February: Heart Health Month
February is Heart Health Month. Cardiovascular Disease is a general term for heart attacks, strokes, and all other disorders of the heart and the blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease or CVD is the leading health issue in the Western World. This blog posting will be an overview at the behaviors, diets, nutrients, and herbs beneficial for the most important muscle in our body.
There are numerous causes for major heart health issues that can arise in a person’s life. If you have someone in your family with high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat, or any other cardiovascular abnormality then it is always worth having yourself checked by a doctor for similar disorders. Also, smoking, obesity, poor diet, and diabetes are major risk factors for Cardiovascular problems. Below is the American Heart Association’s list of Heart Attack and Stroke Signs.
Heart Attack Signs in Men
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Heart Attack Signs in Women
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Stroke Warning Signs
Face Dropping: Does one side of the face droop or is it dumb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty: Is the speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like “The sky is blue.” Is the person able to correctly repeat the words?
Time to call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1.
Additional Stroke Symptoms
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg. Especially, on one side of the body.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
For more info visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
Reduce stress. Stress, Anxiety, and depression can all impact our health seriously. It is important to practice stress reduction techniques.
Exercise. Actively keeping weight down. Those who exercise regularly or have started keeping their weight down saw an average of 18%-21% decrease in blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease. Obesity and Diabetes are risk factors for heart attacks and high blood pressure.
Drink enough water. Women who drink adequate amounts of water everyday have a 35% lower risk of heart disease, and men have a 51% lowered risk of heart disease.
Much of the information concerning the important nutrients and herb essential for Cardiovascular for heart health can be found in the book by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies, Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, and Food Supplements. This reference book can be used for identifying and utilizing the vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs essential to all health. It is also for sale at Eureka Natural Foods. Other information can be found on the American Heart Association’s website http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/. Also, https://draxe.com/ and https://www.livestrong.com/.
The number one heart healthy diet in use today is the Mediterranean diet. As discussed in the last Eureka Natural Foods Wellness podcast, the Mediterranean diet has been prescribed by various doctors for heart health. The diet involves high intake of produce, nuts, healthy oils (avocado and olive oil), beans, legumes, grains, fish and seafood, with moderate dairy and poultry. This eating pattern has many benefits and when paired with healthy calorie restriction and exercise, it is a great way to get to better heart health and lose weight at once!
High fiber is also important for heart health. The average Westerner does not consume enough dietary fiber to maintain good health so it is even more important for those with health issues. A study showed that an increased fiber intake and proper fiber intake can reduce your chance for heart disease by 30%. The top 10 best foods for heart health include: fresh fruits, beans and legumes, fish, dark leafy greens, avocados, whole grains, nuts, soy foods, spices, herbs, wheat germ, and flax meal. An 8 years study involving 40,000 men who ate 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day achieved a 39% lowered risk of stroke. B rich vitamin foods are also pertinent: beef liver, Sardines, Atlantic Mackerel, Lamb, Wild-caught Salmon, Nutritional Yeast, Feta Cheese, Grass-fed beef, Cottage Cheese, eggs, and dark leafy greens. As I’m sure we’re all aware, red meat is not conducive to heart health, so please stick to options like fish and vegetable sources. Other beneficial and notable foods are almonds, Brewer’s yeast, grains, sesame seeds, red onions, kelp, and sea vegetables. Now for the foods that one trying to achieve heart health should remove from their diet: red meat, salt, sugars, white flour, fried foods, coffee, black tea, soda, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, chocolate, processed or refined foods. Vitamin E rich foods improve circulation, these include: sunflowers seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, Wheat Germ, mangos, avocados, butternut squash, broccoli, spinach, kiwis, and tomatoes. While the Mediterranean diet and other healthy options stress a low-fat diet, it is important to note that helpful fats, such as fatty acids found in fish and olive oil are beneficial, though unhealthy fats should be restricted or eliminated. As a side note on sodium, it is helpful to keep sodium consumption per day under 5 grams.
The following links are to great heart healthy recipes!
