How To Keep Your Heart Healthy

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With National Heart Month upon us, we’re diving into the ways that you can be heart-healthy every day.

How to Eat for a Healthy Heart

Everywhere you turn, there’s another new diet claiming to do amazing things for your waistline

But as a functional medicine practitioner, it’s my job to decipher the right kind of diet for my clients.

When I say diet, I don’t mean a shake for breakfast and shake for lunch. I mean your diet. What you eat daily – no judgment!

But, I do believe that eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties are truly the greatest thing you can do to have a heart-healthy lifestyle and for your overall health too.

olive oil

The Mediterranean Diet

While it’s not truly a “diet” aimed at losing weight, weight loss can happen with the Mediterranean diet. Think of it more as a new way of life.

The foods that you eat on the Mediterranean diet include vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, legumes nuts, olive oil, and fish.

While a meal could include dairy (yogurt and cheese), poultry or eggs, it would be a much smaller portion than what we’re used to in North America.

Eating a Paleo Diet

paleo-diet

Photo by rigorfitness.com

Another lifestyle diet I recommend is the Paleo diet, which is truly an anti-inflammatory way of eating.

The idea behind eating Paleo is to eat foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten, except instead of foraging in the wild, you can just go to Whole Foods or Sprouts.

On the Paleo diet, you cut out inflammatory foods like dairy, legumes, grains, processed foods, refined sugars, and refined oils.

What do you eat? Lots! Fruits, vegetables, seafood and lean meats, nuts, seeds, eggs, and healthy oils.

Exercise for a Healthy Heart

What you put into your body is important. But exercise is also a key component to heart health.

WalkingAn easy way to exercise that doesn’t cost a dime: go for a walk!

Studies show that walking can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and decrease the risk of dying by 32% for both men and women.

We’re talking about walking about 5.5 miles a week at a pace of about 2 miles per hour. Feel free to walk farther and faster if you can!

To get the heart health benefits of aerobic exercise, it’s best to aim for 30 minutes per day at least five days a week.

If walking doesn’t appeal to you, consider working up a sweat swimming, cycling or playing tennis.

Supplements for Living a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

Certain supplements are also helpful in ensuring you’re on the path to having a healthy heart. While you can often get them from food, supplements may fit into your lifestyle better.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Recent studies have found that omega 3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and even heart disease-related deaths.

While you can get omega 3 fatty acids from fish and seafood, supplements do help with prevention.

Coenzyme q10

Coenzyme q10 is an antioxidant naturally produced by your body that your cells use for growth and maintenance. The levels of this antioxidant lower as you age. People with heart disease also tend to have lower levels of CoQ10.

Taking Coenzyme q10 supplements can help restore your body’s levels of this antioxidant and might help reduce blood pressure. CoQ10 may even be able to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Garlic

Garlic Supplements

Garlic is delicious and an amazing anti-inflammatory. When taken regularly as a supplement (or in your diet), it can have a positive impact on your arteries by potentially slowing the buildup of plaque and lessening your risk of developing blood clots. Garlic may also be able to slightly lower your blood pressure.

Green Tea

benefits of green tea

Green tea is an incredible anti-inflammatory agent. Clinical studies show that drinking green tea helps lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides, which at high concentrations in the blood indicate you have a higher risk of having a stroke.

Read more about the benefits of Green Tea.

Keeping your heart healthy isn’t difficult. It simply involves making some adjustments to your lifestyle.

In the long run, adding a 30-minute walk to your day or eating food with amazing anti-inflammatory properties will do more than improve your heart health. They may just make you happier overall.

To your health,

Dr. Laura

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The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.