Image

Archive for heart

Heart Healthy Foods for February

February is American Heart month. This February marks the 51st anniversary of American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., claiming more lives than all cancers combined. It is important for us to take a serious look at what we can do to lower our risk for heart disease this month and throughout the year. I will share with you the following tips to get started on your path toward Heart Health.

Be active. Physical activity is one of the best ways to fight off heart disease and other chronic conditions. Any amount of activity is better than nothing. However at least 30 minutes a day is ideal. If you can’t devote a full 30 minutes, split your exercise into 10-minute segments.

Maintain a healthy diet. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in fat and sugar. High fiber foods can help prevent high cholesterol.

Aim for a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight especially in your mid-section is hard on the heart and can increase risk for diabetes. Losing 5-10% of your starting weight can make a big difference in your blood pressure and blood sugar.

Know your numbers. Have your levels checked. Staying informed will allow you to better manage your heart and prevent certain health conditions from developing.

Dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day? My answer would be “yes”. Why?

  1. Dark chocolate may give your brain a boost. Dark chocolate, made from the seed of the cocoa tree, is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
  2. Cocoa may calm your blood pressure.
  3. Dark chocolate can help you lower your cholesterol. There are a number of products out there to help lower cholesterol. But by all means, don’t use dark chocolate as a license to purchase a case of dark chocolate. It is just an added benefit.
  4. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower your risk of heart disease. Keep in mind these dark chocolates should contain at least 50-70% cocoa.

Another tip: these dark chocolates should be sweetened with natural healthy sweeteners, not refined sugars. Where can you find these healthy sweeteners? “At the Health Patch” of course!

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, ph:736-1030, e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Circulatory System: The Heart of Good Health

The circulatory system is made up of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries with the primary function of carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell of the body as well as carrying away waste from each of those cells. The circulatory system also works intricately with the immune system to carry white blood cells and the endocrine system as an avenue to deliver hormones to tissues.

This system is vital for good health in every area of our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies and when circulation is impaired, tissues can begin to deteriorate and begin to lose function. Some common symptoms of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, poor memory, poor wound healing, and a pale complexion. Diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes can increase heart disease and poor wound healing by decreasing the circulatory system when there is a constant high glucose level in the blood. It is imperative to keep the circulatory flow to every tissue of the body and there are some wonderful herbs that help us achieve that goal.

Capsicum– has long been used as a circulatory stimulant. Its alkaloid, capsaicin, is what causes the herb to be hot. It is also the active part that is responsible for the ability of the herb to stimulate circulation. By helping to increase circulation, Capsicum has been useful in lowering blood pressure and in aiding in the healing of wounds. This herb is often blended with other herbs to work as a catalyst in getting the medicinal properties throughout the body. Capsicum is also rich in Vitamin C and E as well as other antioxidants known for their ability to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Ginkgo Biloba– this herb has a group of antioxidants known as bioflavonoids that help increase circulation, particularly to the brain and extremities. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Ginkgo Biloba for improving blood flow to the brain, helping to improve memory loss, depression, headaches, and ringing in the ears.

Butcher’s Broom-this effective herb received its name from one of its uses many years ago. Butchers would tie several of the shrub branches together and use it to sweep their carving blocks clean. Butcher’s Broom is a vascular tonic which means it helps strengthen the veins and improve circulation, particularly to the lower body. Because it helps strengthen veins, it can be very helpful for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. This herb is also rich in iron, chromium, and B3. Due to its ability to strengthen the veins, this can cause the vessels to constrict and slightly increase blood pressure. Take caution if you have high blood pressure.

Hawthorn Berries– this herb loves the heart and helps protect it from oxygen deficiency. The Rutin, Quercetin, and other bioflavonoids in this herb help dilate and relax arteries, enhancing circulation to the heart. This increase in circulation and oxygen helps it to strengthen and normalize heart beats as well as help lower
blood pressure.

Garlic– the herb that those mythical creatures avoid is one that helps improve many circulatory problems. Garlic can help prevent the formation of clots in the circulatory system by inhibiting the clumping together of blood cells called platelets. Garlic is also a circulatory tonic, helping to strengthen and dilate circulatory vessels that can help reduce blood pressure.

In most of the herbs presented here, there is a rich presence of bioflavonoids that are important nutrients for the circulation. Foods such as blueberries, citrus fruits and pomegranate are rich in bioflavonoids. Pomegranate also enhance nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the body. Nitric Oxide’s important function is as a vasodilator—opening up the blood vessels—and this helps lower blood pressure.

