by Ward W. Bond, PhD
Who knew this little hairy, spiky looking fruit packed so much good health inside! Rambutan is native to Malaysia and Indonesia, it is found all over Southeastern Asia. It looks like a sea urchin, but it’s a tasty fruit!
Are you the type of person who’s anemic, but you can’t take iron supplements? Rambutan is a perfect choice instead of eating liver, yuck! High in natural iron, it's a great exotic blood builder helping build healthy red blood cells. The fruit also contains copper which is vital for the production of red and white blood cells in our body. The fruit also contains manganese which is essential for our body for the production of enzymes and their activation. Manganese is also needed to reverse Meniere's Disease (vertigo). Enzymes are necessary for carry out many functions in our body and often carry out essential biochemical essential in our body.
Rambutans are high in water content along with being high in fiber and low in calories. A perfect diet food or what we should call a perfect lifestyle food. Fiber is needed for a healthy gastrointestinal tract and fiber is needed for maintaining blood sugar levels in diabetics as well as being helpful in cardiovascular health.
Ever heard of Gallic acid? Rambutan provides that too! Gallic acid is believed to have health benefits that are of particular note to those at risk for certain forms of cancer or neural disorders. Studies have shown that Gallic acid is effective in inhibiting neuronal death. Studies have also shows that Gallic acid has anti-cancer properties against leukemia, certain prostate, colon and lung cancer cells.
Gallic acid has been shown to prevent cellular mutations and to be toxic to cancer cells, while having no negative effect on healthy cells. This, of course, means that Gallic acid may prove to be an effective treatment for certain forms of cancer, and that increasing the amount of Gallic acid consumed may help those suffering from cancer in their fight against the disease.
When shopping in an organic market, be adventurous and try a few Rambutans. Expand your food choices and see how food can be fun and healthy!
by Ward W. Bond, PhD
African cucumber taste has been compared to a combination of cucumber and zucchini or a combination of banana, cucumber and lemon. Some of the most impressive health benefits of kiwano include its ability to improve cognitive ability, prevent certain types of chronic diseases, aid in weight loss, protect the skin, boost the metabolism, increase eye health, strengthen bones, optimize digestion, and speed up wound healing.
African Cucumber is very high in alpha-tocopherol, which is a potent from of Vitamin E. This makes this fruit a free radical fighter which will benefit cardiovascular, brain health and the prevention of cancer.
Your mom told you to eat carrots so you would have healthy eyesight, but this fruit has high levels of Vitamin A in the form of carotenoids that help macular degeneration and maintain eye health. When you see fruits that are orange and yellow in color, the eyes have it!
The antioxidant dense fruit doesn’t stop there as it has high levels of Vitamin C, which fights free radicals, needed for healthy arteries, fights off colds and flu and strengthens collagen. Who knew this overlooked fruit packed so much power! African Cucumber has the valuable mineral Zinc is needed for a healthy immune system and wound healing. With both Vitamin A and Zinc in the same fruit makes it’s a superfruit with potent healing powers. You see, both of these nutrients rely on one another to improve your immune system and keep you healthy.
It’s also a bone building fruit with plenty of calcium and if you are dealing with osteoporosis or trying to heal from a broken bone, this a fruit to consider. The high fiber content is ideal to improve gastrointestinal health. Fiber is needed for proper bowel movements, regulating blood sugar and is perfect for heart health.
A Final Word of Warning: The bitter forms of kiwano, before they are ripe, can have dangerous levels of chemicals that are not present when the fruit is ready to eat. This toxicity can cause stomach issues, headaches, and fevers, but is not known to be life-threatening.
by Ward W. Bond, PhD
Words are very powerful whether they are written or spoken. It has become very clear to me that many people are trapped by information concerning their health. Every week I’m meeting people who are not overcoming their health issues because of a medical report or a doctor’s words and they are taking them as the final say. Only the Lord has the final say. Many are trapped on disability, because if they truly get well they lose the financial support they need to survive. A powerful Catch-22 for millions of people, but the disability is an issue for another time, this is about processing information.
Let’s talk about you. Let me give you an example of a man we’ll call Tom. Tom was on crutches for many years, you know the kind, the ones that wrap around your forearm giving everyone the idea you are permanently crippled? Well, Tom had a serious back injury and the doctor’s left him on pain medication and basically left him to live like this, but one day Tom starting thinking..what if? One day he laid his crutches down and started doing very small movements with his legs and arms. He did this every day and within one year, he no longer needed the crutches or pain medications. He is doing cartwheels now! Today, Tom is living life free from those crutches, which became part of his identity. He is a healed man.
