Can you believe 17.9 million people die in 2019 from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)?
4 out of 5 of these deaths are caused by heart attacks and strokes.
Heart attacks and strokes can happen when the blood pressure is too high, or the blood vessels are too narrow, causing the blood flow to the heart to be decreased. This can occur due to unhealthy dietary habits, being physically inactive, frequent tobacco use, and excessive use of alcohol. These factors may be due to the rapid globalisation and urbanisation.
However, poverty, stress, and family history of heart diseases can also cause you to have heart diseases.
Heart diseases can be silent in the beginning, but symptoms of heart attack and heart failure can appear later. These symptoms include chest pain, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, extreme fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, fluttering feelings in the chest, swelling of feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, and neck veins. A high blood pressure with a reading of more than 120/80 may indicate a problem of the heart. High blood pressure has two stages: stage 1 with a reading of 130/80 or above, stage 2 with a reading of 140/90 or higher. A reading higher than these two, may indicate a very serious problem, and should be checked. High heart rate is not a reliable sign of heart attack, as heart rate may increases when under stress, having hormonal (thyroid hormone) problem, anemia, due to medication side effect, and under intense physical activity.
Unhealthy dietary habits that may increase the risk of getting cardiovascular disease include excessive intake of saturated and trans-fat from foods like butter, cakes, desserts, pastries, processed meats, deep fried foods, and coffee creamer, and inadequate fiber intake from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eating too much saturated and trans-fat will cause the fat to be deposited to the walls of blood vessels. This will then narrow the space for blood flow. When blood flow to the organs is reduced greatly or completely blocked, the organs will not be able to function normally due to the lack of oxygen supply.
Frequent tobacco use can also increase the number of free radicals circulating in the body. Free radicals are unstable components that will disturb and damage healthy cells in our body. The free radicals can also damage the wall of blood vessels and increase formation of plaque that may block the blood flow.
The reason why honey can help prevent heart diseases is because it contains antioxidant that is known to reduce plaque formation in blood vessels. This will ensure that the blood flow will not be blocked, and oxygen can be supplied continuously to the organs. The antioxidant will also help fight the free radicals that cause this condition in the first place.
While honey can provide antioxidant, black seed is rich in antioxidant called thymoquinone. Thymoquinone is known to suppress or inhibit the fat deposition and accumulation in the heart, therefore the heart functions especially blood flow will not be affected.
A study has even proven that individuals who have high cholesterol in their blood, managed to significantly decrease their triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein also known as bad cholesterol, and they managed to increase their high-density lipoprotein also known as good cholesterol after daily consumption of honey and black seeds for three months.
What’s even better is that honey from El Nahl have naturally existing black seed goodness as the bees directly feed on nectars of black seed flowers, so they produce honey that already contain black seed in it. So, you do not have to worry about the unpleasant taste that the black seed might have as their taste is not very prominent in our honey.
A researcher recommended to take 40 grams or approximately 2 tablespoons of honey daily to produce an effect on heart health.
Apart from incorporating honey in your daily routine, you also have to keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle including good dietary habits and adequate physical activity are necessary to have a healthy heart!
Leborgne, L., Pakala, R., Dilcher, C., Hellinga, D., Seabron, R., Tio, F. O., & Waksman, R. (2005). Effect of Antioxidants on Atherosclerotic Plaque Formation in Balloon- Denuded and Irradiated Hypercholesterolemic Rabbits. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 46(4), 540–547. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.fjc.0000179436.03502.26
Mohamad, S., Ibrahim, N. H. & Yusof, H. (2014). Blood Pressure and Lipid Lowering Effects of Nigella Sativa Seeds and Honey Mixture. Journal of Nursing and Health Science, 3(5), 89-96. 10.9790/1959-03518996
Valavanidis, A., Vlachogianni, T., & Fiotakis, K. (2009). Tobacco Smoke: Involvement of Reactive Oxygen Species and Stable Free Radicals in Mechanisms of Oxidative Damage, Carcinogenesis and Synergistic Effects with Other Respirable Particles. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 6(2), 445–462. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph6020445
Xu, J., Zhu, L., Liu, H., Li, M., Liu, Y., Yang, F., & Pei, Z. (2018). Thymoquinone reduces cardiac damage caused by hypercholesterolemia in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Lipids in Health and Disease, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-018-0829-y