Food for Heart Health

Every year heart disease and stroke kill more than all forms of cancer COMBINED. Someone dies every 90 seconds. With these staggering statistics I am sure someone you know and love, or even yourself, has been affected by this. I couldn’t end out Heart Health Month with out talking about food for your heart! This topic is very near and dear to me so I had to stop and think, WHAT can I/we do?  For sure there are things we can’t control, but why not take control of the things we can? Food. Food we can control. What we put in our mouths, we control. Here are some things you should be putting in your mouth.

Healthiest Foods For Your Heart (I hope some of these sound familiar)

  • Fresh Fruit-for their fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Pomegranates prevent hardening of arteries, and may even help reverse plaque build up.
  • Beans/legumes- help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels
  • Fish- Omega-3s lower LDL levels, which helps prevent hardening of arteries.
  • Dark leafy greens- the more bitter, the better. Yes spinach, but also swiss chard, arugula, DANDELION, and mesclun help lower levels of a blood enzyme associated with heart disease.
  • Avocados-the potassium helps regulate heart rhythm and blood pressure
  • Whole Grains-for their fiber and B vitamins
  • Brazil Nuts- for the selenium; a deficiency is linked to heart attacks and destroys free radicals in the heart.
  • Wheat germ and Flax meal-boosts fiber, Vitamin E, and omega 3s essential fatty acids. Enhances effects of anti coagulants.
  • Garlic/Onion- especially red onions lower cholesterol. Cut and let stand for 10 minutes for optimal benefit.
  • Sea Vegetables- necessary minerals
  • Spices and Herbs-Fat is better digested with their antioxidants and phytochemicals. Cinnamon kinda tricks you into thinking it’s sweet without the sugar. Turmeric, the inflammation busting superstar. They can add tons of flavor to any dish!

Nutrients/Supplements to consider

  • Co enzyme Q10-increases oxygenation of heart and has been shown to prevent recurrences in individuals who have had a heart attack.
  • Vitamin C- extremely important as a regulator of high blood pressure
  • Red yeast rice-contains lovastatin which has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels (synthetic lovastatin is often prescribed for this purpose).
  • Vitamin B6 & B12 and Folic acid- needed to keep homocysteine levels in check.
  • Fresh VEGETABLE juices, watch your fresh fruit juice intake.

Eliminate

  • Sodium-all forms. Try to keep below 5 grams per day as a target.
  • read labels and remove products that have ‘soda’ ie: baking soda, diet soda
  • canned vegetables
  • commercially prepared foods
  • foods with preservatives
  • MSG
  • Saccharin (sweet n low)
  • SMOKING
  • Sugar/white flour-produce adverse reactions in all cells causing wide variations in blood sugar.

Considerations

  • If you take a blood thinner, limit Vitamin K- it has a tendency to  increase blood clotting. Foods that contain Vit K include alfalfa, dark green vegetables, cauliflower, and egg yolks. To enhance anticoagulants, eat more wheat germ, Vitamin E and sunflower seeds.
  • Keep your weight down. A low carb diet naturally results in a low glycemic load. Be sure to get most protein and fat from plant sources. High carb diets nearly double chances of heart disease.
  • Instill stress-management techniques. Check out my last post! Your heart is your emotional center. If you like a little woo-woo (I do!)  Place your hand on your heart and connect to your rhythm. Sit with it. Rub rosemary essential oil, mixed with a carrier oil, on your chest over your heart to increase circulation and reduce anxiety.

Depending on how fast you read, someone (maybe more) has died. Scary! Until it touches you personally, you can’t fully understand what a reality check it is. So much of it is preventable with the proper intentions. Talk to your Doctor. Talk to your loved one. Heck, have a nice long talk with yourself. Start thinking about food as a, ‘how can I benefit from you? What am I getting out of this?’ Makes it kinda fun. Hope you learned something, I sure did!