Grace was a woman who was overweight and on multiple medications because she was told she needed them. I’m sure at the time she did as people who are overweight have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain and blood sugar problems. She spent years listening to the doctor’s report and one day her light bulb went on. She slowly worked to change her diet into a lifestyle of healthy eating and started walking around the house as a form of exercise. Today, Grace has lost 70lbs and her medication load has been greatly reduced.
Think of the millions of people who take the diagnosis of a terminal disease and just stop doing anything. Terminal is what a doctor’s report can deliver, but the Bible says we can obtain a good report through faith. Miracles still happen! Believe in your heart and in your mind and you can more than anything a report says. Why give up? Why stop living? What if the report is wrong and you’re not going to die? Live each day with hope and push on. Attitude has a lot to do how we respond to this life and we don’t get a do over. Give it all you got!
They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste. It is, but the mind can also trap us from reaching our God-given destiny of health and wholeness, all because someone said we can’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t and so on. Never underestimate the power of the mind and the can do spirit.
Many people are at the doorstep of their healing and they do not realize it! It’s time to rise up and walk ladies and gentleman and take no for an answer.
Don’t let a doctor’s report or a doctor’s words become the final say. You are a miracle waiting to happen, it’s time to do what you can do and let the Lord give you the strength to be whole again. As I always say, do what you can do in the natural and let God do the supernatural!
Never let words trap you and prevent you from the healing that is waiting for you to possess.
Written by Ward W. Bond, Ph.D.
How many of you deal with a nagging burning pain in your skin, most notably on your scalp that radiates across you face? Is your hair falling out? That condition is called Trichodynia, also called burning scalp syndrome, and it’s characteristics are burning or itching of the scalp, scalp sensitivity, or a feeling of pain when one combs one’s hair. Trichodynia also has a close association with hair loss.
So you’ve tried everything and nothing works. Well, the secret to this is reducing Substance P naturally. But first, let’s discuss what is Substance P.
Substance P problems do not occur from moderate day to day stress. Extra substance P kicks in when stress is more intense. This could be an acute high level of emotional stress, physical pain, injury, an accident, fibromyalgia, PTSD, or ongoing stress of an energy-depleting emotional nature. Substance P is highly inflammatory by nature, a natural method of helping to deal with acute stress but problematic if stress is ongoing. Individuals with a history of such stress are more likely to experience Substance P issues later in life from the ongoing stress of day to day life, especially if such stress is energy-depleting and tends to be chronic.
Substance P involves symptoms in large nerves and nerve endings, especially at night when you lay down to sleep or while you are sleeping. How many of you deal with these following symptoms:
These symptoms are caused because your brain stem tries to discharge the buildup of Substance P down primary nerve structures so that it can cool off and you can go to sleep.
Substance P excess also manifests in skin and muscles. Your skin may itch in a generalized way, as Substance P is released out nerve endings (a problem that can happen during the day or at night). It sometimes feels like something is crawling around under your skin. In some cases individuals with too much Substance P are sensitive to physical touch meaning that touch is uncomfortable or even painful to a greater or lesser degree.
Now let’s get to the point you’ve all been waiting for. How to get rid of excess Substance P.
The following is a protocol to help you succeed in reducing excess levels of Substance P.
Nutrients to help remove excess Substance P
Things to Avoid
UPDATED: Things to Try for Your Burning Scalp
by Ward W. Bond, PhD
When I was a teenager, my parents got into natural health and of course I thought it was be just faze and it would move on. Then came kefir. This was a much tastier beverage than milk or any milkshake and it was good for me, what’s not to like about that? We had all the flavors, plain, strawberry, raspberry, pineapple and even boysenberry, which was my favorite. The cartons back in the 1970’s were not very big and if you didn’t watch it, you would drink all of it and leave nothing to the others. We lived in a small town of barely 4,000 people and had to drive an hour to go to the store to get the kefir, we had to stock up, but we couldn’t be a glutton about it either. Those were the days.
The good news is more and more people are learning about the benefits of kefir. I use both the cow’s milk kefir and the goat’s milk kefir to keep variety in the mix. I love seeing more information about gut health in the news and mostly in social media where news travels faster than Superman.
Back in 2000, I had the honor to travel with the father of probiotics, the late Dr. Khem Shahani and learned about the importance of gut health, but more importantly how to get the good bacteria back into the gut so our immune system can be strong and vibrant. Dr. Shahani was responsible for figuring out how to get our Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium back into our gut. When one studies such a subject, you have to look at the very beginnings of gut health from a baby passing through the birth canal, to breastfeeding and to cultures that focused on fermented foods such as Bulgarian yogurt and Kimchi. Before the days of probiotic supplementation, we had foods that provided us with bacteria that improved our gut.
