You can start implementing these suggestions at any stage of your life and your body and heart will LOVE you for it! None of this information is rocket science but it includes good reminders for everyone whether you’re a kid or in your 90s or somewhere in between.
Cardiovascular and heart health is a big umbrella and relies upon many components. Our blood pressure, healthy cholesterol levels (yep we need cholesterol – we use it to make other important hormones), triglycerides (fats in our blood), liver health, abdominal weight and our ability to regulate blood sugar are all pieces of the puzzle that need to be considered when it comes to a healthy heart.
More recent research has also shown that inflammation and issues with gut health are super important to address when it comes to looking after your cardiovascular system. These are all things that may be helped with naturopathic suggestions.
But here are the 3 things you can start right here and now…
1. Movement and exercise…..
Only until recently, (in the scheme of things), we have become such stagnant creatures, sitting on our bottoms a lot more than in the past.
But we are designed to move…
Exercise (especially first thing in the morning) helps us to burn unwanted fat and stimulates metabolism helping us be our ideal weight.
Exercise also helps us to balance our blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 Diabetes.
It is also essential for us to process stress hormones that we naturally release everyday as a result of busyness/ life/ work/ relationship stress etc.
If these hormones, adrenalin and cortisol, hang around they have the potential to increase inflammation, make us feel anxious and moody and upset our sleep quality.
Our modern lifestyle no longer involves us walking for miles on a daily basis (fortunately), so we really need to consciously incorporate regular exercise and movement into our week that is right for us.
2. Food Glorious Food….
Yep, you guessed it.. food plays a very important part of this equation because the fuel we put into our body will actually either help US TO HEAL OR cause more trouble, inflammation and disease!
Good fats are a great place to start including essential fats from small oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, grass fed meats, poultry & eggs (which are much higher in Omega 3), avocado & extra virgin olive oil.
A good variety of colourful veggies with ample greens can be enjoyed everyday fresh in salads, steamed or baked – add lemon & extra virgin olive oil to your veggies after cooking to make them even more tastier and help your body absorb and use their protective nutrients.
Fresh unsalted nuts especially walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts and almonds have been shown to help regulate blood sugar, support healthy cholesterol levels, reduce hunger and reduce inflammation.
Enjoy other antioxidant foods such as organic berries, dark organic chocolate and even the occasional glass of dry red wine. Spice up your meals with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich herbs such as turmeric with pepper, ginger, garlic, onions, cinnamon, nutmeg & parsley.
Mmm Mmmmmm……These are all delicious healing foods.
Ok, let’s just get the stuff to keep to a minimum out of the way…..
DO YOUR TEMPLE A FAVOUR and avoid refined sugars & other carbie foods like pasta, noodles, bread, pastries, sweets and even potatoes which can lead to inflammation. Remember that inflammation is bad news for the whole cardiovascular system. Also avoiding processed deli meats, processed fats (like margarine), deep fried foods (hot chips and fried chicken) plus refined seed & vegetable oils is VERY HEART SMART!
3. Take a break…..
From the phone, TV, work, household chores and the things to do list!
Squeeze it in and MAKE IT HAPPEN.
It could be just 10 minutes a day, one, two or three times. Do something purely FOR YOU!
This is not for luxury or laziness, this is to help your body REGAIN BALANCE & HEALTH. Stress is a huge component to heart health. The stress response releases adrenalin and cortisol – leading to more inflammation.
So what is it you LOVE TO DO? Something just for the joy and peace of it.
What literally HEALS YOUR HEART or makes your heart sing?
Perhaps it’s reading, colouring, singing, power napping, dancing, lying on the lawn, meditating, playing with the cat. It’s totally up to you. Create space for this gentle relax and chillax time in your day and know that if taking time out is a new thing for you, you may have to REMIND YOURSELF to make it happen until it becomes a new healthy habit.
Be the healthy YOU!