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.
- 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
- Saccharin (sweet n low)
- Sugar/white flour-produce adverse reactions in all cells causing wide variations in blood sugar.
- 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,