 

Steeping in Wellness,

Tori

 

 

 

Advertisements

Super Easy Banana Muffins

I have a few bananas that are over ripe and ready to be used. Of course I would hate to throw them out, normally what I do is I cut them up put them on a baking sheet and freeze them for future use in smoothies. But this time I thought I’d mix it up a little bit and make banana bread. I didn’t want to just make any banana bread – I wanted something easy! I found a recipe in my newest cookbook, The Wellness Mama Cookbook by Katie Wells who is the creator and blogger of wellnessmama.com. She has great, easy to prepare recipes and I thought I’d try her apple cinnamon muffins. But since I had bananas I  tweaked her recipe to make banana muffins. 

Ingredients

5 Large Eggs

2 Over ripe bananas 

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (softened)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

2. Mix all ingredients together. Blend with immersion blender (whisk attachment) or blender until smooth. 


3. Scoop out 1/3 cup portions of the batter into a greased muffin pan. 

4. Bake for 13 to 18 minutes or until the muffins are starting to brown and aren’t soft to the touch.

5. Let cool and enjoy! Leftovers can be stored in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

I am not a huge baker but this recipe was so easy to follow! It can be adapted with one cup of applesauce in place of the bananas and add 3 tablespoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of honey. These are perfect for breakfast on the run or a good afterschool snack.

Steeped in healthy baking,

Megan 

Four Ways To Nourish Your Heart

Tori here! You may know I am also a Massage/Thai Therapist and continual learner of all things body/mind/spiritual. I thought I would bring forth some Heart centered ideas for your Valentines Day. Take it for what it is worth, I hope you enjoy a little something different.

How ever you feel about today, it’s a great reason to set aside some time and nourish YOU. The most common block of the heart chakra is absence of self-love. Through knowing one’s self we can honor the self that lives in another. So go turn on that diffuser, roll out that mat and settle in.

 

MERIDIANS

Just like water in a river, meridians are where the Qi flows. They are not seen and are not physical structures, yet they are real and present in everybody. They flow lengthwise along your limbs, trunk, and head in channels that were mapped out ages ago. I’ll be giving you some points you will be able to work on yourself. Measurements are refered to as cun (pronounced tsoon). One cun is the width of your thumb. Measurements are proportional to each body. If you work on someone else refer to the size of their thumb. For these purposes I have not delved too deep. The 12 meridians/5 elements are such an overlapping deep subject.

The Heart and Pericardium are the two Yin Meridians of the Fire element; the Heart is the Cardinal fire and Pericardium is considered the Supplemental fire. The Heart Meridian is the commander of the entire Mind-Body, and is typically not worked directly with. We use the Pericardium Meridian to treat and benefit the Heart Meridian. The Pericardium is often referred to as the heart protector. The attributes of passion, expansion, and spreading warmth and light are more attributed to the Cardinal fire. Communication is more attributed to Supplemental Fire.

Think of the Pericardium meridian when you want to support:

  • Cardiac issues
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mental, emotional conditions

The pericardium is a yin meridian, so bring nourishment, quiet, and calm rather than motion and vigor when working with these points. You can gently press using a clockwise rotation, and hold pressure for 30-60 seconds.

Pericardium Points

  • P-6 Nei Guan “Inner Gate”

Use to calm spirit, open the chest, and soothe nausea. This point is the command center of the chest.

Location: 2 cun from the wrist crease toward the elbow on the center line. Try flexing the wrist to find the center tendon. The point is on the inside of the tendon.pc_meridian_6-9

  • P-7 Da Ling “Great Mound”

Use to nourish your heart and calm spirit

Location: center of wrist crease

  • P-8 Lao Gong “Palace of Toil”

Use to calm spirit. This is an important point for practitioners as a place of offering our Qi to another.

Location: make a gentle fist, where the middle finger contacts the palm.