Let’s focus on kefir, hey it tastes better than sauerkraut right? Kefir comes from the Turkish word, ‘keyif’ meaning “good feeling”. You want to feel good don’t you? Of course you do, so put down that overloaded Starbucks drink some people call coffee and listen up! Kefir offers complete proteins and is easily digested. It’s known that those who suffer from lactose intolerance can digest kefir without stomach upset or bloating. Kefir is NOT liquefied yogurt as some believe.
Kefir can contain up to 30 strains of good bacteria making it much more effective as a probiotic food than any yogurt and you don’t need a spoon. Kefir includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir. Studies show that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. coli (causes food poisoning).
When you improve your gut health, you improve every part of your body from your bones, digestion and immune system. Kefir is highly effective for many forms of diarrhea which as mentioned above can be caused by Salmonella and E. coli. There is much research that probiotics and probiotic foods can help with all sorts of digestive problems even those who suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Did you know kefir may help fight against cancer? If your gut is healthy, your immune system is healthy and you need a healthy immune system to prevent cancer and even fight it. The probiotics in fermented dairy products like kefir are believed to inhibit tumor growth by reducing formation of carcinogenic compounds, as well as by stimulating the immune system. One test tube study found that kefir reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by 56%, compared with only 14% for yogurt.
And let’s not forget about allergies. Children born by C-section and never breast-fed go through life without the good bacteria they need to be healthy. These children have higher instances of asthma, ear infections and allergies than those children who were born naturally and breast-fed. In animal studies, kefir has been shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergy and asthma. In human studies, non-pathogenic E. coli was administered to infants to stimulate their immune systems. At 10 years old and 20 years old these children suffered from significantly fewer allergic diseases. Prior to delivery, expecting mothers received probiotics or a placebo. Following delivery, the children who received probiotics continued dosage for 6 months. After 4 years, only 26% of the children on probiotics developed eczema while 46% of those without probiotics developed the condition. Time to drink up America!
Kefir, it does the body good in more ways than an old glass of milk. You get vitamins, minerals, protein and beneficial gut bacteria that will feed every cell in your body. Forget the donut, forget the coffee, start your day with kefir, hey it was once called the food of the gods. So God bless kefir!
by Ward W. Bond, PhD
Strange question isn’t it? Do you want to be healed? Many of you say you want to be healed, overcome the ailment, illness or disease that you are dealing with, but do you really want healing? It’s not a harsh question to ask. I talk with so many people that some of them have the unction to be healed while others say they want it, but they don’t pursue it.
There lies the problem. There are many reasons why you don’t pursue complete healing. Some of you rely on doctors putting faith in men who spent years in school and practice that their authority will somehow bring healing to your body. Others may not have the financial means to pursue complete healing, placing their faith in the lack of funds they need to seek professional help. And then we have the majority of the population who have not been educated in the art of healing, God’s way.
What is God’s way of healing? Well, it starts with faith of course and it also means looking at all the things we are doing and not doing? Are we eating correctly? Are we eating foods that encourage the healing response in our body? Our bodies were made to heal itself, but society has lost its way. For years the population has been eating the life of ease with processed, prepackaged foods and found out driving through the drive-thru window makes life easier.
If you really want something, you have to work for it. Oh, the word ‘work’ causes people to run away, but aren’t you tired of feeling sick and tired? So let’s back up a bit. When I talk with those who need healing in their bodies, I want their faith to be built up first. I always tell them, the same power that raised Christ from the dead, lives in you! Do you realize how strong that power is? Jesus healed everyone so came to Him regardless if they thought He was the Son of God or not. Many just wanted a miracle and He never turned those away who came to Him. Focus on the word ‘came’. They pursued healing because they saw others rising up and walking. Jesus is still alive today and sits on the right hand of the Father, but if you are a believer, that same power lives in you. First, pray for your healing with faith. Command the sickness or disease to go in the name of Jesus. There’s power in the name of Jesus, so much so that Peter and John spoke His name that caused the man at the Gate Beautiful to rise up and walk. They spoke a command, they did not pray with the man and walk away. Big difference! Take command of your faith and speak it over your health. God still does miracles today! He’s just waiting on everyone to believe again.
Every day keep working on your faith and be bold when speaking over your health and commanding the sickness to leave your body. Speak more years into your life!
