One in three people are estimated to have at
least one type of cardiovascular disease today.
February is heart-health month – so let’s highlight some important heart-healthy preventative practices to keep you from being One of the Three!
First, we all know that exercise is critical for cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends 75 minutes weekly of vigorous physical activity (defined as being ‘too out of breath’ to carry on a conversation) or 150 minutes weekly of moderate exercise. There’s now a new slant on things – a new study by the European Heart Journal shows that taking more frequent breaks from sitting also reduces the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle (elevated triglycerides, inflammation, lowered ‘good’ cholesterol). Consider breaking up the monotony of sitting by walking to your co-worker’s desk instead of emailing them, exiting the bus or metro a stop earlier, taking phone calls standing up.
On the nutrition front, incorporating berries (especially blueberries and strawberries) into your diet is a heart-wise choice. Berries contain bioflavonoids called anthocyanins which promote blood vessel health and reduce blood pressure. The berries are proposed to act via the NO pathway – nitric oxide dilates and relaxes blood vessels, thereby easing blood pressure.
Adding 1 cup of blueberries daily will provide you with these bioflavonoids. For added support, check out Vineyard blend by Juice Plus – it offers the phytonutrients of 9 different berries and research shows it improves vascular resistance to meals containing saturated fats.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, consider how your emotions and response to stress influence your heart’s health. Witness any tension held in the chest and shoulders – stress and negative thought patterns affect circulation and neurotransmission. An inability to unwind and let go of these burdens can positively impacts cardiac health.
Deep breathing, laughter and gratitude practices ease tension and fill the heart with the positive experience of joy. This not only releases healing endorphins, but according to the Institute of Heart Math, radiates outward like radio waves that are detected by the nervous systems of others in our environment.
May you take a rigorous walk at lunch today, eat a cup of blueberries
and deeply breathe, laugh and enjoy life!