Let’s look at how a combination of improving diet and exercise and attending to emotional health — can keep your heart beating strong and healthy for your lifetime.
First, the mind-body piece. In the Chinese language, the two pictograms that represent the word “busy” are “killing heart”. Enough said.
There are many ways that we acknowledge the emotional component to heart disease, in phrases such as “his heart was not in it” or “living half-heartedly”. Emotional isolation, loneliness, and lack of social support have been associated with an increased chance of developing heart disease. Taking time each day to appreciate someone or something in a regular practice of gratitude is an ideal way to actively cultivate heart health through emotional awareness.
Incorporating stress reduction techniques, such as meditation or breathing exercises, every day is another way to preserve your heart health. Sometimes when life feels overwhelming and more help is needed, stress-reducing supplements can be very helpful to reduce reactivity to stress. Our Endorphinate, Adrenotone, and StressArrest are all such compounds. Ask us about which one we recommend for you.
Unexpressed negative emotions such as held-in anger and sadness can also be harmful to heart health. Express yourself! Laugh, cry, play. Connect to something higher, through nature, meditation, or spiritual groups. Be part of something bigger than yourself. Belong. Cultivate passion. Live from your heart!
When it comes to diet and exercise, here are some simple guidelines:
- Move your body. We are physical creatures. Movement is life. Find something you enjoy — walking, biking, swimming, the gym. It doesn’t matter. Just do it, and do it most days.
- Eat “close the the ground”. The nearer its natural state, the better the food is for you. Fill your plate with vegetables, both starchy and non-starchy, protein and fruit. Avoid anything that has a list of more than 6 ingredients, especially if you can’t pronounce them!
- Grains are optional, and very over-promoted in our culture. Most people don’t need many grains, especially as they get older. Grains raise insulin, which pushes people towards pre-diabetes and beyond. There is a powerful link between high insulin and high blood sugars, both precursors of diabetes, and heart disease. An exception to this is a vegetarian or vegan who has a healthy metabolism and is not an O Blood Type. (More on this in a future issue.)
- Eat clean: choose organic fruits and veggies wherever possible. . Most importantly, buy grass-fed animal products. The fat created by a grass-fed animal is rich in CLA, which is cardioprotective. The fat in a commercially raised animal is full of the pro-inflammatory fats that cause heart disease. Eat wild fish. Even canned wild fish is better than farm raised fresh. Check out our