Take Care of Your Ticker, Naturally!
February is American Heart Month, so this week we’re talking all about how to take care of your ticker, naturally! From eating a heart-healthy diet, to taking Omega-3 supplements, there are lots of things you can do today to show your heart some seriously TLC. Here are four tips to get you started!
If you’re trying to be heart-healthy (or need to be because you’re dealing with a condition) your diet is a great place to start. Nuts are the first thing on our list. 1 Research and healthcare practitioners agree that eating 1 serving of nuts twice a week is associated with a 19% reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, and a 23% lowered risk of coronary heart disease. Similarly, plant-based eating increases your fiber intake, and the natural fiber in whole foods governs the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body. 2 Fiber also attracts wastes like magnet, and naturally detoxes your body, daily. Eating a heavily plant-based diet also increases your antioxidant intake, which is super important. Why? Oxygen is essential for life, but too much in our circulatory system can be damaging to our cells, which is where antioxidants come in! Antioxidants are responsible for all the beautiful colors and pigments in the fruits and vegetables we eat and keep our bodies healthy. 3, 5, 6 Aim to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Examples of antioxidants and where to find them:
Vitamin C - Citrus, greens, berries
Lycopene - Tomatoes, melon
Chlorophyll - Anything green
Anthocyanins. - Grapes, purple cabbage 5
Vitamin A - Sweet potatoes, carrots
Selenium - Whole grains, nuts
EGCG - Green tea, black tea
Out of all the leading causes of heart disease, the vast majority of them are things within our control. We can’t control our past medical history, age and family history, but we can make lifestyle choices to potentially aid in prevention. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, not smoking and not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol are important. Studies show that even if you have a family history of heart disease, exercise is your best defense! 4 The best exercise is the one you do, so it is important to start slow and keep it up. Consistency is key!
If you’re looking to jump into fitness as soon as possible, Camp Gladiator offers morning workouts at our Baymeadows and Mandarin locations. The full-body exercise program is an hour long, and takes place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5 to 6 AM and 6:15 to 7:15 AM at our Mandarin location. You can sign up for your first camp for FREE in the link below!
3. Get a good dose of Omega-3!
Omega-3’s work to reduce inflammation in the arteries, lower triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like cold water fish, nuts, seeds and algae, but if you aren’t eating those foods you can always take Omega-3 in supplement form. (Note: If you are on blood thinning medication, consult with your doctor prior to use.) 7, 8
Nordic Naturals offers a line of Omega-3 supplements that we love, and their entire line is 20% off all month, so there’s no better time to start taking the supplement! They source their fish from some of the cleanest waters on earth. All fish oils are bottled in an oxygen-free, nitrogen-rich environment to deliver industry-leading freshness, purity, and great taste. All Nordic Naturals omega-3 fish oils are produced in the triglyceride form—the same form naturally found in fish, and the form the body most easily recognizes and absorbs. All products are certified non-GMO, dairy and gluten free, and never contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
4. Consider other supplements!
At Native Sun, we offer a full range of supplements that can help enhance your regular diet and support your overall heart-health. Stop by any of our stores so you can talk to one of our Nutrition Specalists about what supplements might be best for you! Some supplements we like to take to be heart-healthy are:
Hawthorn is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It has been shown to improve circulation around the heart making it easier for your heart to pump, which reduces blood pressure. It can be found in the form of tea, liquid tincture and capsules. The tea is really yummy sweet berry taste. 11
Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient used by the heart cells to pump efficiently and with regular rhythm. Research also shows that it can lower blood pressure. 10
Magnesium: The heart uses magnesium to produce energy for contraction and regular rhythm. It relaxes the blood vessels, improves circulation and reduces blood pressure. 9
Guasch-Ferré M, Liu X, Malik VS, Sun Q, Willett WC, Manson JE, Rexrode KM, Li Y, Hu FB, Bhupathiraju SN. (2017, November.) Nut Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
Phillip Tuso, MD, FACP, FASN, Scott R Stoll, MD, William W Li, MD. (2015, Winter.) A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and Coronary Artery Disease Prevention.
Ucar SK, Sözmen E, Yıldırım HK, Coker M. (2014) Effect of blueberry tea on lipid and antioxidant status in children with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia: pilot study, Clinical Lipidology, 9:3, 295-304.
Erik Ingelsson, M.D., Ph.D. Standford University School of Medicine. (2018, April.) When heart disease runs in the family, exercise may be best defense.
Huang H, Chen G, Liao D, Zhu Y, Xue X. Effects of Berries Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Meta-analysis with Trial Sequential Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Sci Rep. 2016;6:23625.
Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva and Grant N Pierce. (2010, April). The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed.
Rahman Ullah, M. Nadeem, A. Khalique, M. Imran, S. Mehmood, A. Javid, and J. Hussain. (2016, April.) Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review.
Shils ME. Magnesium. In: O’Dell BL, Sunde RA, eds. Handbook of nutritionally essential minerals. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc; 1997:117-152
Skarlovnik A, Janić M, Lunder M, Turk M, Šabovič M. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation decreases statin-related mild-to-moderate muscle symptoms: a randomized clinical study. Med Sci Monit. 2014;20:2183-8. Published 2014 Nov 6. doi:10.12659/MSM.890777
Tassell MC, Kingston R, Gilroy D, Lehane M, Furey A. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010;4(7):32-41