9.5 Part 5

Red Lentils

Red lentils are another ingredient with a high percentage of soluble fibre. This soluble fibre helps remove cholesterol from the gut, reducing the amount that gets absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive tract.

Red Onions

All onions are amazing for you but red onions, in particular, are extra special for the health of the heart. This is because they are particularly high in flavonoids, part of the cocktail of chemistry that gives them their deep purple colour. Again, these will enter the endothelial cells in our vessels, and increase the expression of nitric oxide from endothelial cells, aiding vasodilation and protecting the endothelium from damage.

Red peppers

Red peppers are definitely a favourite heart-healthy ingredient. Their deep red colour is a result of a reasonably high concentration of flavonoids, offering protection to the endothelium, and enhancing vasodilation.

Red wine

And you thought it was all bad news, didn’t you! Red wine consumption has been shown, in dozens of population studies, to be associated with reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, and many of the clinical markers associated with cardiovascular disease risk. It is believed that this is again due to the flavonoid content, and also a compound called resveratrol. Both of these compounds are known to induce vasodilation, have anticoagulant properties, reduce inflammation, and have positive effects upon cholesterol levels. The bad news is only two glasses a day.