How can we have healthy hearts? There are various experts with varying advice, from the pharmaceuticals who promote statin drugs, to others who claim that all carbohydrates or fat are the problem.
Diet ie as the most important area of focus, for sure. But which diet? And, is "the right diet"the same for everyone?
Let's try to wade through the different perspectives and see what sense we can make from all these various claims.
We are often told that heart disease is caused by foods high in "bad fats" that create artery-plugging cholesterol.
Really? That's it? If eating fat is the cause of heart disease then the traditional Inuit diet (mostly comprised of fat) should have killed them off a long time ago!
Most doctors falsely think that cholesterol is the problem. This opinion comes from junk science. It's far more likely that our high consumption of carbohydrates, sugars and omega-6 vegetable oils, coupled with inadequate intake of dark green vegetables, combined with inadequate exercise. are the principal culprits. Read this brief article about the subject. More information is available from this article. This article is a confession from a former heart surgeon that what they have been recommending for decades is actually worse for the heart (and diabetes and more).
Patients who have had a heart attack (the #1 killer in North America) are prescribed statin drugs to lower their cholesterol levels (which also happen to improve the profits for pharmaceutical companies). If you don't mind the side-effects (which sometimes includes death), that is an option. But there is a better, cheaper, way. Eat right.
Increasingly heart specialists are recognising food choices are better than are statin drugs. That our food choices can both keep and return our hearts to health. One local Nanaimo man is following this diet by a former cardiac surgeon, Dr. Esselstyn, and is proving it works to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health through foods. One basic food should be lots of various coloured, organic, vegetables. These provide the many nutrients for a healthy heart (and body!). Check out this scientifically-researched website.
Natural methods that are linked to improving our arteries include using plant-based, pure essential oils. Want to know more? Just book an appointment.
Cardiologist Stephen Sinatra and nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden wrote the very popular heart book, "The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan That Will. They argue that cholesterol is not such a big problem.
What they conclude is:
They, too, realised that diet could greatly reduce the risk of repeated heart attacks. They follow the Lyon Diet Heart Study that compared a Mediterranean diet to the American Heart Association's “prudent diet” (low saturated fat and cholesterol). While the Mediterranean diet group's cholesterol levels didn't drop, their rate of heart attacks did -by 70%!
They believe that heart damage is mainly caused by inflammation, oxidative damage, and excess stress.
But doctors know that it is cholesterol that kills. So then, how does fat (cholesterol) cling to our arteries?
When the walls of the arteries (the endothelium) is damaged by inflammation, oxidization and stress the immune system sends inflammatory cytokines to the area and damage to the arteries begins. The longer the damage continues the more blood-restricting plaque forms. A heart attack becomes increasingly likely. Thus it is more important to reduce the inflammation, oxidization and stress.
For a more in-depth perspective click on this link (2 hours).
What's the best way to reduce inflammation? Remove refined sugars from your diet. This is not easy, as such sugars are as addictive as is its close cousin: cocaine. For more on this widespread
epidemic go to this page.
High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Everyone agrees that it is a serious issue.
While the medical community seems largely unaware of the common causes of high blood pressure, apart from obesity and too much salt intake, it appears that a lack of adequate exercise (true of 90% of Canadians) plus the consumption of too many refined carbs, sugar and other sweeteners, fruit juices and perhaps red meat, combined with too little vegetable intake, are major contributors.
See some suggestions below for foods that can lower blood pressure.
It may well be that a reason why salt is not good for us is because of the chemicals added to it in order to keep the salt from clumping. After all, our bodies are about 70% salt water. Do also watch our for salt that has had sugar added to it! It is likely better to turn to sea salt or the more mineral-infused Himalayan salt (with 10 minerals) and supplement this with natural sources of iodine (such as kelp).
Essential oils: Apart from greatly reducing harmful foods from one's diet many people report lowered blood pressure after using pure essential oils such as ylang ylang, marjoram, eucalyptus, lavender, balsam fir, and a blend called Aroma Life™. Combining these oils in time-tested ways is even more powerful than the single oils alone.
Want to know more? Just ask.
What we eat and drink becomes our very cells; these are extremely important to our well-being, contributing significantly to our heart, mind and overall health!
Instead of focusing on the symptoms (cholesterol clogging arteries), we are wise to go to the source: why fat clings to the arteries in the first place.
Clearly we need to steer away from the typical North American diet, heavy in red meats and simple carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, sugars), and embrace a diet closer to the Mediterranean one: high in omega-3's (fish especially), lots of vegetables, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. (Note that the body needs some fat in order to best absorb vegetables.)
Healthy bodies depend on foods and other nutrients that provide both anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These foods include cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, bok choy), sweet potato, spinach and other dark leafy greens, mango's, berries, flax, tea, crushed garlic (reduces arterial inflammation), onion, turmeric, and other colourful foods.
Other excellent foods include root vegetables and foods high in potassium (potassium is especially helpful in lowering blood pressure, especially in vegetables). According to the World Health Organisation our hearts also need magnesium. If you aren't getting enough in your food and water then consider getting it through a supplement.
Organic vegetables are lowest in potentially damaging chemicals and often higher in cancer-fighting
properties. Don't like the higher cost? What is the cost to having compromised health?? If you believe in quality, organic is best. Your body is worth it.
Pure essential oils are concentrated plant essences that also can contribute significantly to your health. Go here to learn about just a few that can be helpful. Consider making a complementary consult to find out more.
Another approach is to help the body's cells to function with greater health by enabling them to better utilise nutrients, improve energy levels, and heal more quickly. Asea provides the redox signalling molecules that we gradually lose through aging, injury, exposure to chemicals and radiation, and more.
One does not have to be hopeless and powerless, at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies. Take back your power and elect to embrace life through ways that nature has provided us for thousands of years!
Stress kills. Kills our enjoyment of life, our health, our relationships, and more. Too much stress shortens our life. In fact, happily married couples lower their risk of illness as much as does a person who quits smoking! Stress also leads to weight gain. When stress becomes anger we run a far higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
Do you experience a lot of stress or anger at home, work or school? Ian Gartshore, Registered Clinical Counsellor and Marriage and Family Therapist, has assisted thousands of people to reduce their stress and anger levels, improve their relationships and enjoy much better lives.
Why ruin your life, lose income, health and well-being?
If you are reading this it may mean you need to make a change.
No one diet is perfect for all people. Our blood type, genetic history, life-style and more will affect what our ideal diet will be.
It is clear that eating simple carbohydrates (white flour, etc.), sugar and other sweeteners, low-quality oils, not getting enough exercise and quality sleep, and experiencing too much stress are all destructive of our hearts and bodies in general.
Diets rich in colourful vegetables and superior proteins (such as fish, nuts and beans) and unsaturated fats such as olive oil (and likely the semi-saturated superior cooking oil of coconut) are best. Some people will need more non-refined carbohydrates than do others. Some fresh fruit (not juice) is needed. For more food suggestions go to our section on healthy food and more.
Getting enough exercise and sleep, reducing excess stress, and helping your body receive adequate and appropriate nutrition are all vital. Your life is in your hands.