Heart disease continues to rank at the top among all the other non-communicable diseases. And it has come to light that Asians have an increased risk of cardiac problems. The major reason for this could be genetic predisposition and lifestyle-related factors. While genetics is far too out of hand to handle, it is important to focus on modifiable factors like diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease. One easy way of doing that is by including therapeutic foods that could have a beneficial effect on your heart and overall health. And hibiscus is definitely one of them.
Here are the top 4 heart-protective effects exerted by hibiscus:
1. REDUCING BLOOD PRESSURE
Several studies examining the effect of hibiscus extracts have found that hibiscus can lower your systolic blood pressure. Among all heart diseases hypertension is the most commonly seen condition and it has become extremely important to find measures to combat it.
The bioactive compound present in hibiscus causes nitric oxide release from vascular endothelium, which leads to an increase in kidney filtration, a mechanism that counteracts its diuretic effect and lowers blood pressure.
However, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before including hibiscus tea if you are already on anti-hypertensive drugs.
2. PREVENTS ATHEROSCLEROSIS
Atherosclerosis is a condition where there is a fat build-up in your blood vessels which on rupturing could be fatal. The preventive role of hibiscus is exerted by reducing the low-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol which in high amounts gets accumulated.
This makes hibiscus more therapeutic and functional as herbal medicine. oxidative injury in blood vessels, low-density lipoprotein oxidation, and foam cell formation have all been shown to be inhibited by hibiscus leaves.
3. REDUCES OXIDATION OF BAD CHOLESTEROL
The major risk of fat build-up lies in their oxidation. When the accumulated bad cholesterol gets oxidated it leads to atherosclerosis and a potential risk for various other heart problems.
One easy way to prevent oxidation is by consuming a diet rich in antioxidants. Keep in mind that you don't need an anti-oxidant supplement for this effect (unless prescribed), your food is "do it all".
Hibiscus are loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic compounds, beta carotene, and vitamin C which inhibit the oxidation of bad cholesterol.
4. FIGHTS INFLAMMATION
Apart from high cholesterol and blood pressure, inflammation also poses a greater risk for heart disease.
Inflammation is not actually a bad thing. It is the defense mechanism through which your body fights off infection. However chronic inflammation can promote plaques in blood vessels and can injure your tissues.
The good news is you can easily prevent your body from going into this state by following a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.
Studies have suggested that hibiscus exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect which can be cardio-protective. This is attributed to the bunch of antioxidants present in them. These antioxidants aid in preventing oxidative stress and thus controls inflammation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The benefits of hibiscus are numerous and have been utilized in many herbal medicines. Making hibiscus tea or drink a part of your routine along with overall dietary modification can be viewed as a holistic approach towards a heart-healthy lifestyle.