Aspirin… Good for you, right? Even stop a heart attack in its tracks. You’ve seen the ad.
But not so fast…
Almost every day, one of my patients will ask me if they should take a daily aspirin. And almost every day, I offer the same reply.
I tell them that even baby aspirin is a drug. And drugs are rarely — if ever — health-enhancing.
My advice flies in the face of traditional medicine. For decades, doctors have been advising patients to take a baby aspirin every day to lower their risk of having a heart attack.
But three brand-new studies just published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that following this advice provides no benefits for most healthy adults.1
And can actually cause more harm than good…
In the first study, researchers in Australia and the U.S. followed more than 19,000 people age 65 and older. Half the group were given a low-dose aspirin. The others got a placebo.
After almost five years, there was no difference in either group’s likelihood of having a heart attack. However, those that took a daily aspirin had a much higher risk of developing life-threatening bleeding.
The second study went even further and showed that the risk of major hemorrhaging was significantly higher with aspirin than with a placebo — especially in the brain and gastrointestinal tract. In fact, a majority of aspirin-takers ended up needing a blood transfusion.
The results of the third study found that those who took a daily aspirin had a higher risk of all-cause mortality, including cancer.2
And the negative side effects go on and on. Previous research has linked aspirin overuse to kidney and liver failure, abdominal bleeding, tinnitus, cataracts and stroke. For me, it’s obvious.
While aspirin is fine for an occasional headache, daily use is not recommended.
During my travels, I’ve found natural remedies that work as well as aspirin for protecting your heart health. I’ve also found herbs that relieve headaches.
But there’s one simple spice that does both. You may already have it in your kitchen.
I’m talking about ginger. Taking just a tiny bit every day can give your heart a real boost. That’s because it contains 12 antioxidant compounds more powerful than vitamin E. Antioxidants combat free radicals in your body. And flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in ginger, are especially good for your heart.
One study looked at the dietary flavonoid intake of 1,658 people. Researchers found that those who got the least amount of flavonoids had the highest risk of heart disease.3
Ginger is good for your heart in other ways, too. Research shows it reduces oxidation, which can inflame the lining of your arteries.
In one study, researchers divided 40 participants into two groups. Half were healthy and the other half had a history of coronary artery disease.4
One group took 5 grams of ginger powder each day and the other got a placebo. After four weeks, oxidation had decreased by 18% in the healthy group and 23% in those with a history of heart disease.
Like aspirin, ginger works as a blood thinner. And that means it prevents clots from forming that could lead to heart attack or stroke.
Studies also show that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. It works the same way aspirin does, by blocking COX-2 — the enzyme that promotes inflammation. And inflammation is the leading cause of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
And when it comes to headaches, studies show this old-fashioned remedy relieves pain as well as most painkillers.
Researchers divided migraine sufferers into two groups. Half took 250 mg of ginger. The others got 50 mg of a popular prescription drug for migraines and cluster headaches. Results showed that ginger was just as effective as the drug at achieving 90% relief within two hours.5
If you want to supplement with ginger, look for a capsule that contains 5% gingerols. I recommend starting with a dose of 100 mg a day.
Treat Headaches and Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack with One Simple Spice
|You protect your heart and treat a headache with a delicious cup of ginger tea.
I prefer to use fresh ginger in my cooking. I love its spicy, unique flavor. It adds a real kick to most stir-fries. I also enjoy a cup of ginger tea. Here’s my favorite recipe:
- Boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan.
- Peel a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root and slice it into thin slices.
- Add the ginger to the boiling water.
- Cover it, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste… and enjoy!
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. McNeil J, et al. “Effect of aspirin on disability-free survival in the healthy elderly.” New Eng J Med. 2018 Sep 16.
2. Robman L, et al. “Age-related macular degeneration in a randomized controlled trial of low-dose aspirin: Rationale and study design of the ASPREE-AMD study.” Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2017;6:105-114.
3. Ponzo V, et al. “Dietary flavonoid intake and cardiovascular risk: A population-based cohort study.” J Transl Med. 2015;13:218.
4. Verma SK, et al. “Antioxidant property of ginger in patients with coronary artery disease.” South Asian J Prev Cardiol. 2004;8(4).
5. Maghbooli M, et al. “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.” Phytother Res. 2014;28(3):412-415.
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