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Healthy Habits Are Your Hearts Desire

February Is American Heart Month.  Death from cardiovascular diseases is the most common cause of death worldwide.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) ischemic heart disease is #1 on the top 10 list killing an estimated 16% worldwide followed by #2 Stroke responsible for another 11%.  It is the #1 killer of women over age 65 and diseases of the heart is the #1 cause of death of individuals aged 45-64.  There are many things that affect heart health for better or worse.  The food we eat, exercise we perform, Infections we develop, chronic disease that lead to heart disease such as diabetes, hypertension and the genes we are given are the most common.  It would be great if there was a simple solution, but it’s much more complex.   

Today, I am going to present 2 heart healthy habits and 5 of my favorite heart healthy supplements that I feel are essential to maintaining good vascular health.    


HABIT 1: Exercise  

Daily exercise is essential to achieving healthy blood pressure as it improves the ability of muscle to take up oxygen more efficiently and reduce stress on the heart, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Exercise improves HDL (high-density lipoprotein) the “good” cholesterol and reduces Triglycerides. Having high triglyceride with low HDL is a marker for increased risk of heart attack.  Exercise reduces stress hormones and reduces inflammation.  Aerobic activity with other types of Resistance and stretching/flexibility exercise is all that is needed. Examples: Brisk walk, biking, swimming, free weights, resistance bands, yoga, Tai Chi. Dedicating 30 minutes a day, 5 days/week is ideal. 

HABIT 2: Eat good food 

A heart healthy diet looks like the Mediterranean diet. Strive for a diet that is plant heavy (6-9 servings veggies/day; 2/3 of the plate). Make it colorful with a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, fatty fish like salmon, and healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado oil. Limit or eliminate added sugars and processed foods.  Processed foods are created/manufactured and often have very high sodium, unhealthy fats, cheap vegetable oils, and added sugars in their ingredients. All of these can lead to diabetes and heart disease. 

My pick of supplements essential to a healthy vascular system 

  1. Omega 3 fatty acid: Found in fatty fish, Salmon, Mackerel, Flax seed, and chia seed to name a few.  Essential for healthy cell membrane function. Our bodies do not produce the amount we need so getting it from food is best and supplementing if we cannot get enough through diet. FDA approved for hypertriglyceridemia.  Talk with your practitioner for more details.  

  1. CoQ10: a naturally occurring antioxidant produced in all cells that has a significant role in energy metabolism and protection. It decreases with age and with some prescription medications such as Statins. A deficiency produces low energy levels and increases risk of Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease.  Supplementation can improve cholesterol levels, heart failure symptoms, cardiac surgery outcomes and reduce cardiovascular risk. 

  1. Quercetin: A nutrient – plant pigment, flavonol. It is a powerful antioxidant. It is found in many foods such as grapes, cherries, citrus and onions.  Antioxidants prevent overproduction/excessive amounts of free radicals. Free radicals in excess are associated with a change in enzyme activity in the cell leading to inflammatory and degenerative disorders.   

  1. Magnesium: An essential mineral found in the inner cell membrane. It is necessary for more than 300 enzyme reactions in the body and for the proper function of cell membrane. Most individuals do not have optimal levels of magnesium and find it difficult to obtain enough in food. Natural sources are nuts, seeds, legumes, banana, and avocado. Proper magnesium levels are essential to healthy blood pressure, glucose control and lipid levels. A deficiency increases the risk of ventricular arrhythmia due to associated low potassium, increases inflammatory molecules that increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. 

  1. Folate: Also known as vitamin B9 is obtained naturally from food such as banana, broccoli, nuts/seeds, asparagus, eggs, and lentils to name a few. The synthetic form is Folic Acid. Our bodies do not store B9 so supplementation may be necessary if unable to get enough in diet.  Folate is involved in making DNA and genetic material.  It helps lower blood pressure and is very effective at reducing Homocysteine levels in the body that, if left elevated, can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attacks.  Increased homocysteine increases oxidative stress leading to damage to the lining of the arteries increasing risk of clots.  

Do you need guidance to achieve and maintain a healthy heart lifestyle? Contact Desire Wellness Group today and speak to a practitioner who can provide you with the information and guidance you need to make good dietary changes and appropriate supplementation.  (614) 785-6433 




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