According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease kills more people each year than any other disease worldwide. But you knew that already, didn't you? What you probably don't know are more specific ways to support your heart's health. There is so much conflicting information out there, it's difficult to know which end is up. You may have heard the same clear-as-mud advice over and over again, none of which is tailored to fit you or your lifestyle. Or you may be one who has spent hundreds of dollars on vitamins and supplements that were guaranteed to help, yet they didn't. In this article, I am going to give five actionable steps to supporting your heart health. I'll briefly explain why they help in easy-to-understand terms, and you can implement them without having to spend money on supplements. Just keep in mind that this information is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, neither to diagnose nor treat disease. This is general nutritional information to bring balance and promote wellness.
1) Support Healthy Digestion
Surprised to find digestion in the number one spot? You may be used to seeing a long list of foods you should not eat. Not here! Instead I'm going to give you one word to sum up foods to add to your diet: fermented. Yes, fermented foods go a long way to support your digestion by helping to support the good bacteria in your gut. This is particularly important your large intestine is designed to synthesize vitamin K, which helps keep your arteries clear of calcium. Adding fermented foods or drinks such as sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha to your diet on a regular basis will support a healthy microbiome. Keep in mind that if you have allergies or intolerances to dairy or gluten, or have special diet considerations, such as low-FODMAPs; some or all of these may not be appropriate for you.
2) Support Healthy Blood Sugar Regulation
You were probably expecting this one. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease typically go hand-in-hand. One reason being that dysregulated blood sugar can alter the delivery of key nutrients to the heart. Obviously reducing the amount of sugar you consume and replacing highly refined, processed foods are a given, but you're here because you are looking for something new. So here it is: get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. According to the Sleep Foundation, even one night of insufficient sleep can contribute to glucose intolerance.
3) Eat More Healthy Fats
I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but there are healthy fats your body needs in order to perform vital functions, such as helping to absorb fat soluble vitamins D, E, and K. Your body cannot absorb these vitamins if healthy fat is not present to help break them down. In addition, healthy fats help your body regulate inflammation. Please remember this, at the heart of almost all disease, discomfort, and pain anywhere in your body, is inflammation. Some sources of healthy fats that help regulate inflammation are eggs, fish, nuts, avocados, butter, and olive oil. By replacing unhealthy fats, such as vegetable oils and margarine, with healthy fats in moderation, you can reduce inflammation and support a healthy cardiovascular system.
4) Taste the Rainbow
I definitely am not encouraging you to eat the little bit sized candies. I am encouraging you add more color to your diet by adding colorful vegetables to your plate with each meal. Vegetables are an excellent source of minerals that you need to help power many of your body's processes at the cellular level. For instance, magnesium helps transport calcium and potassium out of the blood and into cells. As you can imagine, when magnesium levels are low, there is less movement of calcium and potassium out of the blood, which is problematic. Incorporating more leafy green vegetables, squash, seeds, peppers, cabbage, and the like to your daily meal plan will increase your mineral intake.
5) Drink Up
No, I am not encouraging you to drink red wine. Drink more water. I have found that almost all of my clients believe they drink a lot more water than they actually drink. Most people drink far less than they need, as a matter of fact, according to the National Institue of Health, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Keep this in mind, by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. The average woman should be drinking at least 80 oz of water each day, while men should be topping 100 oz. These numbers do not take salt and caffeine consumption, exercise, altitude, or other factors into consideration. Still think you drink enough water? Your hydration levels directly impact your blood volume. The less blood available to pump through your body, the harder the heart has to work to pump that blood throughout your body, which speeds up heart rate, and can cause irregular heartbeat or palpitations. Begin increasing your water intake by keeping water with you at all times and sipping on it throughout the day.
So there you have it! Five easy ways to improve your cardiovascular and overall health. Keep an eye on this space for more information on how you can support your body's balance and achieve your optimal heath. Don't miss out on valuable information – subscribe to our mailing list and stay informed about our latest posts and events.