Drugs can treat or manage diseases of the heart but they can’t nourish or revitalize it; only foods can play that role. The attainment of good health through preventive medicine is the ultimate goal of health care providers; it is the practice of medicine at its best.
Nutritional medicine utilizes foods and food supplements to maintain health and to prevent, manage and treat disease conditions. The healing actions of foods are traceable to the food nutrients or non nutrient plant chemicals (phytochemicals) present in foods as well as the effects of colour energy of various foods.
In our fast pace world, patients with various heart conditions are on the increase which calls for a deliberate action plan to feed the whole body, most especially the heart with what can nourish it and keep it working smoothly. If we take just two disease conditions of the heart such as hypertension and stroke (the resultant effect of uncontrolled hypertension), we will be confronted with frightening statistics. For example medical statistics shows that over 50 million Nigerians are hypertensive and about 160,000 Nigerians suffer stroke yearly.
What do we do to stem the tide of heart diseases? We can employ the following foods and food supplements to maintain our heart thereby avoiding serious heart challenges.
GARLIC (Allium sativum)
1.Promotes blood circulation.
2. Prevents blood clots formation.
3.Assist in the treatment of hardening of arteries.
4. Lowers blood fat.
5. Reduces high blood pressure.
BANANA (Musa sapientum), rich in potassium.
1. Helps the body to maintain normal blood pressure.
2. Reduces cholesterol level.
ONIONS (Allium sativum), rich in quercetin
1.Anticoagulant (blood thinner).
2. Good for the treatment of angina (pain in the region of the heart).
3. Lowers cholesterol in the blood.
4. Supports the heart function.
5. Lowers blood pressure.
LEMON GRASS (Cymbopogon citratus)
1. Heart and blood vessels tonic .
3. Has a rejuvenating effect on the nervous system.
GINGER (Zingiber officinale)
1.Promotes blood circulation.
2. Supports heart and blood vessels.
3. Lowers blood pressure.
AVOCADO PEAR (Persea americana)
1. Helps to regulate blood pressure.
2. Supports the heart function.
3. Lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL), and increases the good cholesterol (HDL) level in the blood.
4. Tones muscles and nerves.
TIGER NUTS (Cyperus esculentus), ofio in Yoruba, aki-awusa in Igbo
1. Whole body energizer and tonic .
2.For atherosclerosis (plaque formation in the blood vessels).
3. Prevents heart attack and blood clot formation in the arteries.
4.Reduces the bad cholesterol.
Other healing foods for the heart include; SOUR SOP , CELERY , PARSLEY , VIRGIN COCONUT OIL , citrus fruits such as ORANGES , GRAPEFRUIT , LEMON etc. CASHEW NUT , RED WINE , GRAPES , LETTUCE , OKRA , TOMATOES , CAYENNE PEPPER , GARDEN EGG , HONEY and PEPPER FRUIT (Dennettia tripetala, mmimi in Igbo) and fish like MACKEREL , and SARDINES .
Food supplements that support the heart which can be purchased from natural health shops or pharmacy include; vitamin E, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, coenzymes Q10, selenium, magnesium and fish oil which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Also, consume a lot of fruits and vegetable when they are in season, drink generous quantity of water daily and curtail the consumption of fried foods, artificial food products and meat.
Find time to relax and enjoy soothing, soul inspiring music especially from string instruments, flute and piano.
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Dr Gilbert Ezengige is a licensed natural medicine practitioner, lecturer and writer on health and social issues.