Natural Anti-inflammatories that Won’t Hurt Your Heart

hh-15.jpgOne of the biggest concerns in recent years for people with heart disease was the news that the third largest class of drugs, pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis, were taken off the market because they were found to cause heart attacks. Where does this leave those with heart problems who also suffer from the pain of arthritis? There are effective, natural alternatives for pain and inflammation that also support heart health

Those at risk for heart attacks and those who suffer from arthritis pain know about ‘Cox 2 inhibitors’ — the anti-inflammatory drugs withdrawn from the market after the manufacturers admitted that they doubled the risk of heart attacks. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, were given to alleviate the joint pain of arthritis. Unfortunately, they caused a number of fatal heart attacks before being taken off the market. Risking a heart attack isn’t good, but where does this leave arthritis sufferers?

There are natural substances that can help to reduce inflammation while improving heart function instead of hindering it.

  • Fish oils are still number one for alleviating inflammation throughout the body. Omega-3 fats like EPA and DHA can reduce pain in the joints, render immune system support, increase our good HDL cholesterol and lower our risk of heart disease, all at the same time.
  • Evening primrose oil is filled with GLA, one of the few omega-6 fatty acids that inhibit inflammation. It is especially useful for chronic arthritis pain. It works through different biochemical pathways than omega-3 fats, but is also good for the heart.
  • Boswellia is an herb that contains boswellic acid, a strong anti-inflammatory that even works for rheumatoid arthritis, reducing the swelling along with the pain.
  • Ginger is well known in both Indian and Asian cooking. Besides being delicious, it is highly medicinal. It aids digestion, eases inflammation throughout the body and mildly stimulates the heart. You can take ginger in capsules or use the fresh root in foods.
  • Vitamin C serves many functions, including immune support and building strong connective tissue (to heal arthritic joints). It also reduces arterial plaques and acts as a mild anti-inflammatory.

A major indicator of heart disease (much more accurate than cholesterol levels) is the amount of ‘C-reactive protein’ (CRP) in your blood. A high level of CRP is indicative of higher risk for cardiovascular diseases and increased risk of heart attacks. Those who are physically fit have better heart health and low CRP, while the least fit have elevated CRP. California researchers found that people who took at least 500 mg of vitamin C every day dropped their CRP levels significantly and had less heart disease.

Interestingly, people who have feelings of anger, hostility or depression have 2 to 3 times the amount of CRP in their blood than their mellower peers, indicating high risk for inflammation and heart disease, so calm down, relax, and take supplements that reduce inflammation while lowering your risk for heart disease.

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