Finally, an herb that can help with the stress and emotional component of good circulation is Holy Basil. This herb is an adaptogen and helps the body adapt to stress and helps protect the heart from stress as well as helps lower blood pressure connected to daily stress.

If you would like to learn more about how to better strengthen the circulatory system and help alleviate the conditions that can come from poor circulation, contact us here at The Healthpatch.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

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.

A Healthy Heart

heart, healthSince heart disease still reigns as the number one killer of both men and women, let’s look at some supplements that will help you maintain a healthy heart.

Much has been written about the heart benefits of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Interestingly, even the FDA has approved the making of claims for the heart-healthy benefits of this outstanding supplement. I personally think it is the “missing link” in most of our supplement programs. Unless you eat a minimum of three four-ounce servings of cold-water, fatty fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, etc.) each week, you should consider taking this oil. Recommended dosages are 1500mg of both EPA & DHA (the fatty acids!) each day. They are wonderful anti-inflammatories for your whole body but are especially beneficial for the heart.

Research shows that low levels of the amino acid l-taurine has been associated with heart weakness. So a “free amino acid” supplement may also be of benefit. The amino acid l-arginine is combined with molecular oxygen to make the neurotransmitter nitric acid which aids in maintaining blood pressure as a potent vasodilator. And another important amino acid for the heart is l-carnitine. This amino acid is a part of every muscle cell. It draws fatty acid molecules into the mitochondria, where they are burned to produce energy. In doing so, the levels of blood triglycerides are reduced. A deficiency of l-carnitine can result in the buildup of fat in muscles, heart, and liver.

Among heart-healthy herbs, the most commonly known is hawthorn berries. These berries simply treat the heart as a muscle and serve to give it added strength. They make the heart last longer and balance the heart and circulatory system. This is a plant that truly seems to target the tissues of the heart. Researchers believe that it helps the heart in several ways. It dilates coronary arteries to improve blood supply, it may increase the heart’s pumping force, it may eliminate heart-rhythm irregularities, and it helps remove cholesterol from artery walls. It has been used long-term to reduce angina attacks and to prevent cardiac complications in elderly patients with pneumonia and influenza.

Other supplements that can lead to a healthier heart include the following. The heart needs potassium to help control blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Vitamin E and selenium should be taken together because they are co-dependent in the body and are both antioxidants that protect the body (especially the heart) from the damaging effects of chemically active pollutants. Unprotected fats become rancid when they oxidize. The heart requires a regular supply of the Co-enzyme Q10 to help move energy and increase the efficiency of cellular metabolism. And calcium and magnesium (in the proper ratio) are needed to control the heart’s beat.

So, if you are ready to improve your heart’s health and live longer, consider adding some of these supplements to your daily routine, stop smoking, and maintain your weight in a healthy range. Also remember, 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.

Your Cardiovascular System

Every day your heart beats over 100,000 times in order to push 2,000 – 5,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Astounding, huh? Heart disease is still the number one cause of death for both men and women. Over 600,000Americans die from heart disease each year, accounting for about one out of every four deaths. One-fourth of all Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.

This is the body system that is responsible for transporting nutrients to the cells and removing waste from the cells. It includes the heart itself which does the pumping. The arteries are living tubes which allow nutrients to be delivered to all parts of the body. The capillaries are the tiniest of the blood vessels which allow the blood to reach even the smallest areas of the body.  The veins do the return trip to carry waste from the cells back to the kidneys and lungs.

Problems within this system may be many. Just a few include:

  • Cholesterol buildup. Cholesterol is necessary for at least three actions in the body:
    1. the production of some hormones,
    2. as a building block for human tissues, and
    3. assisting in bile production in the liver for digestive purposes.

But too much can clog the arteries and raise blood pressure.

  • High blood pressure. Too much pressure can stress the heart and rupture blood vessels among other things.
  • Arterial plaque. Besides restricting artery sizes, it can also increase blood pressure and stress the heart.
  • Poor circulation through insufficient movement or degenerative vessels can cause restricted blood flow and hardening of the arteries and veins themselves.
  • Acne and skin problems. If wastes can’t be removed normally, the body pushes toxins to the skin surface causing skin problems such as rashes, eczema, and so on.

A well-functioning cardiovascular system requires:

  • proper nutrients,
  • adequate water to keep liquids in the body in balance,
  • and exercise to activate the system components and control of stress within the body.

Keep the system in balance and it will serve you well for a full, viable lifetime.

–  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.