Now, that we’ve taken a look at the supernatural, what you doing in the natural? Do you have cancer, but you still waking up in the morning and starting your day with coffee and a donut? Those aren’t life giving foods, but foods that promote death. In the eyes of cancer, sugar is food to abnormal cells and makes them grow. Start the day with lemon and water. Make a life giving smoothie that will promote improved digestive health, stronger immune system that improves the function of natural killer cells and T-cells to fight cancer. Maybe you are dealing with heart disease and your cholesterol is high? The coffee and donut or the Starbucks drive-thru is not promoting cardiovascular health. Look at starting your day with heart healthy foods such as berries which are full of antioxidants to prevent the cholesterol from oxidizing. Add some healthy fats such as salmon in the morning so those Omega 3s will help reduce inflammation in the arteries and help to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower your triglycerides. Eat oatmeal as the beta glucans that naturally occur are known by the American Heart Association to lower cholesterol. Even, the fruit bergamont will help improve cardiovascular health by simply eating it every morning and for the diabetics, the same fruit is shown to normalize blood sugar levels.
Get the picture? What we eat, we become. Eat non-nutritious foods, or what I call sick foods will give you a weak immune system, poor gut health, increase cardiovascular risk, weight gain and even cancer. God created us in His image and the foods He created were to nourish us daily and ward off disease.
Pursue healing like you’re on a mission to win! Get educated! When you increase your knowledge in the Bible, your faith becomes strong like a warrior and you can kick the devil’s behind to dark side of the moon. Increasing your knowledge on living foods will promote healing in your body and reverse disease and keep you energetic, vibrant and healthy. Who wouldn’t want that?
Now get your ‘want to’ up and running. The race isn’t over yet, as you are in the driver seat. Let’s go!
We'll be diving deeper into this subject and give you the tools to leave sickness in the past.
by Ward W. Bond, PhD
We are living in a day where the cold and flu season is no longer limited to the winter months. It seems like everyone is battling colds, the flu, sinus infections at an alarming rate 365 days of the year. Our bodies have become immune to antibiotics, which are not much use when millions of people are constantly living on them and never replenishing their gut bacteria.
We need to stop arming our medicine cabinets at home with anti-histamines, left over antibiotics that many save for a rainy day (you know you do it, so stop acting innocent), cough medicines and the many Quils we’ve all collected.
What we need to do is stock our medicine cabinets with some natural anti-virals and anti-bacterials. So here is the list!
This is a very popular and powerful immunogenic herb. Research is showing it may help protect your DNA and promote longevity.
“Preliminary research suggests that astragalus may also have powerful anticancer properties. In a study conducted at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, researchers found that a water extraction of astragalus restored or enhanced the function of T-cells (white blood cells that play specific roles in the immune system) taken from people with cancer. In some cases, astragalus stimulated the damaged cells to greater activity than found in normal cells taken from healthy individuals.” – The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs by Robert S. McCaleb, Evelyn Leigh, and Krista Morien
Much of the research on astragalus has been focused on its immunostimulatory activity and its apparently remarkable ability to restore the activity of a suppressed immune system. If you are the type you takes antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs at the first sign of sickness, you are reducing the function of your immune system. Clinical research has provided evidence for its usefulness in the prevention of the common cold and as being helpful to cancer therapies. It may be useful as a corresponding treatment during chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immune deficiency syndromes. Astragalus is used to strengthen the immune system over time, building resistance to illness and disease. One of the main uses of this herb is for respiratory illness such as bronchitis, sinus congestion and those with COPD/Emphysema. I personally take this herb on a daily basis for all of its health benefits, especially for longevity.
I travelled to Chile a few years ago and had the pleasure of walking through a fully blooming elderberry tree orchard. The white flowers and the black berries were ready for the picking. Many people know the power of the elderberry and it should one of the top choices for antivirals for the family to use. The most common uses are for colds and flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory disturbances.
The Elderflower has antibacterial and antiviral properties and may also help alleviate some allergies and boost the functioning of the immune system.
How potent is Elderflower? Research in Ireland showed that elderflower extract was effective in killing many common hospital pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)1. This study gave scientific proof of elderflower's antibacterial properties against most gram negative and gram positive bacteria tested that align with traditional medicine uses of the past. Further study of elderflower components showed the potential for antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
The Elderberry is what we’ve come to see in a syrup form. The juice is full of bioflavonoids and other proteins that destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did no
Elderberries are full of antioxidants such as vitamins A and C. Due to the dark color of the berries, an antioxidant called anthrocyanins are responsible for its anti-inflammatory action as well as helping to normalize blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health. The berries also contain Quercetin, a flavonoid which has shown to have anti-cancer benefits in the prostate gland as well as having a powerful anti-histamine action, perfect for those with sinus allergies and infections.
