Do you give much thought to your
heart health? What about the aspects of your
lifestyle that contribute to it functioning properly?
Did you know that the heart pumps 24 hours a day at an average rate of around 70 beats per minute? That equates to two and a half billion times in an average lifetime of 75 years. On a daily basis those 70 beats per minute pump about 8 000 litres of blood through the 60 000 kilometres of tubing. The blood has to reach the 300 trillion odd cells that we have in our bodies.
Most people forget about their hearts while adopting a "it'll never happen to me" attitude. That is until a problem arises. Then it's could be too late to do anything and everything possible to get your heart healthy and working optimally again.
Cardiovascular disease is a condition with multiple causes and a sure indicator of heart health gone wrong.
Some causes include a large percentage of bad lifestyle choices (diet, stress, weight management, lack of exercise):
- Nutritional deficiencies and/or excess of anti-nutrients (sugar, processed foods, saturated fat, etc.)
- Excess stress causing an over production of the stress hormones (adrenalin, noradrenalin, cortisol)
- Excess production of free radical cells
- The release of inflammatory cells (cytokines) in response to all of the above
Heart Health DietThe most successful therapy, or lifestyle modification, for the prevention of heart disease and improving of heart health is dietary modification.
- Reduce calorie intake; eat small meals more regularly
- Remove, or at least reduce, saturated and hydrogenated fats from the diet
- Reduce animal protein (meat, dairy, chicken)
- Avoid excessive consumption of refined food
- Avoid excessive sugar intake
- Avoid excessive caffeine intake
- Avoid processed and fast foods
- Increase consumption of plant protein (beans, nuts, seeds, legumes)
- Increase intake of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
- Increase your consumption of Super Foods
Thirty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc.) three times a week is considered sufficient to assist the cardiovascular system and to help manage weight.
Rest and relaxation
Between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is necessary (if you are not getting sufficient rest consider stress management protocols).
With adequate dietary management and exercise (and willingness) this can be accomplished.
Excellent Nutrients and Herbs For Heart Health
- Co-Enzyme Q10 is the most important nutrient for heart muscle function
- Caritine and Co-enzyme Q10 are essential nutrients allowing the mitochondria of the heart cells to produce energy
- Magnesium relaxes the smooth muscle. It is a vasodilator and decreases the risk of irregular heartbeat.
- Vitamin E decreases platelet adhesiveness and aggregation. It is a good antioxidant.
- Vitamin C is important for the integrity of the cardiovascular system.
- Omega 3 / fish oils are useful in the prevention of coronary heart disease.
- Flavonoids are plant pigments found in fruit and vegetables. They decrease capillary fragility, improve the tone of vascular smooth muscle, decrease the incidence of ventricular tachycardia and have an antioxidant effect on the heart.
- L-arginine is a precursor required for the production of nitric oxide - a potent vasodilator in the vascular system. It has a protective effect on the endothelium.
- Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid are inversely associated with levels of homocysteine, which is an important risk factor for heart disease.
- Hawthorn/craetagus is a most important herb in the treatment of heart failure and irregular heartbeat.
- Crushed Garlic has an anti-sclerotic effect, and decreases platelet aggregation.
- Digitalis is an important herb still used by medical doctors to treat a variety of heart problems. It should not be used without a doctor's prescription as it has serious side-effects.
- Nattokinase is a natural anti-coagulant.
- GABA and L-theanine are good for stress control and can be used safely in heart disease.
- Chelation therapy is now available in easy-to-take oral form or suppository for removing deposits in the coronary vessels.