Did you know that the leading cause of death in North America is heart disease? The heart is responsible for pumping ~6L of blood around the body every minute and beats over 100,000 times per day! Because the heart has such an important job, it is important to look after it with good nutrition and lifestyle. Below are some of the best ways to boost your heart health.
Proper nutrition is an important facet in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Diets high in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, berries, green tea, fatty fish, nuts and seeds are very nourishing for the heart. It is also important to avoid trans fats, as well as excessive amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, alcohol, and animal fats. A heart-healthy diet plays a critical role in protecting the heart from disease.
In some cases, supplementing with certain nutrients may be helpful to ensure that the heart is functioning optimally. Extra mitochondrial support with the nutrients alpha-lipoic acid, L-carnitine, D-ribose, and CoQ10 may be beneficial. Magnesium, selenium, and vitamin C are also important nutrients for good cardiovascular function. These nutrients enhance the production of cellular energy, which supports heart muscle contraction. Speak to your naturopathic doctor to see if any of these treatment options are right for you.
In addition to a healthy diet, there are several ways to care for your heart through lifestyle modifications. First, exercise! The best way to exercise your heart is to work out several times a week. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you are moving. It is also very important to stop smoking if you are currently a smoker. Smoking increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels due to fatty deposits called plaques. Atherosclerosis can increase the chance of heart attack, stroke and even death. Finally, stress management is important to help prevent heart disease. Yoga, meditation, qi gong, tai chi, spending time with friends and family, and being creative are all excellent ways to reduce stress.