February is American Heart Month, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So why not make a date with yourself this month to reduce your risk of America’s #1 killer─heart disease? Actually, the term cardiovascular disease refers to multiple heart and blood vessel disorders, according to the American Heart Association.
Cardiovascular disease is linked to numerous problems─many of which are related to atherosclerosis, which results from plaque accumulation in your artery walls. This waxy buildup narrows these passages, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can arrest the blood flow, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. But you should know that most of this is preventable!
Tips to Keep Heart Healthy
These smart, natural tactics can help:
Find out if you have high cholesterol and/or blood pressure, both of which play major roles in cardiovascular disease. If you face these issues, you might consider natural solutions before taking statin drugs or beta blockers, which can have undesirable side effects─including the depletion of CoQ10.(1) This antioxidant plays a crucial role in generating cellular energy, boosting immunity, promoting healthy circulation, reducing blood pressure, and much more.(2) Refer our post on “5 Important Reasons to Supplement CoQ10“
Cardiovascular disease has reached a level where obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are now commonplace─even in children. Overwhelming evidence from a cascade of studies links cardiovascular disease to physical inactivity and poor diet.(3) We all need to engage in some type of moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, 4-6 days/week. There’s simply no way to a healthy, naturally energized life without moving our bodies.
If you smoke, you need to quit. Granted, that’s no small feat, especially since it’s both a physical and a behavioral addiction. But there are more tools and support available now than ever before. Meanwhile, please don’t impose hazardous second hand smoke on others, as it is a significant cause of lung cancer and heart disease among non-smokers.(4) Other research points to numerous avoidable deaths per year from lung cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke collectively due to second hand smoke.(5)
Target a diet rich in smart foods like whey protein─make sure it’s free of rBGH, and other hormones/antibiotics─safe, clean seafood, hormone/pesticide-free meats, beans and legumes, eggs, lean dairy/soy products, fresh produce, and 100% whole grains. Scaling back on sodium will help prevent hypertension. The worst “salt bombs” are typically bread/rolls, cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, cheeseburgers, cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, chips and pretzels, etc. Also, restaurant food has the highest per-calorie dietary sodium.
Get the Plant Sterol Edge
Supplement phytosterols, plant-based, cholesterol-like molecules that help reduce cholesterol absorption. In fact, 2 grams per day can safely reduce cholesterol by 10%.(6) Another study noted that while plant sterols clearly lower plasma cholesterol levels, they appear to have anti-inflammatory effects as well. Given that chronic inflammation is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, this makes plant sterols an especially powerful heart-health ally.(7)
Nothing too difficult here, nor expensive, though the benefits could be priceless. Hope you’ll love this tips for a heart Healthy Valentine’s.
Happy, healthy Valentine’s Day!
1 Diabetes Care. 2009 May;32(5):810-2. Epub 2009 Feb 19.
2 Mol Aspects Med. 1994;15 Suppl:S265-72.
3 J Appl Physiol. 2005 Jan;98(1):3-30.
4 Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2008 Sep;5(3):125-9
5 N Z Med J. 2002 Nov 8;115(1165):U240.
6 Curr Opin Lipidol. 2004 Feb;15(1):37-41
7 Nutr Rev. 2011 Jul;69(7):371-82