This week we are talking about heart health. A healthy heart is a major factor in leading a longer and healthier life; so it makes sense that we understand how to look after our hearts.
How do I know if my heart is healthy?
The most obvious indications of heart issues are:
- High Blood Pressure. When our blood pressure rises there is increased pressure on the heart. This pressure results in weakened blood vessels.
- High Cholesterol. It is common for high blood pressure and high cholesterol to go hand in hand. Cholesterol is associated with potentially increased levels of plaque in the arteries. The plaque ultimately can block an artery, lead to clots developing or reduce blood flow within our body. The bottom line here is you risk a heart attack or stroke.
Am I likely to get heart disease?
Sadly, heart disease is a major illness in this country and this is because of our lifestyles. Those most at risk:
- Don’t do much exercise
- We lead busy lives often rushing around all the time but this leads to taking easy options like jumping in the car rather than walk. We take the lift rather than climb the stairs. When we do relax it is often in front of the TV with processed foods and high sugar snacks.
- Are overweight
- Obesity has become a major concern in this country. I watched a TV programme recently where all the presenters were slim. Several of the presenters talked about people commenting on their weight as in “are you unwell?” because we have got so used to seeing bigger people it has become our norm. Now a slim person is noticed rather than the overweight person.
- Eat a poor diet loaded with processed foods
- We always advocate a healthy diet to help you lead an enjoyable and healthy life. Unfortunately, there is still a large percentage of our population that make poor food choices.
- Live in a stressful situation
- Having a job you don’t like, being in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, worrying about money or being a carer.
- It is not a revelation to associate smoking with heart disease if all else fails just think of all that tar accumulating in your body. I was shown a cube with the tar from a week’s cigarette smoke in it. It was not a pretty sight so hopefully that thought will make you rethink.
- Drink too much alcohol
- Alcohol is one of our favourite pastimes and in moderation that is fine. Just look out for the feeling that you must have a drink to relax or unwind. Maybe that is your warning that something needs to change.
- Eat a high sugar diet
- We talk about the downsides to sugar regularly. Recent research has associated excessive sugar consumption with heart disease. When we eat too much sugar our body deals with fats differently. The impact of this is we have more fat in both our liver and blood which in turn can be precursors to heart disease.
These are just a few examples of lifestyle choices that create stress for us, there are many more.
How can I help myself?
There are a number of different approaches you can take:
This is an extremely effective antioxidant. As we get older we produce less of it. CoQ10 helps us to generate energy and tackle the impact of oxidative stress – typically we see the impact of oxidative stress through signs of ageing. CoQ10 levels may be compromised through statin use. Many people find it helpful to take a supplement to address this imbalance.
Viridian has put together a CoQ10 combination that uses MCT – medium chain triglycerides. There is encouraging research that indicates MCT’s help our body to produce more good cholesterol and also reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. MCT’s appear to help us manage the risk factors such as weight and inflammation.
One of the active ingredients in Turmeric is associated with reducing inflammation and oxidation. In addition, it supports the lining of our blood vessels. To find out more see our blog on Turmeric!
Regular readers will know how much store we put in maintaining good gut health. Proven have a great product Cardiobiotic which contains Lactobacillus Plantarum and Lactobacillus Reuteri.
Plantarum has been identified in recent research as effective for decreasing the amount of cholesterol that reaches the gut. The product also contains BI which is recognised as contributing to normal function of the heart Antioxidant support comes from the olive leaf included in the product.
These oils are linked with good heart health. Our bodies do not produce them so they need to be part of our diet. Deficiency occurs because people don’t eat enough fish or possibly don’t eat it at all.
The good news is there is help through supplements and specific foods:
- Krill Oil from CleanMarine. This is an excellent product and will help you fulfil your omega 3 requirement.
- EPA/DHA found in oily fish such as:
- If you don’t eat fish:
The other obvious changes you can make are linked to your lifestyle so refer back to the risk factors and see where you can make some changes.
Maybe you can:
- Add some extra exercise in your day – bonus it helps you manage your stress levels.
- Find an alternative to your favourite alcohol or drink it less often?
- Make some dietary changes – if you are overweight a healthy diet will really support you and just watch those pounds fall away!
- Address the challenges in your life and find some positive solutions.
- Have some fun and do more things that you enjoy!
- Read our earlier blog on having a healthy heart.
As ever we hope that you have enjoyed this article and we would love to hear your comments or experiences.