 

4th -Heart- Chakragreen-chakra-300x300

Affirmations

  • I am worthy of love
  • I am loving to myself and others
  • I live in balance with others

Oils:

  • Cedarwood
  • Pine
  • Eucalyptus

 

Yoga Movement: Bow Pose

If you have a movement practice, try adding this pose in following these prompts http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/bow-pose/to help open up the heart. I had the pleasure of practicing with Biz of Sunflower Yoga Therapy.  She has a fabulous self indulgent chakra-based Meditation Yoga class that has been an amazing way for me to move my body post-baby and reconnect to myself.  We used the Avahana Mudra through out class, use it unnamedto cultivate heartfelt acceptance during your next meditation. Doing this simple gesture I found it helpful stay more present in the moment. Biz also had us repeat…

“Through heartfelt acceptance, I open to receive All of life As a learning and a blessing.”

 

Essential Oils to nourish yourself and relatioship

Cinnamon~Oil of Sexual Harmony

Supports reproductive system and helps heal sexual issues. Assists individuals in accepting their body and embracing their physical attractiveness. Dispels fear of rejection and nurtures healthy sexuality. Invites individuals to be honest and vulnerable, thereby allowing true intimacy to emerge. Increases blood flow and circulation.

Geranium~Oil of Love and Trust

Heals a broken heart. Softens Anger and assists in healing emotional wounds. Could be called the “the emotional healer.” Restores confidence in the innate goodness of others and in the world. (Um, Hello)

Peppermint~Oil of a Buoyant Heart

Brings joy to the heart and soul. Reminds us that life can be happy and there is nothing to fear.

Rose~Oil of Divine Love

Rose oil holds the highest frequency of any other oil. It is a powerful healer of the heart.

YlangYlang~Oil of the Inner Child

A powerful remedy for the heart. One of the most powerful essential oil aphrodisiacs. Encourages attraction and supports the circulatory system.

Calming Blend~Oil of Forgiveness

Brings a person more in touch with the qualities of love, openness, and receptivity. Helps heal emotional wounds in the heart so that love may flow more freely. Fosters tenderness and love in every relationship.  Ingredients include lavender, marjoram, roman chamomile, ylang ylang and others.

*Try diffusing or incorporating topically blended with a carrier oil for massage. Thank me later!

 

We, as a society, have connected heart and love to sweet flavors. Hello Valentines chocolate! Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends bitter flavors (kale, parsley, arugula…) to help cool the body and drain excess heat. If someone is suffering from heart disease, they may be better off eating something bitter. In two weeks I’ll expand on heart supporting nutrients/foods to end out Heart Health Month.

Share a sweet hug instead! When you hug someone you are physically connecting, heart to heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day our dear readers!

Steeping in Wellness,

Tori

 

*Information was from these great reads:

Meridian Massage Opening Pathways to Vitality by Cindy Black

Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith

Emotions and Essential Oils by Enlightened Alternative Healing

The Heart of the Matter

As most of you may know, February is Heart Month. Let’s take some time to honor and remember those who have been affected by heart conditions and stroke. As the statistics tell us, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and womenart-picture in the US. These facts amongst many of the others should be enough to motivate and inspire us to take better care of ourselves — so, does it move you?

There are so many approaches to take toward heart health, exercise, healthy fats, preventative health and the scientific, evidence-based list can go on and on. What about the other side of the heart, the feelings part. The part that cares, loves, feels and rejoices. What about the part that shows sympathy, joy or compassion? Although we are all born capable of expressing these feelings, as we are exposed to the influential world, oftentimes these feelings tend to mellow out. How can we cultivate those raw emotions that we were once capable of having? I know for me, I could really use a boost of heart healthy emotions. Here is my idea list so far:

  1. Spend time with the people you love – what friends or family light you up inside?
  2. Volunteer your time – BIG or small this one is limitless
  3. Donate blood – I find this one to be the easiest way to BE A HERO, such a great feeling.
  4. Pay if forward – whether its buying coffee for a stranger at the coffee shop or shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk, how can you make someone’s day that much better?
  5. Teach someone a skill or craft or explore a new skill – what a fun way to learn!
  6. Learn about new cultures, religions, or countries – let’s take down those walls of hate with LOVE.

What ideas do you have to add to the list??

Steeped in Heart Health,

Megan