How good is Elderberry/Elderflower? When it’s mentioned in medical journals, it should be worth more than just a passing look. The herb is listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In cancer and immunodeficiency diseases, it has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and in Israel they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it.
These are just two of the many natural anti-virals available to all of us. I'll be covering more of these incredible God-given remedies.
by Ward W. Bond, PhD
THERE ARE THREE MAIN TYPES OF LIPOPROTEINS
Cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. A lipoprotein is any complex or compound containing both lipid (fat) and protein.
The three main types are:
LDL (low density lipoprotein) - people often refer to it as bad cholesterol. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to cells. If too much is carried, too much for the cells to use, there can be a harmful buildup of LDL. This lipoprotein can increase the risk of arterial disease if levels rise too high. Most human blood contains approximately 70% LDL - this may vary, depending on the person.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) - people often refer to it as good cholesterol. Experts say HDL prevents arterial disease. HDL does the opposite of LDL - HDL takes the cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver. In the liver it is either broken down or expelled from the body as waste.
Triglycerides - these are the chemical forms in which most fat exists in the body, as well as in food. They are present in blood plasma. Triglycerides, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids (blood fat). Triglycerides in plasma originate either from fats in our food, or are made in the body from other energy sources, such as carbohydrates. Calories we consume but are not used immediately by our tissues are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells. When your body needs energy and there is no food as an energy source, triglycerides will be released from fat cells and used as energy - hormones control this process.
Natural Treatments for High LDL, Low HDL and High Triglyceride Levels
Omega 3s - The best source will be Fish Oil, but Flax Oil sources of Omega 3s will work too. Omega 3s will help to reduce the overall inflammation inside the arteries. This is why cardiovascular disease is called the 'silent killer'. If your LDL is high, it's because you are lacking antioxidants which will help to prevent the cholesterol from oxidizing leading to increased levels, but we'll talk more about that in a minute. The dose of Omega 3s should be at least 3,000mg per day for maintaining healthy levels and 6-10,000mg to effectively help lower dangerous levels of LDL. Omega 3s will help to increase the HDL which will lower your cardiovascular risk. It is the number one choice in lowering dangerously high levels of triglycerides. This is very important for diabetics to keep in mind as high blood sugar levels will lead to high triglyceride levels which can increase the risk for stroke.
Antioxidants - Eat your fruits and vegetables each and every day. The antioxidants will help keep the cholesterol from oxidizing which lead to higher levels. Cholesterol can be healthy and is needed by the human body for numerous functions including hormones and nerve insulation. We live in a world full of free radicals from water, pollution, environment, stress and poor eating habits. The antioxidants are needed daily. Focus on the dark blue, purple fruits and vegetables for the highest levels of antioxidants called anthrocyanins. Your heart and arteries will love you.
Lecithin - Sourced from Sunflower or Soy (does not contain enzyme inhibitors or the bad properties from the soy plant), lecithin will emulsify the cholesterol in the arteries and the liver. Lecithin is very inexpensive and will help the arteries stay pliable. I call Lecithin a cardiologist worst nightmare. This simple nutrient when taken daily in either the granule or capsule form can help prevent cholesterol buildup and keep the liver as well as the brain healthy. The dose should be 1-2 tablespoons per day or 3 capsule (1200mg) twice daily. Will help in lowering LDL cholesterol.
Bergamonte - This is a fruit that looks like a lemon and taste bitter like a grapefruit. The extract of Bergamonte comes from the inside of the rind. This happens to some sort of miracle fruit that is grown in a particular area of Italy. Bergamonte can effectively lower LDL cholesterol, raise the HDL and lower high triglyceride levels as well as maintain proper blood sugar levels. This is a diabetics best friend. Many people are seeing drops of 20-40 points in their LDL cholesterol in 4-6 weeks using the extract. For more information on Bergamonte: HerbalUltra.com
Other: Turmeric, Artichoke, Milk Thistle, Alpha Lipoic Acid are just a few of the nutrients one needs to maintain optimal antioxidant levels as well as placing a focus on maintaining a healthy liver. If the liver isn't healthy, one will have a difficult time maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant that works in every cell of the body. Artichoke and Milk Thistle will help to improve the flow of bile in the liver to help remove toxins (a must if you are taking statins for cholesterol) and they will help strengthen liver function too. Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that works with both fat and water-soluble antioxidants. It is responsible in working with the glucose in the liver as well.
