How to take care of your Heart health (cardiovascular health)

Heart problems can have extremely serious consequences, but in many cases adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk.

Symptoms

It is not uncommon for the first sign of a heart problem to be a major event, such as a heart attack or stroke. However there are often clues that issues are developing in the cardiovascular system. For example, cholesterol or blood pressure may be elevated.

Consequently, your doctor checks these and other measures of your heart health whenever you have a check-up.

Other indications of heart problems may include:

  • Pain in the chest that feels tight, squeezing or constricting may indicate a heart attack, regardless of whether it comes on suddenly or slowly. The pain may also be experienced in other parts of the body, including the jaw, arms, back and neck, and may be accompanied by nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Call for an ambulance, even if you’re not sure that a heart attack has occurred. Rapid medical intervention is essential.
  • An irregular, rapid or fluttery heartbeat
  • Oedema (fluid retention) of the abdomen and lower limbs
  • Becoming breathless easily, even when you’re not performing strenuous activities. You may also feel wheezy or cough frequently.
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Increased sweating
  • Symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, headache (especially first thing in the morning), nosebleed, nausea or erectile dysfunction may indicate high blood pressure.
  • Over the long term, high cholesterol levels may cause deposits of cholesterol to form in the tendons (xanthoma) or eyelids (xanthelasma), and/or discolouration of the outer edge of the cornea (arcus senilis)

Causes

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease, and is caused by narrowing of the arteries, which increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke occurring.

High levels of LDL-cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) are a key factor in the development of CAD because they can lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits in artery walls (atherosclerosis), making the arteries narrower and stiffer. Low levels of HDL-cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol) may also be involved. Cholesterol levels in the blood depend on dietary factors (e.g. the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol consumed) and the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the body (which may involve genetic factors).

Other factors that may contribute to the development of CAD include:

  • High blood pressure  (which may be a consequence of medical problems, but is more often due to lifestyle issues, including being obese, being physically inactive, and eating a high salt diet).
  • High triglyceride levels (high levels of fat in the blood)
  • High levels of a compound called homocysteine
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Getting older
  • Being diabetic
  • Having a personal or family history of heart problems
  • Leading an inactive lifestyle

Congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart weakens and becomes unable to effectively perform its functions, is a serious consequence of CAD. As heart function declines, fluid accumulates in the abdomen, legs, and lungs, causing the characteristic symptoms of fatigue, oedema and breathlessness.

Natural therapies

Amazing results from respected university studies prove these natural ingredients are nature’s gift to the promotion of wellness. Experts discovered the health restoring properties of garlic, ginger, lemon, apple cider vinegar & honey are remedial to both common and less common disorders.

  • Apple cider vinegar is a helpful tonic that has shown promise in helping diabetes, cancer, heart health, high cholesterol, and weight loss For years, people have used apple cider vinegar as a folk remedy to lower fever and indigestion aid.
  • Honey: It is a very effective in the treatment of some pathological conditions of the intestinal tract, lungs, heart, and nervous system.
  • In recent time, medical science has proven that honey is an important medicine possessing many therapeutic properties.
  • Garlic: It is a widely recognized health enhancing supplement. It promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and help maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s most potent health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity.
  • Lemon: Known for centuries for its strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting power, lemon is also used as a wight loss aid as its juice is a digestive booster and liver cleanser aiding detoxification.
  • Ginger: For over 500 years, ginger has been used both as a food and a medicine. Today, it is used for ailments such as a simple cold, migraine, inflamed blood vessels, headaches, arthritis and as cough suppressants.

Antioxidants are often taken with folic acid and the vitamins B6 and B12. Low intake of these B vitamins is a common cause of elevated plasma homocysteine.Olive leaf extract is traditionally used to maintain healthy blood pressure and a healthy cardiovascular system.

Maintaining adequate magnesium levels helps regulate the contraction of the heart muscle and maintain healthy cardiovascular function. Magnesium may also be beneficial in times of stress. It is often taken in a powdered form with the amino acid taurine, which also plays a role in maintaining cardiovascular health.

Resveratrol protects cardiovascular health- Because of its anti-inflammatory activity, resveratrol has been shown to offer protection against atherosclerosis  (thickening of the arteries that cuts off blood flow), high LDL “bad cholesterol,” formation of blood clots and myocardial infraction. Consuming more has also been shown to help improve circulation and have beneficial effects on glucose and lipid metabolism in some with higher risk for metabolic syndrome .Itadori tea, one significant source of resveratrol, has long been used in Asian countries, including Japan and China, as a traditional herbal remedy for preventing heart disease and strokes.

Diet and lifestyle

  • A healthy diet and lifestyle are essential to a healthy heart. Work with your healthcare professional to develop a plan to achieve and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, body weight, and blood sugar balance, as all of these contribute to your heart health.
  • When assessing your heart health, your healthcare professional will consider your cholesterol level and blood pressure in the context of other risk factors such as your family history, body weight, level of physical activity and whether you are diabetic or smoke cigarettes.
  • Adhere to your doctor’s instructions. Talk to your doctor before taking any natural health supplements or changing your diet or lifestyle; such changes may mean that your medicine or its dosage needs to be monitored.
  • Reduce the quantity of cholesterol and saturated and trans fats in your diet by avoiding animal fats (meat and full-fat dairy products) and sources of hidden fat such as pastries and pies.
  • At the same time, increase the amount of fish  in your diet (but not deep-fried fish) , and eat more fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • A diet high in soluble fibre is highly recommended in order to promote the excretion of cholesterol. Good sources include legumes, oats and psyllium.
  • Eating moderate amounts of foods that contain monounsaturated fats may support the management of healthy normal cholesterol levels. Important foods to include in your diet include nuts (especially walnuts), seeds and olive oil.
  • Stick to a diet that’s low in salt  by decreasing your consumption of processed meats (e.g. bacon, ham and salami), packaged foods, and junk foods. Buy low salt alternatives of any tinned foods, sauces or other packaged foods that you use, and don’t add salt to your meals.
  • Including low-fat dairy products in your diet may be beneficial for your blood pressure, perhaps due to the calcium they contain. Aim for three serves per day.
  • Also include foods in your diet that have antioxidant and heart-protecting properties, such as garlic, green tea and tomatoes (a source of the antioxidant lycopene).
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, and favour antioxidant-rich red wine.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other health problems, and can exacerbate the negative effects of high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Regular aerobic exercise can help to maintain a healthy heart. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise (for example, brisk walking) per day may help to improve your cardiovascular health, but seek the advice of your healthcare professional before commencing a new exercise programme.
  • Practice techniques to lower your stress levels and improve your ability to cope under pressure. Yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, tai chi and qi gong may all be particularly beneficial .
  • Do not consume large quantities of liquorice confectionary or the herb liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), as it may increase blood pressure in some people.

Important notes

  • Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Sharrets Nutritions  does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Sharrets Nutritions are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.
  

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