by Dr. Rebecca Chatfield, Naturopathic Medical Doctor, The Mobile Health Doc
Over the average lifetime, the heart beats 2.5 billion times. A normal healthy heart, typically about the size of a clenched fist, is a strong muscle that pumps an average of 1.5 gallons of blood throughout the body every minute.
Many traditions consider the heart to symbolize the center or “core” of life which is true on a physiological level as well.
The electrical impulses powered by the heart are what sustain breath, brain function, and all necessary bodily activities that define life. The following are some lifestyle tips for maintaining heart health.
Foods high in antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of developing heart disease. They work to deactivate free radicals by binding to oxidants thus preventing damage from occurring. You should aim for 5 to 9 servings daily (coffee bean, citrus fruits, berries, dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, eggs).
Adults should participate in one of the following physical activity durations each week:
- 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (i.e. brisk walking, bicycling, dancing, active yoga).
- 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity (i.e. running, hiking, swimming laps, weight lifting).
- Vitamin D helps with overall inflammation and blood sugar control.
- Vitamin K2 can work in tandem with Vitamin D to help remove built up calcium within the arterial lining.
- Omega 3 fatty acids help improve cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure values.
- Hibiscus tea has actions as a circulation booster and diuretic to reduce blood pressure.
- Hawthorne leaf and berries help strengthen the cardiac muscle to enhance contractions of the heart.
- Garlic aids in lowering cholesterol and enhancing quality of the blood and clotting.
- Mind-Body medicine
Research at Harvard Medical School reveals that those who practice meditation are significantly less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Meditation can help reduce the perception of stress and anxiety; it can lower heart rate, blood pressure and reduce harmful hormones (i.e. cortisol).
The latest science is revealing that heart and vascular health is not necessarily predetermined by genetics alone, but that it is primarily influenced by lifestyle factors. Many are turning to natural treatments to prevent cardiovascular disease.
For assistance in optimizing your heart health, seek out an integrative health care provider.