Look to Your Heart: A View of America’s Cardiovascular Health
American heart health is struggling today.
Even though we’ve made advances in our understanding and treatment of cardiovascular wellness, it still remains an issue. Most people point to lifestyle issues as the prime risk factors: things like a nutrient-poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking. But statistics suggest other culprits. Above and beyond anything else, chronic stress, anger and other similar issues appear to pose the biggest risk. Physical, mental and emotional stress over time can increase chronic inflammation and trigger a cascade of harmful biochemical reactions that damage the cardiovascular system. Even just living at a fast pace and not getting enough sleep can greatly increase your chances of cardiovascular disease.
Is Stress Actually Good for You?
Interestingly, however, new research suggests it’s not necessarily the stress, as much as how we feel about it that can be so problematic. Though the studies are preliminary, it’s been suggested that when people believe that stress is not hurting them and that their stress is meaningful for their work or life, they actually show signs of better cardiovascular health than people with no chronic stress!
This demonstrates another fascinating connection between the power of the mind to influence health and physical states.
Certainly, however, other lifestyle factors play a significant role. One of the best known risk factors of course is diet: too many high-glycemic (high-sugar) foods, too much trans fat, too many calories and too much processed food. Also related to diet is dehydration, which negatively influences the cardiovascular system and can seriously affect the heart. These factors fuel chronic inflammation and high blood pressure while promoting oxidized cholesterol deposits in arteries and hardening of cardiovascular tissues.
Heart Healthy Diet And Lifestyle
If you follow a low-glycemic (low-sugar) diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats, you can go a long way in supporting a healthier heart. You should also eat plenty of colorful, phytonutrient-rich foods to combat inflammation help keep arteries clear.
Watching how much you eat is important, regardless of how healthy your diet is. Often, people tend to think that if they eat a low glycemic diet, they can eat as much as they want. But it’s not true; you can still gain weight with calorie dense foods.
Make sure you consume enough minerals (especially electrolytes). You need magnesium and calcium at a 1:1 ratio, as well as minerals potassium, zinc and selenium. Minerals support numerous aspects of cardiovascular/heart health.
In terms of lifestyle, it’s important to take the time to slow down, get sufficient rest and reduce the unnecessary stress in your life. Mindful meditation, even just 10 minutes a day, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and alleviate anxiety and depression more effectively than conventional approaches.
Supplements for Cardiovascular Health
There are a few categories of supplements that are important for cardiovascular health. The standard category consists of the B vitamins along with vitamins A, C, D3, E (tocopherols), K2 as well as the minerals mentioned above.*
Herbs and botanicals have also been shown to benefit cardiovascular health. A great example of a useful herbal formulation is Padma Basic®, a Tibetan herbal formula which has more than 30 published papers showing benefits in circulatory health and other areas.*
Individual herbs, like Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) and hawthorn berry support cardiovascular health through multiple mechanisms. Hawthorne berry is an ingredient in ecoNugenics Circutol®, a physician-formulated supplement that supports healthy circulation, cardiovascular wellness and overall health.*
In addition, a fast-growing body of research shows that blocking the biological protein galectin-3 can help support healthy cardiovascular function, cellular health and more. Hailed as the most-researched galectin-3 blocker, PectaSol-C Modified Citrus Pectin® (MCP) has been shown in multiple studies to inhibit excess galectin-3 to support cardiovascular health and more.*
FDA-Approved Test For Cardiovascular Health
In 2011, in response to several large-scale population studies and other data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the galectin-3 blood test as an inexpensive tool to help measure cardiovascular health.
February is American Heart Health Month. With these simple yet powerful tips, you can design your own personalized heart health program to optimize wellness not just this month, but all year long.*