February is the month for love. Not only is it a time to show your appreciation for those you love, it’s also heart awareness month. Be sure to show some love to your heart since it’s the only one you have!
For me, heart issues run in my family. One of my grandpa’s had multiple open heart surgeries throughout his life. He actually lived longer than his parents and siblings. He ultimately died of a major heart attack at the age of 70. If my grandpa would have known some of the things that we know today when it comes to diet, he might have lived longer. Unfortunately, what they used to recommend for a healthy heart diet years ago, we now know actually causes issues instead of fixes them. My other grandpa had heart failure and had a pace maker put in when he was in his 80’s. He died at age 89. I hope I favor that grandpa over the other:).
My mom has had her share of heart issues during this past year. She has always struggled with high blood pressure, but this year she also had the experience of having a stent put in. She was in the hospital for her high blood pressure when they found out she had an artery blocked over 95%. So her trip to the hospital was a blessing in disguise. She had the stent put in without any complications.
During my health journey, I’ve also experienced issues with my heart. Honestly, I’m amazed it’s still beating after all it’s been through over the past 9 years! It definitely lets me know when it isn’t happy, whether it’s by the chest pains I encounter, or the rapid heart rate. With heart problems running in my family and already experiencing some of my own heart issues, heart health is important to me. Keep reading for some healthy heart suggestions.
What Contributes to an Unhappy Heart?
Many things can contribute to heart health; however, inflammation is a main culprit. Inflammation can come from many different sources, especially from our diet, stress, toxins or infections. After learning how gluten can lead to inflammation, my mom eliminated it from her diet. She has definitely noticed an improvement after removing it. She also limited the amount of sugar she consumes after learning how sugar impacts inflammation. So by making certain changes to her diet and increasing the amount of time she exercises, she has been able to control her blood pressure better.
This past year, I learned first hand how oral health can impact heart health. I had a gum infection which was causing me chest pains and rapid heart rate. My gut has also contributed to inflammation. I eat a healthy and mostly organic diet. I also try to stay away from sugar and most grains. However, healing my gut has been a constant battle due to the world we live in with glyphosate and other chemicals being used on so many of our foods. I’ve had chest, shoulder, and back pains because my gut was compromised. I can also see the inflammation when my stomach bloats up after I eat something that wasn’t organic.
Stress can also create inflammation. I’m a poster child for how stress can negatively impact you. Believe me, if you don’t handle stress well, you need to learn how to. I have seen stress wreak havoc on my body and limit my body’s ability to heal.
Want a Healthy Heart? Try These Suggestions
In addition to addressing the items I mentioned above which can contribute to inflammation, here are some healthy heart tips from Dr. Joseph Mercola. Also, click here for some healthy food suggestions from Dr. Josh Axe.
- Avoid processed foods. Eat REAL food, ideally organic and local.
- When eating meat, opt for grass-fed, pastured varieties, raised according to organic standards. When it comes to meat protein, limit your protein intake to one half gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass (which is about 40 to 70 grams for most people).
- Eliminate no-fat and low-fat foods. Increase your consumption of healthy fats, such as avocados and coconut.
- Optimize your Vitamin D levels.
- Optimize your gut health.
- “Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly.”
- Exercise regularly.
- Pay attention to your oral health.
- “Avoid statins, as the side effects of these drugs are numerous, while the benefits are debatable. If you are taking statins for any reason it is imperative to take Coenzyme Q10. I believe the best is the reduced form called Ubiquinol.”
For more information to help you have a healthy heart, I recommend the Healthy Heart Summit. During this online summit, you can listen in as 30 doctors and experts discuss ways to prevent and reverse cardiovascular events. It will provide you the most current information about avoiding (and recognizing the signs) of heart disease.
This month I challenge you to begin doing a new healthy heart behavior. Wishing all of you a Happy Heart month!
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