Heart complications and disease are at an all-time high in today’s society and it is imperative to understand how to maintain and improve a hearts health naturally. The key aspects to consider when trying to improve heart health involve nutrition, exercise, and supplementation.
The body can be thought of as a machine and when it is fueled with the optimal charge it has the power to perform, heal, and regulate itself naturally. To improve a hearts health naturally, food has a monumental impact. By consuming less sodium and alcohol, increasing healthy fat sources, and providing essential vitamins and minerals through fruits and vegetables the heart will be able to function properly and efficiently.
Low Levels Of Sodium
Sodium, commonly found in high-processed foods, has a direct impact on blood pressure levels within the body. Sodium is a natural mineral responsible for water retention. However, overconsumption of this mineral causes the body to hold on to excess water leading to high blood pressure and swollen joints. The excess blood volume places a higher demand and stress level on the heart.
Little To No Alcohol
Alcohol, like sodium, also places the heart in a delicate state. Components in alcohol trigger blood vessels to expand causing an increase in blood pressure. Over time this has the ability to produce an irregular heart rhythm and weakened muscles even when alcohol is not consumed. Decreasing or eliminating alcohol intake can drastically decrease the risk of creating unnatural heart complications.
Minimal Amounts Of Trans Fats
Dietary fats are essential for organ protection, protein functionality, and energy. However, there are certain types of fat sources that increase the likelihood of high cholesterol levels and heart diseases such as trans fats, commonly found in highly processed fried foods, and full-fat animal-sourced saturated fats. For a full rundown of the effect of cholesterol in correlation to heart disease, WebMD has an in-depth article pertaining to all aspects of the condition. Heart-healthy fats can decrease triglycerides, improve healthy cholesterol, and lower blood pressure; healthy fats consist of omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish, flaxseed, and soy products, and mono/polyunsaturated fats, commonly found in olive oil, walnuts, and avocados.
Daily Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential components to the human body for regulating metabolism, decreasing inflammation, and proper rejuvenation of broken down cells. Vitamin K, a key mineral found in dark green leafy vegetables, helps lower blood pressure, improve vein elasticity and cellular transportation. Vitamin D, found in mushrooms, help the vein walls counteract the effects of inflammation. Potassium, found in bananas, oranges, and potatoes, aids in the water regulation in the body which helps decreases stress put on the heart from high blood pressure.
Bonus! Heart Health Tips For Nutrition
Avoid processed versions of foods such as white bread or low-calorie diet foods. The chemical process to produce these involves taking out the vital nutrients that are necessary for optimal health.
To improve the function and longevity of the body incorporating heart-healthy exercise routines is a fundamental step in the right direction. The ultimate goal is to enhance blood flow and strengthen the muscles encompassing the region. The three areas of training to focus on are cardiorespiratory, strength, and stretching.
Cardio, also known as aerobic, mainly consists of prolonged movement such as walking, running, and cycling. Cardio training focuses on stamina and strengthening the entire cardiovascular system from the heart to the lungs. When the system is strengthened it is correlated to regulate and decrease blood pressure and increased efficiency in blood flow.
Strength training is sometimes neglected in heart healthy exercise, but it can have a monumental impact on increased blood flow and healing. This area of training emphasizes short movements with added weight for a set number of repetitions. The key areas to focus on are the chest, shoulders, back, and abdominal muscle groups.
The training goal of stretching, such as yoga, is to improve the blood circulation in muscles. Lengthening the muscles and holding the stretch allows each muscle to receive oxygen and vital nutrients that are carried throughout the bloodstream. The John Hopkins Medical facility provides an article outlining numerous benefits of yoga.
Bonus! Heart Health Tips For Exercise
When beginning an exercise routine, avoid activities that prioritize maximal heart rate expenditure until the muscles are fully strengthened and physician approved.
Heart health supplements provide the ability to receive the missing nutrients from food consumption. Within the realm of heart health supplements, there are two to direct attention too: CoQ10 and L-carnitine.
CoQ10 is a form of an antioxidant that functions to reduce inflammation, regulate energy metabolism, and repair oxidative stress done from overworked muscles. An article containing an in-depth look at CoQ10 can be found here.
L-carnitine is a natural amino acid that aids in the metabolism of fat within the body. Its functions by increasing blood flow through naturally expanding vessels to improve oxygen circulation that impacts not only the heart, but muscles, organs, and tissues all together. Supplementation of this amino acid is often used to treat heart disease in pharmaceuticals.
Bonus! Heart Health Tips For Supplementation
Excess choline has been shown to increase the risk of blood clots by increasing the production of gastrointestinal bacteria. High consumption of eggs yolk and fatty red meats contribute to abnormal levels of this mineral.