Diet: Always eat the foods the Lord created. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains (gluten-free in this day and age), high quality foods that contain Omega 3s such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, flaxseeds, walnuts, kale to name a few. Drink plenty of water. High quality proteins such as salmon, bison, ostrich and lean cuts of beef or chicken. Learn to eat one raw food meal per day. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes in natural foods will increase your energy, mental clarity and give your arteries and heart new life!
Exercise: Check with your doctor first. Walking, running, swimming, cycling and weightlifting are all good forms of exercise. When you move, your heart becomes healtheir and your arteries will love you even more!
Salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines and mackerel are the superstars of heart-healthy foods. That's because they contain copious amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, shown in studies to lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and decrease triglycerides. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish and preferably fatty fish at least twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available as dietary supplements.
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol. It acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream. Avoidg instant oatmeal, which often contains sugar, and instead go for old-fashioned or even quick-cooking oats.
Not just blueberries, but strawberries and other berries as well. According to one recent study, women aged 25 through 42 who ate more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32% lower risk of heart attack compared with those who ate less. The authors of the study attributed the benefit to compounds known as anthocyanins, flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colors.
Several studies have now shown that dark chocolate may benefit your heart, including one in 2012 that found that daily chocolate consumption could reduce nonfatal heart attacks and stroke in people at high risk for these problems. The findings applied only to dark chocolate, meaning chocolate made up of at least 60-70% cocoa. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
Women who consume high amounts of the flavonoids found in oranges and grapefruits have a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke (caused by a clot) than women who don't get as much of these compounds, a recent study found. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Beware of citrus juices that contain added sugar. And be aware that grapefruit products may interfere with the action of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.
Tomato consumption in the U.S. has been rising and that's a good thing. Like potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus, they're a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of "bad" cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower heart attack risk. And because they're low in calories and low in sugar, they don't detract from an already-healthy diet.
This includes almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts, all of which contain good-for-your-heart fiber. They also contain Vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol. And some, like walnuts, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Some people in the past have avoided nuts because they're higher in fat, but most of the studies show that people who consume nuts daily are leaner than people who don't.
Legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas are an excellent source of protein without a lot of unhealthy fat. One study found that people who ate legumes at least four times a week had a 22% lower risk of heart disease compared with those who consumed them less than once a week. And legumes may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Lowering blood sugar levels is key in helping people avoid diabetes complications, one of which is heart disease.
Extra-virgin Olive Oil
In a landmark study, people at high risk for heart disease who followed the Mediterranean diet (high in grains, fruits, vegetables) supplemented by nuts and at least four tablespoons a day of olive oil reduced their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and dying by 30%. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olives themselves—both green and black—are another source of "good" fat.
Green tea has grown more popular in the West and may bring with it significant health benefits. One recent study found that people who drank four or more cups of green tea daily had a 20% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke compared with people who "seldom" imbibed the beverage. The findings echo a previous study that found lower rates of death, including death from heart disease, among avid drinkers of green tea. Antioxidants known as catechins may be responsible for the effect.
Broccoli, Spinach and Kale
When it comes to your health, you really can't go wrong with vegetables. But green vegetables may give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They're also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals. Kale also has some omega-3 fatty acids. Green vegetables are super health-promoting foods!
Another widely consumed beverage—coffee—may also promote heart health. One study found a 10 to 15% lower risk of dying from heart disease or other causes in men and women who drank six or more cups of coffee a day. Other research has found that even two cups a day could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 30%.
Flax seeds as well as the ultra-chic (among the health conscious) chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, says Graf. That's one reason they're good for your heart. Another reason is their high fiber content. Plus, there are a million ways to enjoy them. Try them ground up with other heart-healthy foods, such as dried blueberries, cranberries, or oatmeal.
These soft, tasty fruits have a well-established reputation for providing the body and heart with healthy fats. Like olive oil, they're rich in the monounsaturated fats that may lower heart disease risk factors, such as cholesterol. They're also high in antioxidants and in potassium. They can be eaten on their own or blended into guacamole, perhaps with some heart-promoting tomatoes.
Pomegranates contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries. One study of heart disease patients found that a daily dose of pomegranate juice over three months showed improvements in blood flow to the heart. If you don't like pomegranates or can't afford them, reach for apples, which also contain plenty of health-promoting compounds.