Stress Relief and Nutritional Tips to Benefit Your Heart

reduce stressIt’s Heart Month. Time to love your heart and keep it healthy the whole year through! For both men and women, cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in North America; it’s time to knock it down to size (0)!  The following tips can not only benefit your heart but also can enhance function to many parts of your body!

Reduce Stress: Unmanaged stress can cause high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, damage to your arteries, higher cholesterol levels, and the development of coronary heart disease. When stressed, people often turn to harmful habits to reduce their stress, such as cigarette smoking, overeating, and use of drugs or over-use of alcohol. All of these factors put you at additional risk for heart disease and stroke.

Gain Control and Discover Ways to Soothe Stress

  • Accept the fact that you can’t change certain situations.
  • Carve out time each day to relax; take some deep breaths to get calm.
  • Notice when you develop negative thinking; praise yourself for a job well done.
  • Take charge of your schedule; don’t overcommit.
  • Go to sleep earlier
  • To reduce inflammation in your cells, drop the junk food habit – chips, candy bars, donuts, white flour products, and aspartame.
  • Get a physical check-up. Ask for a homocysteine test (a measure of a particular protein in the blood that can be harmful for heart health).

Exercise: Dr. Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge stated: “Exercise strengthens the entire human machine — the heart, the brain, the blood vessels, the bones, the muscles. The most important thing you can do for your long-term health is to lead an active life.” Time to get up and move! Walk a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes four times a week to exercise your heart muscle and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Food and Nutrients for the Heart

Vitamin C supports healthy adrenal function; the adrenal glands assists with stress.  Vegetables and fruits (and Vitamin C supplements) provide vitamin C. Data reported from the INTERHEART study, comprising dietary patterns from 52 countries, revealed a significant association between the dietary pattern high in fruits and vegetables, and lower incidence of acute heart attack. Berries are top performers.

B Vitamins are essential for proper nervous system function. Dietary sources include legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), whole grains, seeds, and nuts. (They also lower homocysteine levels).

Magnesium deficiencies can trigger irritability and fatigue. This mineral helps relieve insomnia and constipation and relaxes muscles, even your heart muscle. Soak in a warm tub of water with one or two cups of Epsom Salts, for 15 or 20 minutes before bed. Magnesium uptake to the cells will result in a comforting feeling of relaxation and give rise to improved sleep. Magnesium-rich foods include tofu, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids lower blood fats called triglycerides and aid brain health. You’ll obtain the highest amounts of Omega-3s in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. Consume fish at least twice a week. Incorporate ground flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, or use a high quality Omega-3 fish oil supplement into your nourishing diet.

CoQ10: Co-Enzyme Q10 (already inherent in your body) acts as a powerful antioxidant. In Pharmacology & Therapeutics Journal, 2009, CoQ10 was found to assume importance in cells with high energy requirements like the cardiac cells which are extremely sensitive to CoQ10 deficiency produced by cardiac diseases. CoQ10 inhibits LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation and thus the progression of heart disease. It also eases diabetes and vertigo (dizziness).

Visit Your Dentist: Recent research demonstrates that brushing and confiscating food from between your teeth will benefit not only your smile and breath, but also your heart! It has been suggested in studies such as the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 2004, that several types of cardiovascular diseases may be connected to poor oral health.

Laugh and enjoy life with those you love – the very best medicine of all.