Friday, June 4, 2010

Natural Heart Health

Are you looking for a way to care for your heart and cardiovascular system naturally? There are natural means of reducing blood pressure, maintaining healthy arteries and lowering LDL cholesterol. Speaking with your naturopathic and chiropractic physician should be your first step in learning how to help manage these things without drugs, but we will discuss some of the alternative methods here.

Blood Pressure - the number one addition to your natural health care regimen should be to get 200 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. Walking, swimming and other blood pumping activities are a great way to help lower blood pressure, and help the body deal with daily stress.

Secondly, stress should be dealt with and managed. There are many kinds of stress and some stressors are healthy, but emotional stress can have a negative effect on your health.

In addition to regular exercise and the reduction of stress there are several herbs and foods which can help reduce blood pressure, and stress; such as, Hawthorne, Garlic and Resveratrol.

Cholesterol - Eating fatty foods, particularly fried foods, can thicken the blood which increases the risk of cardiovascular concerns such as heart attack and stroke. This is compounded by plaque in the arteries, which narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow. You can see how these two things together can increase your chances of having a heart related problem. Again, diet and exercise play a role in lowering cholesterol. It is also a good idea to evaluate liver health when considering cholesterol levels, since the liver makes most of the cholesterol in our body.

When considering whether your cholesterol levels are within a healthy range you can use this formula. Take your total Cholesterol number and divide it by the HDL number, for example if your total cholesterol is 240 and your HDL cholesterol is 60 then your coronary risk factor is 4. We prefer to see a risk factor of 4 or less in our patients.

Good additions to your diet and nutritional regimen should be Garlic and Onions, along with Bromelain and Hawthorne to help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

Hawthorne has been used since the 17th century for heart health, and may be beneficial not only for the heart but for the kidneys as well. Hawthorne can increase the blood flow to the heart, increase the pumping action and reduce the workload of the heart muscle itself. Resulting in a steady heartbeat, increased performance and increased resistance to oxygen deficiency, such as during times of stress. It also may be used in cases of congestive heart failure. Many people use Hawthorne to relieve chest pain, and it may also help remove plaque buildup in the arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Garlic and Onions are both known to help the liver eliminate fats and cholesterol through the bile. Adding these two things to your diet can help the body naturally reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. These foods may also help reduce blood pressure. Garlic and Onions are best eaten raw or added to the recipe in the last couple minutes to add some flavor, but should stay as raw as possible. In order for Garlic to help it needs to be a regular part of the diet. You may also take a supplement if you do not like the flavor.

Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory, mucous reducer and a digestive enzyme. When taken with meals it helps to digest food. If taken away from meals it is beneficial to the flow of blood through the arteries and reduces inflammation in the body. Bromelain works like a blood thinner, but it does not thin the blood. It actually helps the blood flow better, by keeping it from sticking together. We recommend 2000 mg per day of this supplement when using it for cardiovascular health. It has no side effects and is safe for people of all ages. It is natural and made from pineapples. If you have an allergy to pineapple you should not use it. Essential fatty acids, such as fish oils and flax seed oil are also very effective and anti-inflammatory agents, as is vitamin C.

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant which has been shown to increase the health of the arteries. It has been said to slow down the ageing process, to reverse hardening of the arteries, increase energy, aid the body in processing high fat foods, and reduced blood sugar. Resveratrol supplements need to be processed carefully by a lab so be careful where you purchase it from. We have a product which we use for heart health that contains resveratrol and several other heart healthy nutrients. If you are interested please stop by our office for more information. Its name is Vasculosirt.

CoQ Enzyme 10 is another vital nutrient for heart and artery health. As we age, our bodies lose the ability to make our own CoQ 10. Supplementation is necessary to replace what we are lacking. If you are over 40 this is something you should consider adding to your daily nutrition. Co Q 10 may help with several other conditions such as diabetes and inflammation as well as adding a boost to your immune system.

There are other nutrients and foods that may help with heart health, these are just a few. Please stop by our office for more information on your particular concern. Because each person is different, there is no one size fits all approach to cardiac health.

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