Heart Healthy in February

When we think of February, we may think of it being COLD OUTSIDE, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day , or if you live in an ever-changing climate like I do, you may be dreaming of a mini vacation somewhere warm.

February is American Heart Month and the Go Red for Women National campaign to raise awareness that heart disease is not just a male-dominated one, but affects half of all Americans, male and female alike. The most common cause is coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular disease, despite many efforts through the years to reduce the incidences, is still the #1 cause of death in the US. You may wonder why the recommendations to stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise and lowering cholesterol are not working?!

Did you know that your HEART is the most important muscle in your body and  beats on average 108,000 times per day? But did you also know that your heart is NOT just a pump  flooding the body with blood? It is also a two-way signaling system to the brain. Affected by stress and EMOTIONS  (HEARTMATH.org),  many doctors have noticed that heart attacks occur with more frequency in the months just after severe emotional trauma—loss of a spouse or close friend, bankruptcy, layoff or disappointment. We know that grief changes many aspects of the body chemistry, making us more vulnerable to all sorts of diseases—not just heart disease but also cancer, allergies, tuberculosis and depression. An unhappy marriage can break a woman’s heart, figuratively and literally.

Apart from the usual list of contributing factors to heart disease,  NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES play a huge role in how your heart functions. How are nutritional deficiencies created? Among others, consuming low-fat, processed foods high in sugars and artificial ingredients along with over- the- counter and prescription medications, stress, and lack of sleep.

The best way to protect your heart health is to:

  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables (preferably organic) on a daily basis, making sure to include nitrate-rich leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, magnesium- and quercetin-rich varieties.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Exercise regularly but you needn’t overdo. A brisk daily walk, 10 minutes on the trampoline, swimming, and sports are all appropriate.
  • Avoid being overweight by eating nutrient-dense foods and keeping sweets to a minimum, but avoid crash dieting.
  • Don’t work too hard. Counteract stress by doing something that you love to do everyday. During periods of unavoidable hardship or loss, increase consumption of foods rich in protective nutrients.
  • As much as possible, avoid exposure to fumes, chemicals, pollutants and pesticides.
  • Avoid all processed foods labeled “lowfat” or that contain polyunsaturated vegetable oils, hydrogenated fats, white flour, refined sugar and additives.
  • Consume high-quality animal products including a variety of seafood and milk, butter, cheese, eggs, meat, fats and organ meats from animals raised on green pasture.
  • Ensure sufficient mineral intake by using whole dairy products; bone broths; and whole grains, legumes and nuts that have been properly prepared to reduce phytic acid and other factors that block mineral absorption.
  • Supplement the diet with foods rich in protective factors including small amounts of cod liver oil (vitamins A and D)
  • Soy, already bad for your health, has also been proven to lead to a higher likelihood of heart disease, so avoid it.
  • Notice that I did not mention CHOLESTEROL because contrary to what you may have heard, it is NOT what causes or contributes to heart disease. Cholesterol is heart protective and needed for maintaining cell membranes and producing sex hormones. When arteries have cholesterol plaque it is also thought to be the RESULT of damage to the vessel walls wherein cholesterol goes to patch up the damaged lining.

LOVE is a positive high frequency emotion which can heal and help us overcome obstacles. Studies of the heart’s rhythms have discovered that when we feel love, or any positive emotion such as compassion, caring, or gratitude, the heart sends messages to the brain and secretes hormones that positively affect our health.

The HEART SOUND RECORDER (endocardiograph) is a tool we use to measure the rate, rhythm, and tone of the heart valves. The old saying “the heart feeds first” means your heart can show nutritional needs before they manifest in other organs. If interested in more information, please contact our office : 410 628-9355

Dr. MaryAnn

 

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