Posted on by Teri Cochrane
Our hearts carry so much. Everything from the biological matter we need to oxygenate our bodies, to the emotional rhythms that beat out the tempo of our lives.
So... treat ‘em right!
Statistically, our track record for heart health in the U.S. is dismal, to say the least. According to the CDC, in the United States:
- One person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease AND
- Every 40 seconds, an American suffers a heart attack.
I believe that long-lasting heart health begins with the choice to maintain a healthy balance of clean diet, regular exercise and smart supplementation.
Actionable, achievable and actually… pretty fun!
Here are my two cents on how you can take better care of your heart today.
1. Eat Clean, Not Mean
Beyond enjoying a gene-smart Wildatarian diet, here are some foods you may want to highlight to show your heart some extra love:
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a hydrocarbon that has been shown to help lower LDL, also known as bad cholesterol. Tomatoes also contain concentrations of vitamins B and E, antioxidants that are believed to promote optimal heart function.
Beautiful beets are vibrant, red and pure, like blood – which is no coincidence! Loaded with iron and nitrates, these vegetables can help support blood flow and even lower blood pressure. I grab a beet juice from my local juicery once a week and soak in all of the blood-building benefits.
One study showed that 3 servings of berries a week could lower the chance of myocardial infarction by 30%! Blackberries in particular are high in fiber, antioxidant rich and “less cultivated” than other berry species, according to nutritionist Kathleen Johnson. This means that the blackberries we’re eating are closer to the variants that once existed in the wild.
2. Enjoy Heart Smart Exercise
Any form of aerobic exercise will help strengthen your heart by improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. Shake things up and experiment with a mix of cardio-rich exercises such as running, swimming, dancing or jumping rope. There’s something for everyone! I personally like a mix of cardio, weights, floor and core for a full heart healthy and awesome workout.
It may seem simple, but a good long walk once a day has shown to improve heart health by promoting circulation and general aerobic fitness. One of the risks we’re seeing increase as folks work from home is deep vein thrombosis – blood clotting caused by poor circulation (i.e., sitting at a desk for 8-12 hours a day).
Make sure to break up your day by stretching your legs and celebrating the easy, accessible movements your body is capable of. Go for a walk, even in the cold, even for 10 minutes, even around the inside of your house and do it daily. It will make a positive difference.
Exercise that improves flexibility strengthens your musculoskeletal system and can provide relief from joint pain and cramping. Specifically, the inversions involved in yoga ensure that blood is circulating to all parts of the body – yay oxygenation and zen mode as a bonus!
3. Supplement Smart
Low levels of magnesium have been associated with vascular risks including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiac plaques. Supplementing with magnesium can help manage general inflammation, manage blood pressure and maintain healthy muscular function – the heart is, after all, our most hard-working muscle!
An essential amino acid, L-carnitine helps move fats into our mitochondria – the powerhouse of our cells – to produce energy, a vital function for heart health. Studies have also shown L-carnitine to be helpful for increasing oxygenation to the heart and managing strain after a heart attack.
CoQ10 is a coenzyme that acts as an antioxidant, protecting heart cells from damage by free radicals, and is vital for cell turnover and regrowth. This is also an important supplement if you are taking a statin – which depletes CoQ10.
A powerful antioxidant, green tea has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol, or LDL. Rather than taking green tea as an extract, I advise enjoying it the old fashioned way: in your favorite mug as an afternoon pick-me-up.
My personally formulated electrolyte powder Wild-Lytes contains citrulline-rich watermelon, a building block of nitric oxide, vital for cardiovascular function. And electrolyte balance? Absolutely key to the proper muscle functioning of your heart.
This heart-healthy antioxidant is famously found in red wine – but instead of having a nightly glass of wine, you can always supplement smart with a powder or pill form of resveratrol.
Here’s to the heart health and longevity we all deserve!
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