Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Take Care of Your Heart

By Joanne Aponte, ND February 12, 2018

Heart disease (including stroke and heart attack) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. And it is completely preventable!! Start early and take care of your heart.  You will be doing yourself and your family a favor by incorporating some or all of  the below recommendations. Give your heart some more love!

 

  1. Healthy Diet
    • Diet is the most important factor in prevention of heart disease. An ideal diet would be a Mediterranean, plant based diet, heavy on vegetables and fruits. No white food, minimal to no refined foods (that means products in boxes). Not too heavy on meat. Include non-meat protein sources such as beans, legumes and fish on a regular basis.  Good oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Avoid vegetable oils such as canola, corn, soy, peanut, sunflower and safflower – these are associated with more inflammation and increased heart disease. Choose low glycemic whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley. Click here for a link to the traditional Mediterranean diet.
  2. Regular Exercise and Daily Movement
  3. Stress Management
    • Get adequate sleep, rest, have fun, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. All of these help manage stress and decrease heart disease ris

***For more about diet and lifestyle to promote heart health read the blog Love Your Heart

Nourish and strengthen the cardiovascular system with foods and nutrients that love the heart  – foods and nutrients that lower blood pressure, optimize cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and maintain healthy blood vessels are key.

    • Fish oil
      • Lowers blood pressure
      • Lowers triglycerides
      • Slows atherosclerosis (the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls)
      •  Dose: at least 1500mg/day of EPA + DHA
    • Garlic
      • Prevents heart attacks and stroke
      • Slows atherosclerosis
      • Reduces blood triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol
      • Raises “good” HDL cholesterol
      • Lowers blood pressure
      • Eat 2-3 cloves per day or take a supplement. The most effective supplements are made from enteric-coated fresh garlic and provide a total allicin of 4,000 micrograms (mcg)
    • Vitamin K2
      • Populations with high intake of Vitamin K2 have lower rates of heart disease, coronary artery disease and calcification of arteries.
      • Food sources of Vitamin K2 include high-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows, liver and other organs, egg yolks and fermented foods like sauerkraut, natto and miso. If these foods are lacking in your diet it is reasonable to consider supplementing with a K2 supplement that provides a combination of the MK-4 and MK-7 forms of Vitamin K.
    • Green tea
      • Lowers blood pressure
      • Lowers cholesterol
      • Great antioxidant.
      • Drink 2-3 cups/day or take a supplement.
    • Blueberries
      • A great source of antioxidants called polyphenols
      • Freeze-dried blueberry powder taken daily was shown in one study to reduce blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Other research has shown blueberry powder to improve arterial stiffness (another risk factor of cardiovascular disease).
      • Consume blueberries regularly either in freeze dried form or 1 cup per day of fresh or frozen .
    • CoQ10
      • Excellent antioxidant and essential for heart health. It is needed for all the energy cells in our body, especially the heart . The heart has a very high demand for energy in order to keep it beating all day long.
      • Prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol (oxidation of LDL cholesterol is what makes cholesterol  so dangerous)
      • Shown in studies to reduce risk of death in heart attack patients as well as benefit patients in cardiac failure.
      • Essential to take if you are on a statin medication to lower cholesterol as these drugs interfere with your body’s ability to make coQ10.
      • Typical dose: 100-200mg/day

 

 

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


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