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Protect Your Heart

heart, protect, health, naturalWe’ve done a series of blogs and podcasts concerning the heart and the cardiovascular system recently. We’ve covered a lot of ground. But there are some areas that didn’t seem to fit smoothly within the frames we’d set for them, so I decided to place the hodgepodge of “extras” in a separate blog. They fit under the overall “protect your heart” venue. So here they are:

The importance of antioxidants. Oxidation changes the chemical structure of those things that are oxidized! They don’t function the same and in some cases, prevent proper functioning at all. Antioxidants (by definition) prevent this oxidation. With regard to the heart, I’m thinking particularly about cholesterol. In a previous blog, we noted the importance of cholesterol for several body functions. And while consuming too much is certainly to be avoided, a greater problem in the oxidizing of low-density cholesterol. It becomes difficult to move and causes often life-threatening arterial blockages. We now know that substances such as bergamot orange fruit extract and numerous super antioxidant fruits help to alleviate this condition.

Inflammation. The number one inflammatory substance you can put in your body is refined sugars. They prove to be inflammatory agents in all tissues of the body. And the heart is no exception. Or heart health I certainly recommend you reduce (eliminate?) processed/refined sugars from your diet.

Saturated fats. Saturated fats are those that are solid at room temperature – things like butter, lard, animal fats, etc. And manmade fats like margarine are even worse. While it doesn’t seem to be necessary to completely remove these from the heart-healthy diet, the FDA has set a healthy limit of 20 grams of saturated fat per day. More tends to clog arteries and obstruct digestion.

On that subject – all living tissues are susceptible to cracking and breaking. The body has glue for that. It’s called plaque. It floats in the bloodstream and attaches to these fissures to “heal” them by coverage. Unfortunately, other floating material in the bloodstream that “sits in place” for a time is deemed to need correction by the plaque too. So a fat deposit or cholesterol glop attached to the wall of the blood vessel may also get covered by the plaque narrowing the diameter of the vessel and obstructing blood flow. This too can raise blood pressure as it takes more pressure to push good blood through the narrow openings.

Stress is extremely difficult on the heart, so every effort should be made to reduce your stress levels to have a healthy heart. There are many supplements that will help with stress, but that is a subject for another article completely. In addition to supplements, consider adding a daily “quiet time”, cardio exercise, and pleasant activities to your daily life. I love the old adage “like a fine violin, may your [cardiovascular system] have enough stress to make beautiful music, but not so much as to break a string.”

So, if you are ready to improve your heart’s health and live longer, consider adding some of these things to your daily routine, stop smoking, and maintain your weight in a healthy range. Limit your fat intake to 10-20 grams of saturated fat a day, and reduce (eliminate?) refined sugar from your diet. Fat and sugar together make a good recipe for heart trouble. Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

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