Bergamot is a yellowish-green citrus fruit from southern Italy. Much like an orange, bergamots have juicy, pulpy fruit on the inside with a thick, slightly oily peel on the outside. The fruit itself is known to be sour, but its juice, oil, and peel have been used for centuries in folk medicine and aromatic teas like Earl Grey. Today, the bergamot fruit has become valued for its health benefits, and bergamot extract is a popular ingredient in supplements, pills, tinctures, and juices. In particular, bergamot is believed to support cardiovascular health.
1. Lowers Cholesterol Naturally
Multiple research studies suggest that supplementing with citrus bergamot can significantly lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. This may be attributed to certain flavonoids in bergamot that are able to bind to enzymes that produce cholesterol, which then reduces cholesterol production.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can eventually result in serious illnesses like heart disease. According to animal studies, bergamot supplements can help reduce inflammation and potentially mitigate any future illnesses. Scientists theorize this may be due to bergamot’s ability to boost the body’s natural defenses or its propensity for stopping inflammation-causing elements from damaging bodily cells.
3. Protects Arteries
Bergamot supplements are high in polyphenols, which are plant-based compounds with numerous health benefits. One of these benefits is the reduction of free-radical damage in the arteries surrounding the heart. The cells lining the arterial wall play important roles in managing blood pressure, producing red blood cells, blood clotting, and more. When the arteries are protected and healthy, the heart stays functional for longer.
4. Treats Metabolic Syndrome
Bergamot supplementation is an all-natural intervention for people with or at risk for developing metabolic syndrome. Bergamot’s chemical composition triggers the production of the AMP-activated protein kinase, which helps the body process glucose more efficiently. This subsequently manages blood sugar levels, treats insulin resistance, raises energy levels, and ultimately makes it easier for an overweight individual to lose weight.
Other Health Benefits
The other health benefits of bergamot supplements include reduced anxiety, heightened mental clarity, and reduced pain. Bergamot oil can also be applied topically to treat lice, psoriasis, and vitiligo. When pressed into an oil, the aromatic nature of bergamot makes it an aromatherapy staple.
Bergamot for Skin
Bergamot essential oil has natural anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it can be combined with a moisturizing carrier oil to spot-treat skin blemishes, cysts, and blackheads without using harsh, skin-stripping chemicals. It can also be mixed into a gentle cleanser for a performance boost. When using bergamot essential oil, it’s important to remember not to apply it full-strength to the skin. Instead, you must dilute it with a neutral carrier oil, such as coconut, sunflower, or olive oil.
Bergamot for Hair
Bergamot essential oil can help soften dry hair, soothe an irritated scalp, reduce dandruff, and scent the hair with a natural, uplifting fragrance. To achieve this, you can add a few drops of bergamot oil to your shampoo or mix it with carrier oil to massage your scalp.
For heart health, a supplementary dose of 500-1,000 mg is recommended once or twice daily. To gain the full benefits, taking the supplement on a near-empty stomach, such as thirty minutes before or one hour after a meal is recommended. If you are interested in bergamot supplements for your cholesterol, evaluate your baseline lipid levels, then take a bergamot supplement for one to three months and reevaluate your levels to see if your body responds to the treatment.
Bergamot can also be consumed in teas or as a cooking oil. Compared to supplements, pills, and capsules, bergamot tea or cooking oil aren’t as easy to measure for dosing. However, you can reap the same benefits with teas and cooking oil if you also follow a nutritious diet and exercise regularly.
Citrus bergamot is all-natural and scientifically shown to support cardiovascular health with very little risk. Always consult your doctor before adding any new supplements to your wellness plan, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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