In recognition of American Heart Month, we’re focusing on cardiovascular health in Part 4 of our 4-Part series.
Heart health is both a national and global concern. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. 50% of American adults are impacted by heart disease and 1/3 of adults worldwide have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the most common cause of heart disease-related deaths.
Types of Heart Disease
Heart disease encompasses a wide range of cardiovascular problems. The term cardiovascular disease may be used to refer to heart conditions that specifically affect blood vessels. There are a variety of conditions that fall under the heart disease category.
- Arrhythmia: Abnormal heart rhythm
- Atherosclerosis: Hardening of the arteries
- Cardiomyopathy: Weak heart muscles
- Congenital Heart Defects: Heart birth-defects and irregularities
- Ischemic or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Plaque buildup in arteries
- Heart Infections: Caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites
Causes of Heart Disease
Many medical conditions and lifestyle choices can increase risk for heart disease including:
- Unhealthy Diet
- Lack of Physical Activity
- Excessive Alcohol Use
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, reducing stress can help improve heart health. Stress can cause cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to rise. Cortisol can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Keeping cortisol levels under control can help keep blood pressure under control.
“Stress and anxiety trigger neurocircuitry that was designed to be used sparingly to deal with life-or-death threats, not on a daily basis,” says Lynne Everatt, wellness expert and personal trainer.
To reduce stress, try to get moving and grooving. Try some light, creative forms of exercise like dance, tai chi or yoga to reduce stress and keep your blood circulating.
As stated in the The Power of Dance: Health and Healing study, “Dance may promote wellness by strengthening the immune system through muscular action and physiological processes. Dance conditions an individual to moderate, eliminate, or avoid tension, chronic fatigue, and other disabling conditions that result from the effects of stress.”
You can also try mindfulness tools to reduce anxiety such as journaling or coloring. A Drexel University Art Therapy Study found that 75% of adults had lower cortisol levels after 45 minutes of making collages and doodling on paper using markers. Half of the participants had limited experience making art. Skill level and artistic experience didn’t correlate to the level of the health benefit.
2. Maintain Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against heart disease. Having a solid understanding of the different types of fats stored in the body can help you make more informed lifestyle decisions.
You can monitor your general weight status by using weight and height to compute your “body mass index” (BMI). BMI usually indicates the amount of subcutaneous body fat.
- Normal weight range is a BMI of 18- 24.9.
- Overweight ranges from BMI of 25-29.9
- Obese BMI is 30 or higher
Visceral fat contains 10% of fat cells and are stored deep inside the body, close to vital organs including the liver, stomach, and intestines. Visceral fat can build up in the arteries. Visceral fat cells are developed at birth and can also form during childhood. The fat cells remain constant throughout adulthood. The only way to detect visceral fat is with a CT or MRI scan. Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as “active fat” because it can actively increase the risk of serious health problems.
Harvard Health reports, “Visceral fat makes more of the proteins called cytokines, which can trigger low-level inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease and other chronic conditions. It also produces a precursor to angiotensin, a protein that causes blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise.
3. Follow the DASH Diet
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH Diet is an eating strategy that was created from research funded by NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) . The DASH diet emphasizes eating the right portion sizes and choosing a variety of foods and nutrients.
DASH Eating Plan
- Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Include fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Limit foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
Stephen Juraschek, M.D., at Harvard Medical School, was one of the DASH study’s first authors. He reported, “Our results add to the evidence that dietary interventions can be as effective as – or more effective than – antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals.”
4. Try Supplements to Support Heart Health
If you would like additional support in preventing heart disease, try adding supplements to your heart health routine.
Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient produced in nearly every human cell. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps convert food into energy and protects cells against free radical damage. According to the Cleveland Heart Lab, researchers report that CoQ10 may have significant benefits for people with cardiovascular disease (CVD), from reducing risk for repeat heart attacks and improving outcomes in patients with heart failure to lowering blood pressure and helping combat side effects of cholesterol-lowering statins.
NBHDK7 is a combination of Vitamin D and Vitamin K. Vitamin D3 improves cardiovascular health by supporting immune function, reducing inflammation and balancing blood sugar. It has recently been linked to blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity which affects weight loss.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found abundantly in fish oil, can reduce cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure. Omega-3s also lower triglycerides, which are a type of fat found in blood and are stored as body fat. Lowering triglycerides prevents fatty build-up in the artery walls, decreasing risk of heart attack and stroke.
Contact Natural Bio Health Today
Our team is dedicated to helping you understand the numerous factors that may be preventing optimal health. Learn more about taking control of your health. Join the wellness journey to achieve optimal health, fight disease and boost immune health to combat viruses. Visit naturalbiohealth.com.
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