We’ve welcomed in the new year with what seemed like a slow and steady January, but research surrounding the natural ways we can manage our heart health isn’t slowing down.
This is good news for the increasing amount of people opting for naturally sourced functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements to support heart health. The market for natural heart health ingredients is swollen with options, from stalwarts like coenzyme Q10 and plant sterols, however, it’s the new scientifically supported alternatives like specific minerals, antioxidants and probiotics that have scientific backing and research showing improvements in areas such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels and more that is becoming increasingly exciting.
What natural solutions are already making strides to impact the heart and what can we expect as 2019 develops? Read on to discover the functional foods, ingredients and supplements you should consider adding to your diet to maximise heart health.
Turmeric has been a spice and medicinal herb used in India for thousands of years. Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time – it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties. The most active component of the spice (as well as the most scientifically substantiated) is curcumin.
The curcumin compounds of this bright yellow spice have been shown to serve as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Given that inflammation is a strong element in so many conditions, especially heart disease, the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin make it a great addition to any heart-healthy diet.
A recent randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study carried out with a speciality form of curcumin on a healthy population to examine its role in cardiovascular health revealed significant results. Every participant experienced a clinically meaningful impact of potentially reducing cardiovascular disease risk by 15 to 50 per cent – showing huge potential in the health ingredients market.
Curcumin is a promising and generally new contender in the heart health ingredients market and with further investigation, could be a novel strategy to lower obesity-related cardiovascular disease. You can find curcumin in a supplement and beverage form like this curcumin-infused drink from ZYN.
The heart is a sensitive organ to nutritional influences and we’re not even talking about the microbiome, yet. The heart needs a healthy helping of vitamins and minerals, with one notable one being magnesium.
Magnesium is massively underrated when it comes to heart wellness, but its responsibilities lie in transporting other electrolytes such as calcium and potassium to cells. These electrolytes are vital for nerve signals and the muscle contractions of a normal heartbeat. Studies show that magnesium deficiency, or restricted magnesium intake, can increase the incidence of irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias.
Research within the last month has also found that magnesium may help diastolic heart conditions as it deoxidises the heart cells to ensure the heart relaxes properly. This is promising for a market that has no proven effective treatments for this type of heart disorder.
The good news is that it is quite easy to raise your magnesium level. Maximise your intake with a portion of walnuts, some spinach or red lentils. Or if they don’t tickle your taste buds, dark chocolate has 64mg of magnesium per 28g serving!
Flaxseeds, and the oil pressed from them are among the richest sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Long-standing research reveals these oils support your heart by decreasing inflammation, preventing clot formation and helping to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But the seeds and oils from flaxseed are one of the least commonly used in the kitchen.
Flaxseeds contain 'good fats' that cannot be produced by the body on its own, as well as other nutrients that act in synergy to offer multiple heart health benefits. The fibre content in flaxseeds, which is both soluble and insoluble, is also beneficial for heart health; soluble fibre dissolves to produce a gel-like substance that can help reduce cholesterol and glucose levels.
The plus side of these superfood seeds is also their antioxidant content, which is particularly beneficial for hair and skin. Flaxseeds can be added to salads, smoothies or sprinkled onto porridge and are found in all kinds of today’s foods from pasta, crackers and whole grain breads such as Hovis’ seeded batch range.
Research is rapidly unveiling the extent of the impact of the health of the intestinal tract on overall wellness, especially cardiovascular health.
A human’s gut microbiome is a crucial component of health throughout the body, with the power to impact digestion, mood, physiological function and, of course, heart wellness. Like any community, the microbiome is comprised of both good and bad characters so maintaining a healthy balance is key.
This newly discovered 'organ' has the potential to change the way we diagnose and treat the most critical diseases of all time: diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and more. In fact, the microbiome is creating the potential to make personalised medicine and nutrition accessible to all. For the wellness industry, this is creating a growing interest in the development of microbiome-modulating solutions for supporting heart wellbeing, with prebiotics and probiotics both playing an important role.
Experts in microbiome science, OptiBiotix is formulating products of increased value to modulate the human microbiome for a wide range of health benefits, especially cardiovascular health. It’s revolutionary cholesterol management range CholBiome® has been formulated to lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels and boost ‘good’ HDL cholesterol to assist with improved heart health.
Harnessing the power of the patented probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum LPLDL®, backed by extensive scientific evidence and using platforms based on pharmaceutical approaches, CholBiome® , is an ideal way to regulate your cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
Found within each CholBiome supplement is LPLDL®, which is naturally and scientifically formulated to specifically target individuals experiencing high levels of blood pressure and cholesterol by allowing regulation of the microbiome-liver axis and modulation of bile acids (achieved by reducing the amount of cholesterol being recycled from the intestine back to the liver). The result is a non-pharmaceutical solution that reduces overall cholesterol by up to 36.7%, without the side effects are known to be associated with common statins.
OptiBiotix’s revolutionary products are all supported by key opinion leaders in the microbiome field including Professor Glen Gibson, University of Reading. Not only this, OptiBiotix has a combined element of scientific evidence and peer reviewed human study behind the company to prove its unique products deliver real health benefits through science, naturally.
For more information on how CholBiome® can transform your heart health or to browse our full range of health solutions click here.