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Have a heart for your heart

Have a heart for your heart

Valentine’s Day is all about matters of the heart so it’s appropriate that the British Heart Foundation has designated February as National Heart month.

Did you know that our hearts can beat around 70 times a minute? No doubt they may be working a little harder on this romantic day. And the heart is an undoubted workhorse that can keep going for a 100 or more years.

But sometimes this vital organ can go wrong, often with fatal consequences. Which is why the National Heart Foundation is keen to raise awareness of heart and associated circulatory diseases. There are around seven million people living with heart-related conditions in the UK: 3.5 million men and 3.5 million women.

Some people have a genetic predisposition towards developing heart disease. Naturopathic medicine is a way of finding a preventative approach. If the disease is likely to be inherited, then you are likely to be affected at some point and catching it and doing something to make dietary and lifestyle changes is a positive strategy.

What are the symptoms one should look out for?

Although heart attacks appear to strike out of the blue, there are warnings sings telling us that something is not quite right:

  • Pain or a discomfort in your chest that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away
  • Pain in your left or right arm which may also spread to your neck, jaw back or stomach. The severity of the pain is not the same for everyone. This is often called myocardial infarction, which means death of the heart muscle due to an interrupted blood supply.
  • There may also be nausea, sweating, light-headedness or shortness of breath.

A heart attack can sometimes feel the same as indigestion which, if it’s persistent, is always wise to get it checked out.

Things that contribute to heart disease and bad circulation

Angina is another common warning.  This is a constrictive pain in the chest which is provoked by exertion. Top contributors to heart disease are:

  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Other factors that may contribute to heart disease

There are other health factors that may contribute or link heart disease via inflammatory conditions caused by the parasite chlamydia pneumonia, a type of bacteria that can cause lung infection (if you want to see the article here is the reference: Us National Library of Medicine)

Poor root canal treatment is also linked to heart disease. Statins place a strain on all muscles including the heart muscle as they block production of a vitamin-like substance called CoQ10, which is produced naturally in the liver. Mercury and thyroid hormones can also cause heart problems.

Taking the preventative, naturopathic approach

Naturopathy looks at diet, lifestyle and genetic predispositions when creating a unique health program for the individual.

The following are good examples of heart-friendly foods:

Pomegranate disrupts the formation of plaque in the arteries and lowers blood pressure.

Fish is high in essential fatty acids and helps lower inflammation. Try to include fish at least two or three times a week. Non-fish lovers should consider a supplement.

Unrefined oils are also good additions into your diet. Linseeds are a great form of probiotic, as well as essential fatty acid, which you can use as part of a salad dressing.

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, which are high in carotenes and antioxidants. By including more fibre this also helps the body lower cholesterol.

Dietary no-nos

Low fat foods are high in sugar, which the body converts into fat and, unless you are burning this excess fat by exercising or keeping physically active, will lead to becoming overweight.

Hydrogenated fats are another process used to manufacture unsaturated fats into saturated ones through a process called hydrogenation. Avoid any foods and mass-produced oils containing hydrogenated fats which are in manufactured foods, like biscuits, pies, cakes and many others.

Meat is a good source of protein, although you should try not to eat it every day, especially red meat. Include plenty of pulses, salads and beans, for a more varied and healthier diet.

Although red wine should be drunk in moderation it contains properties such as polyphenols, bioflavonoids that help protect the arteries.

Other natural remedies you can use

Take a CoQ10 supplement, if you are on statins. As we age, we make less of this vitamin-like substance, which the body manufactures naturally in the liver, and statins block production of CoQ10. You should be taking 100mg daily and, if you’ve had a heart attack, it is advisable to take 100mg in the morning and another 100mg in the evening, so a total of 200 mg per day. This will protect your heart and maintain good energy levels.

Garlic is a natural blood thinner, add this into your diet or take a garlic supplement. Unless you have a medical condition that requires iron, do not take extra iron supplements, as excess iron is linked to heart disease and it applies more to men that women.

A good food state vitamin C is good to take, it helps to reverse arterial blockages. Native elements are a good brand and are made with the pulp of an orange.

I work with people who are looking for a complementary and holistic approach to having a healthy heart. If you would like to know more about going down a holistic and natural route, drop me a line.