Healthy Hearts Avoiding Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the USA, closely followed by cancer. The national center for disease control (CDC) estimates over 27 million Americans suffer from undiagnosed heart disease. Over 600,000 people die each year from heart disease.

Other statistics:

• Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both American men and women

• Over 1/3 of adults over age 20 have hypertension.

• 1/3 of all deaths related to cardiovascular disease occurred before the age of 75, which is

less than the average life expectancy of 77.9 years.

• 1 in 6 Americans die from coronary heart disease.

• 1/3 of all American children are obese. Obesity can lead to heart disease.

The question is, can we prevent heart disease? The answer is YES, but as most things – it can be simple, but not (always) easy.

The Healthy Heart Lifestyle

Learn more about how to start to incorporate healthy habits into your life – it could save your life.

Eating. We are what we eat. Choosing healthy foods means a healthier body. Eating junk food with low nutritional value means weight gain and inflammation. Choose the following foods for

a healthy heart.

• Color-rich fruits, vegetables, and spices. Colors (blue, red, green, yellow) in plant foods hold the secrete to anti-oxidants. By eating these nutrients in foods, you get a smorgasbord of phytonutrients that act in concert together, creating a stronger defens against inflammatory assaults including toxins, stress, and illnesses. Blueberries, turmeric, and pomegranate are examples of colorful foods and spices.

• Eat fiber – lots of it. If you eat whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can get the fiber you need. Avoid juices as they are full of sugar and low in fiber. You need a minimum of 30 grams of fiber daily.

• Omega 3 Fatty Acids – as found in deep water fish, nuts, and seeds can help reduce inflammation.

• The DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is an easy diet to follow and guides the user in choosing healthy options. If dairy-free, substitute the dairy suggestion with nuts or seeds.

• If you do choose eat some junk food, organic dark chocolate is probably the best choice. This delicacy contains anti-oxidants and magnesium. Remember, although it has health benefits, moderation in consumption is key to health. Limit to 1 or 2 small squares daily.

Breathing. Yes, I know you’ve been breathing since day 1, but are you still belly breathing likean infant? Many of us forget how to do relaxed breathing as an adult. Relaxed belly breathing

can reduce stress, blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia. Practice of relaxed breathing helps to maintain composure during stressful situations. The more we breathe well, the more we create

inner flexibility, allowing our bodies to handle stress more efficiently.

• Yoga. Regular yoga practice, if done with a well-trained yoga instructor can teach you how to breathe while learning inner and outer flexibility.

• Breathing in gratitude. Conscious practice of positive thoughts, including gratitude, helps to increase relaxation and a sense of well being. It is highly beneficial for the cardiovascular system.

• Heart Math. Idaho Naturopathic Medicine is now excited to offer Heart Math. Read more below.

Exercise as a way of life. Our bodies are designed to move regardless of our age. Jack Lalanne (1914- 2011), a fitness guru is an excellent example of remaining fit throughout the lifetime. However, not everyone can devote as much time to exercise as Mr. Lalanne. Jobs that require computer work, or sitting for any length of time robs of us time to move our bodies. It may be hard to find time in the day to exercise, but it is so important to do so no matter how old you are.

• Exercise does not have to include fancy shoes, gym membership, or spandex pants. My latest fun thing is jump roping. A few minutes of this cardio and bone density strengthening work-out gets my heart going and a bunch of laughs as I work on getting my coordination down. A nice jump rope costs~$10. I also enjoy walking in the foothills, and riding my bicycle.

• Walking during your breaks. Walking during work breaks, lunch breaks, or after dinner has circulatory benefits, increase energy, and can keep you mentally sharp.

• A cardiovascular health exercise program should include a ‘cardio’ workout. To determine your target heart rate during exercise, there are numerous programs on the web to help you out. WebMD has an easy to use target heart rate calculator and describes how to measure your pulse.

• Strength training. Using weights helps to regulate blood sugar. Elevated blood sugars contribute to inflammation, elevated triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. A physical trainer can teach you to lift weights properly.