Valentines Day and Heart Month bring to mind chocolate, candies, champagne, romance, right ventricle, left atrium…huh? February is also Heart Month, a chance to reexamine how we treat our hearts and know how important they are.
There are multiple ways to help our heart health which add up to wholeness.
Try a Meatless Monday or a Vegan Weekend or Vegend which incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet by taking away animal products. Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated oils which have a negative impact on our heart’s function. These are prominent in processed foods. Check labels for the most wholesome ingredients which are easy to pronounce and come from nature not a lab. Quick Fix – Eat oily fish like salmon or cod 2-3 times per week. Replace a handful of chips with nuts or berries.
Ha, easy to say – harder to do. While we cannot control other people’s behavior, we can control how we interact and react. Limit or cut your time with toxic people who don’t serve your greater good. Also, make peace with saying no to things you don’t want to do and overcommitting your schedule which will free up time to enjoy the things you like. Quick Fix – Try a deep breathing technique when you feel overwhelmed. Take 5-10 deep breaths while you count to 5 on the inhale and exhale to slow your breathing down. This does wonders for stress which puts strain on your heart.
We know it by now that moving on a daily basis is good. Recent research says that moderate exercise for 10-20 minutes twice per day is just as good as a 30+ minute daily workout. As long as you are raising your heart rate, it works. Try to do something you enjoy like walking, biking, yoga, swimming or dancing to your fave tune. Then it doesn’t feel like a chore. Quick Fix – Do one minute of each of any of these for ten mins: skip, dance, march in place, lunge in place, squat in place, arm circles, sit ups, twist in place, fake hula hoop, jumping jacks or mountain climbers.
Love and Social Circle
Having a sense of community makes you live longer and feel more fulfilled.
Own a pet. Studies show pets reduce blood pressure and cat owners had a 30% reduction in heart attacks according to a Minnesota study.
Live with purpose. Having something to look forward to or helping another person is extremely rewarding. Plan a post COVID trip to see a friend or visit another place. Volunteer or donate money to help a stranger or a homeless pet. Repaint a room in your house a fresh, vibrant or relaxing color. What did you love as a child? Do that! Quick Fix – Forgive. Forgiveness results in empathy and compassion which reduces anger and puts us on path to heart health.
Rock Star Supplements
Most diets are deficient in some type of nutrient. Plus mass production farming reduces soil nutrients so adding a few vitamins is beneficial. What’s good for the heart? Fish oils are proven winners for coronary benefits reducing stroke and lowering triglycerides. L-carnitine transports fats into the mitochondria for energy production and heart function. Magnesium helps cardiovascular function. Low magnesium is related to hardening of arteries and high blood pressure. CoQ10 is in every cell of our body and as we age we make less. Statins reduce CoQ10 as well. Garlic is delicious but has medicinal benefits too. Studies show promising results in treating high blood pressure and heart disease. Quick Fix – Drink green tea which is packed with antioxidants and theanine which helps promote calm.
Since it’s almost Valentines Day, I need to mention this little gem loaded with antioxidants and heart healthy flavanols which increase circulation. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate per day has cardiovascular benefits so enjoy!
Check with your healthcare professional about diet, exercise and supplements.