(Natural News) Exercise is one of the most recommended measures to prevent or curb the risks of cardiovascular disease. Research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicates that long-term intake of fennel can have the same effects as exercise and lead to a healthier heart.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains among the top causes of premature death worldwide – it killed more than 17 million people just in 2015. That exercise can help curb the risks of heart disease is a solidly established fact, and one that is backed by scientific literature. It enhances the flow of blood, both to the heart and the rest of the body and is known to induce angiogenesis or the creation of new blood vessels. Active exercise also increases the levels of vasodilators and nitric oxide, indicating benefits against hypertension, and other bodily chemicals that make the practice effective in controlling chronic conditions like diabetes.
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to reap the benefits of exercise. Compliance remains very low, which contributes to the high percentage of fatalities caused by CVD. For this reason, some researchers are finding ways to induce heart-beneficial angiogenesis using other methods. For this study, the researchers trained their eyes on the fennel or Nigella sativa (NS).
NS is known to scientists for its many health-promoting properties. Previous studies indicated anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, and antilipidemic properties. It has also been shown to have antihypertensive effects, as well as plenty of other heart-friendly benefits.
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The authors wanted to know how long-term administration of NS could remodel coronary circulation and how well it fares compared to the angiogenic properties of exercise.
For their experiment, the researchers took 15 male rats which they divided into three groups. One group of rats was given NS, another was made to exercise, and the last acted as the control group. The first group of animals was given 800 milligrams of NS per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) for a period of eight weeks. The exercise group were placed in a five-lane treadmill and made to exercise regularly.
At the end of the eight-week period, the rats were sacrificed and their hearts were collected. The researchers prepared immunohistological slides to determine the results. These included rat vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), Von Willebrand factor (VWF), and nitric oxide synthase-2 (NOS-2) antibodies (Ab).
In their findings, they noted that both the exercise and NS groups had higher VEGF, indicating capillary growth, compared to the control group. VWF, a protein responsible for enhancing the ability of platelets to stick together and form clots, was also lower in both experimental groups, showing the growth of new blood vessels.
However, only the exercise group showed an increase in PECAM-1 and a decrease in NOS-2 levels, both indicators of angiogenesis.
The researchers concluded that their findings demonstrated that intake of NS could lead to angiogenesis, which could lead to the discovery of new therapeutic strategies for preventing CVD. They recommended future studies examining the specific effect of NS on coronary angiogenesis to confirm their findings.
Health benefits of fennel
Fennel seeds have been used as a spice for a long time, but more than adding fragrance to food, they offer plenty of benefits for the body:
- They help with indigestion and heartburn and can improve halitosis or bad breath.
- They contain compounds that reduce flatulence and expel gas from the stomach.
- They are used as a laxative, which makes them effective against constipation.
- Fennel has been shown to contain chemicals that can protect the body against cancer.
- Fennel contains iron that is valuable for treating anemia.
Learn more about the health benefits of fennel at Remedies.news.