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Heart Health – Love Your Heart
Heart and circulatory disease is ranked as one of the biggest killers in Britain. Cardiovascular disease (CV) is responsible for one third of all deaths in the UK. Our lives today are very sedentary, we eat far too much processed foods, we drink too much alcohol and our stress levels are high. All of which has very detrimental effects on the health of our heart.
Human Heart Facts:
• It’s the size of your fist.
• It starts beating approximately when you are approximately 3 weeks old in the womb.
• The heart beats more than 100,000 times per day.
• By the time you are 70 it will have beaten 2 ½ billion times.
• Around 1 in 6 men and 1 in 9 women die from heart disease.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and high homocysteine levels are all contributory factors to heart disease.
High Blood Pressure
Another human heart fact is that it is estimated that around 30% of people in England have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 140/90mmHg. Readings of 140/90mmHg and above are considered high. If the blood pressure becomes high it causes the arteries to become stretched. When this happens they become weaker and tiny tears appear, leaving rough scar tissue that catches debris such as fat and cholesterol. This causes the arteries to become narrowed and hardened due to an excessive build up of plaque on the artery wall. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. This disease disrupts the flow of blood around the body and poses serious cardiovascular complications.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all cells. Two thirds of cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and the rest is obtained from foods. There is much debate nowadays about cholesterol. Despite all the bad press about cholesterol, it is essential for life. Some of its many roles include:
• Helping to form cell wall and structures.
• Repairing cell membranes
• Helping cells adjust to changes in temperatures.
• Used by nerve cells for insulation.
• Manufacturing vitamin D
• Essential for synthesising a number of critical hormones – including testosterone, progesterone and estrogen.
Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood and so it transported to and from cells as lipoproteins. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are known as ‘bad’ cholesterol as it transports cholesterol into the arterial walls and high-density lipoproteins are known as ‘good’ cholesterol as they tend to carry cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver for metabolism and excretion. So we need to focus on keeping our cholesterol at a healthy level – keeping the LDL low and the HDL high.
Another random human heart fact is that homocysteine is produced in the body from another amino acid called methionine in a process called mythelation. Even though many have never heard of homocysteine, high levels can be more indicative of heart health than cholesterol levels. Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid which can oxidise cholesterol and is thought to be involved in the development of atherosclerosis. High levels of homocysteine are an indication of poor methylation and have been linked to heart disease, stroke and many other degenerative diseases. B vitamins are very important for healthy methylation as they ensure that homocysteine is methylated to form healthy substances rather than toxic ones. B12 is particularly important and a product we particularly like is B12 Boost.
Simple Ways to Improve Heart Health
• Reduce homocysteine levels
High homocysteine levels can be treated with a specially formulated blend of vitamins. However to make this treatment more successful we recommend getting your homocysteine levels checked prior to beginning a supplement protocol. You can organise this test by contacting our qualified nutritional therapist.
• Reduce Stress
High stress levels can have a huge impact on CV health. We recommend incorporating daily stress busting techniques such as exercise – especially outdoors, listening to music, yoga, qi gong, meditation and laughter. Our experienced yoga instructor Manjula Cote has designed a beautiful series of relaxation CD’s that are designed to restore balance and reduce stress to a healthy level.
• Quit Smoking
Smoking damages blood vessel walls, can lower HDL cholesterol and has been linked to high homocysteine levels and atherosclerosis.
Being overweight puts a serious strain on your heart and puts you at a high risk of heart disease. Reducing body weight by as little as 10lbs can lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Chiray Health & Weight Loss Programme is an effective, easy and empowering way to lose weight. This innovative programme has been proven to promote heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
• Good Nutrition
Nutrition can have a huge impact on heart health. Some simple ways of keeping your heart healthy include:
• Eat plenty of vegetables and 2 or 3 pieces of fruit daily. Fruit and vegetables that are particularly good for heart health include broccoli, green leaves, brussel sprouts (all high in Vitamin K), berries (high in antioxidants) and garlic (helps maintain normal cholesterol levels and blood pressure and maintains healthy arteries).
• Increase essential fatty acids – these are found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. Research shows that these fats may help reduce inflammation and therefore lower the risk of heart disease. They can help support healthy arteries, blood flow and normal heart rhythm.
• Increase fibre – foods such as beans, lentils, oats, fruit, hemp seeds and vegetables contain soluble fibre that can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
• Reduce Saturated Fats – cut down on red meats, cheese and processed foods. Also avoid margarines. Replace cooking oils with coconut oil, which does not produce trans fats (which have been linked to heart disease).
• Increase antioxidants – these are found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, especially the superfoods. We particularly recommend our key product Berrylicious, goji berries and raw cacao products.
• Cut out all processed foods – instead aim to eat a rainbow of natural foods every day.
• Avoid Sugar – if you do need a little sweetener then opt for natural sweeteners like xylitol or a little honey or agave nectar – but keep these to a minimum.
• Cut down on alcohol – research has shown that a small glass of red wine every now and then can have a positive effect on heart health due to its antioxidant properties. However don’t go overboard, as too much alcohol can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
• Reduce Salt – we recommend using a moderate amount of the mineral rich Himalayan Rock Salt
• Heart Support – contains high potency Fish Oil, Vitamin D3, K2, CoQ10, Lycopene and Resveratrol – which collectively bestow wide-ranging cardiovascular support.
• H Factor – a blend of nutrients aimed at reducing Homocysteine levels.
• Co-Enzyme Q10 – this nutrient is very important for heart health. Production of Co-enzyme Q10 declines as we age and synthesis of this nutrient can be lowered by as much as 40% for those taking statins.
• Omega 3’s- research has shown these have a positive impact on heart health. We recommend Krill Oil or Fish Oils.
• Vitamin D – as many as 60% of the UK population are deficient in Vitamin D. Studies have shown that individuals with lower serum vitamin D levels have a higher risk of CV disease incidence – including heart attack, stroke and heart failure. We recommend DLux1000 or DLux3000.
• Magnesium – low magnesium status may increase the risk of heart disease, abnormal cardiac rhythms and stroke, especially for those with high blood pressure.
• Vitamin K – obtained in the diet from foods such as green leaves, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Many experts now believe that a sub-clinical vitamin K deficiency can contribute to CV disease. Moreover, population studies clearly show a link between higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 and lower rates of arterial calcification and CV disease.
• B Vitamins – these help to reduce homocysteine levels and so reduce the incidence of heart disease.
• Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant for fighting heart disease.
If you are taking any medication or have an existing health problem please consult your GP before implementing any dietary or supplement changes. For more details visit our website or call our team of experts on 01202 770927.