Now for the nutrients!
Carnitine, CoQ10, Omega-3, Magnesium, and antioxidants are great nutrients for cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, and angina.
Heart Rhythm Regulation: Alfalfa, Borage, Nettle and Pau D’Arco
Magnesium, while still constantly being studied has been shown to help or even correct some forms of irregular heartbeat.
Strengthen Heart Muscle: Butcher’s Broom, Hawthorn berries and leaf, and Motherwort, Cayenne, Ginger root, Gingko Biloba
Helpful for Chest Pain: Cayenne, Ginger Root, Gingko biloba
Cordyceps: can slow heart rate, increase blood supply to arteries and heart, lower blood pressure,
Hawthorn, berries and leaves especially, increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure. This can be found in a number of cardiovascular health related supplements.
Studies show a 15% decrease in the risk for cardiovascular disease in those who supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Omega-3 can also decrease triglyceride levels, blood clots, improve arterial health, lower blood pressure, increase HDL, as well as lowering the risk of sudden death. It is also vital for depression.
Testosterone deficiency can also lead to some cardiovascular health issues. Herbs that can naturally increase testosterone levels are Passionflower and Nettle Root.
Garlic and Onions have the ability to reduce serum cholesterol levels.
Selenium supplementaing showed a 15%-57% decrease in risk for heart disease.
CoQ10 40% reduction in leg pain caused by statin medications. CoQ10 is good to take with red yeast rice or other cholesterol lowering regiment or medication. CoQ10 also increases oxygenation of the heart tissue and can decrease heart attack recurrences.
Grapeseed’s OPC’s or Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins are antioxidant compounds that may lower high blood pressure.
Lycopene, an antioxidant from tomatoes (gives them their red color), has been shown to lower systolic and diastolic rate
Gingko biloba has also been shown to prevent the formation of free radicals, although it is not to be taken if you have a bleeding disorder and/or are on blood thinners. It can also improve circulation, increase blood oxygen levels, and increase blood flow to the arms, brain, and hearts.
Arteriosclerosis, or the buildup of deposits in the artery walls and the subsequent hardening, is helped by Cayenne, Chickweed, and Hawthorn berries.
Green Tea can lower cholesterol and lipid levels, although it is not to be used with anticoagulants, as Green Tea has a naturally high Vitamin K content.
Red Yeast Rice
A few Questions?
It is important to know what medications you are on and what you can and can’t take as supplements or herbs with these medications. Vitamin K is a major nutrient that cannot be taken and several Cardiovascular medications, did you know that? If you are unsure, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
You should also know what you are allergic to. This helps let you know more about the herbs you may be wanting to try to increase your heart health.
Lastly! Below are a few supplement options we carry here at Eureka Natural Foods that help with Cardiovascular Health.
Eureka Natural Foods CoQ10 As noted above, CoQ10 has numerous beneficial effects for Cardiovascular Health.
Kyolic Garlic Garlic has the ability to reduce cholesterol serum levels. Kyolic is a specialty aged garlic formula. It also is beneficial for the oxygenation of the heart tissue. Kyolic also has blends with other nutrients and herbs supportive to cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and blood pressure health.
Nordic Naturals Omega LDL This product features not only the very important Omega-3 nutrients, but also Red Yeast Rice for lowering cholesterol and CoQ10.
Emerald Laboratories Blood Pressure This blend includes a number of helpful ingredients that have been previously discussed.
Gaia Turmeric Supreme Heart On top of the Turmeric, which is great for inflammation, pain and the elimination of free radicals, this herbal blend has the wonderful Hawthorn berries, Resveratrol, and Ginger root.
Please check out the new Eureka Natural Foods Wellness Podcast! We will be discussing a variety of topics throughout the year. Check back soon for new episodes and new informational posts like this!
HAPPY 2018! To a healthier year and a healthier you!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors. We cannot diagnose, prescribe, or recommend anything. If you are thinking of making major lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor or Naturopathic doctor. Statements made here have not been verified by the FDA.