energy bars. Amaranth may also be a promising source of protein to those who are gluten sensitive, because unlike the protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, its protein does not contain gluten.
Amaranth seeds contain lysine, an essential amino acid, found only in limited amounts in grains or plant sources. Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used. Amaranth is also limited in some essential amino acids, such as leucine and threonine.
In laboratory tests, leucine is believed to slow down the degradation of muscle tissue by increasing the synthesis of muscle proteins in rats. It has also earned more attention as a catalyst for muscle growth and muscle insurance.
Meanwhile, threonine is an important amino acid that promotes normal growth by helping to maintain the proper protein balance in the body. It is essential to create glycine and serine, two amino acids that are necessary for the production of collagen, elastin and muscle tissue. Threonine helps keep connective tissues and muscles throughout the body strong and elastic, including the heart, where it is found in significant amounts.
Amaranth seeds are therefore a promising complement to common grains such as wheat germ, oats and corn because these common grains are abundant sources of these essential amino acids that are found to be limited in amaranth.
Several studies have shown that like oats, amaranth seed or oil may benefit those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease; regular consumption reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while improving antioxidant status and some immune parameters. While the active ingredient in oats appears to be water-soluble fibre, amaranth appears to lower cholesterol via its content of plant stanols and squalene.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the Nation’s leading killer for both men and women among all racial and ethnic groups. Development and progression of CVD is linked to the presence of risk factors such as hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, obesity and diabetes mellitus. It is known that cholesterol is an indicator of increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Low-density cholesterol (LDL) above 130 mg/dl, high-density cholesterol (HDL), cholesterol below 35 mg/dl and total blood cholesterol above 200 mg/dl are indicators of problematic cholesterol. Proper ranges of cholesterol are important in the prevention of CVD.
Grain amaranth has higher protein than other cereal grains and has significantly higher lysine content. It has been shown that amaranth leaves are an excellent source of protein, with its maximal accumulation in the blossoming phase (17.2–32.6% from dry weight for various samples).
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think, “Because although eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Another old folk remedy is honey, which unfortunately few studies have been done on its relationship with palpitations. However, research has been completed indirectly with its relationship to the heart. Even without direct evidence, honey is a clear alternative that should be added to the list to simply provide satisfaction to one’s sweet tooth. It is a magnificent substitute for sugar and is a habit you can enjoy to cultivate.
Honey is processed by the use of a natural bee enzyme, and it is a powerful compound that reinforces your immunity system. Honey is capable of lowering cholesterol levels within the blood. It helps regulates blood pressure and therefore can prevent heart arrhythmias. In addition to containing the full complex of vitamin B, it is high in essential electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, iron, potassium and many more.
Again, not all honey is equal. Stay clear from supermarket brands and try and source a local seller who doesn’t use any chemicals in their beekeeping. The best is maluka honey, and it is considered a “super food” among many of its users. Maluka honey is made from the flowers of the Manuka bush which is native to New Zealand. According to Professor Molan, at the University of Waikato, most types of honey contain hydrogen peroxide which is produced from an enzyme that bees add to the nectar.
While Maluka honey contains hydrogen peroxide, it also contains something else that makes it an outstanding honey. Even after twenty years of research, that “something else” is still a mystery. Professor Molan calls the mystery element the “Unique Manuka Factor” or “UMF Honey”. This honey has higher antibacterial properties than other honey types and when tested against different bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, it appears that there is not an infection that it can’t fight.
Clinical trials at Waikato Hospital have shown that Maluka honey is excellent at fighting infections, such as those associated with leg ulcers and pressure sores. The honey also works as an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. Sure, this has nothing to do with palpitations, but I saw the effect of Maluka honey first hand on my 99 year old grandmother. The doctors tried an endless list of creams, but the treatment that finally did it after more than twelve months was Maluka honey.
“We share half our genes with the Banana.”
The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. It is loaded with too many nutrients to mention here. But the main ones we are interested in include riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and folic acid. Iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and fluoride are also definitely worth mentioning!
Bananas are the most popular fruit in America and with its high potassium levels; they are good for lowering blood pressure. Potassium tends to decrease under stressful conditions, so bananas help to rebalance potassium levels without the need for medication.
A lot of essential amino acids (like tryptophan, lysine, leucine, threonine, arginine and glycine!) are also found in bananas. It is also a well-known anti-depressant as it contains the amino acid, tryptophan, plus Vitamin B6, which together help the body produce serotonin – the natural chemical which alleviates mental depression (coincidentally, it is also found in Prozac).
“The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palm, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers -all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent taste of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”
Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990)
Natural olives are good for you to eat as they are, or to use as an ingredient in your meals. Olives assist the heart and brain to function properly. They help make your body young and are a magnificent alternative for regular sun-flower oil. They are rich in omega 3 and alpha-linolenic, which is proven to assist in the amelioration of cardiovascular conditions.
Black olives are especially good for your heart. They contain a very high level of unsaturated fats. In a ½ cup serving you’ll find about 7 grams of fat, but 82% of the fat is unsaturated. These fats may help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Unsaturated fats are broken down into two categories– monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, depending on their internal chemical bonds. Approximately 90 per cent of the fat in black olives is monounsaturated fat, with polyunsaturated fat and a very small amount of saturated fat making up their composition.
The monounsaturated fats found in black olives may help your cardiovascular system by boosting the amount of good cholesterol, or HDL, in your bloodstream. HDL is essential because it counteracts the effects of LDL, or bad cholesterol, in your bloodstream. Imagine HDL as a sponge that mops up any excess fat from your arteries and tissues. It then transports it to your liver, which then packages up the excess fat for excretion in the bile.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help to reduce your cholesterol and cardiovascular complications by lowering your LDL levels. This may mean less fat deposits in your arties, and less cholesterol and other fats being carried to your liver and unloading them into your tissues.
This is an excellent benefit because otherwise fat deposits can block blood flow which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. If you find that you enjoy black olives, remember that foods with healthy fats are the most effective at reducing your LDL levels if eaten with other foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.