Healthy Heart, HEALTHY YOU
Hearts work hard. To give them the tender loving care they need to stay strong and healthy, small changes in habits can make a huge difference to heart health. By following some simple steps, most people can live longer, healthier lives without cardiovascular disease.
Get a good night’s sleep. Studies show that young and middle-aged adults who sleep at least seven hours a night have less calcium in their arteries than those who sleep five hours or less, or those who sleep nine hours or more, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Keep blood pressure within a normal range. If blood pressure gets too high, the extra force can damage artery walls and create scar tissue. This makes it more difficult for blood and oxygen to get to and from the heart, so it has to work harder and can get worn out faster. If the heart can’t get enough oxygen, parts of it start to die.
Bring blood pressure down by cutting back on salt, limiting alcohol to no more than one to two drinks a day and eating healthy foods including fresh organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Take Mega Quinone Fermented K2 every day. This vitamin is responsible for activating osteocalcin, the most abundant noncollagenous protein of the bone matrix. Osteocalcin increases insulin secretion and sensitivity, lowers blood glucose and decreases visceral fat. It removes plaque deposits from artery walls and prevents the buildup of plaque. This is not just the K2 vitamin—it is fermented K2, which is the one that works. If everyone would include this in their daily regime, many heart bypass surgeries could be avoided.
Exercise 30 minutes every day and get that heart rate up. Move around and break a slight sweat. Some of the best exercise for the heart is interval training, which combines short bursts of high-intensity exercise with slightly longer periods of active recovery. Walkers can alternate three minutes at normal speed with one minute at a brisk pace. Continuously raising and lowering the heart rate improves vascular function, burns calories and makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.
Cut down on saturated fats, which are mainly found in meat and full-fat dairy products. Eliminate trans fats, which are found in a lot of processed foods. They drive up the “bad” LDL cholesterol level. Ingredients that say, “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” are trans fats.
High blood sugar damages arteries and makes heart disease more likely. People with diabetes or prediabetes should adopt a lifestyle and diet plan that helps to normalize blood sugar.
Hearts work best when they run on clean fuel. Include lots of whole, plant- based foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—and fewer refined or processed foods such as white bread, pasta, crackers and cookies. One of the fastest ways to clean up a diet is to cut out sugary beverages such as soda and fruit juice.
Maintain a healthy weight. For many people, “emotional eating” is how they find comfort and stress relief, and how they celebrate. Those who work on healing their emotional selves may find that changing eating and lifestyle habits will become much easier.
Stop smoking cigarettes. Smoking and secondhand smoke are both bad for hearts. Quit, and don’t spend time around others who smoke.
People should give themselves a pat on the back for every positive step taken. Friends and family can be a source of sup- port and join in, so a heart’s future will be healthier, happier and better for it.
- 2 cups kale
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 2 cups filtered water
Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an Educational Center and Therapy Spa in Atlanta offering healthy lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 and visit www.livingfoodsinstitute.com See ad, inside front cover.