Heart heath has been stereotyped as a man’s disease however more woman then men die from heart disease every year. According to the Mayo Clinic there are several different risk factors to heart disease in woman such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, mental stress and depression, inactivity and unbalanced levels of estrogen.
How to improve your heart health:
Eat healthy and control blood sugar. Unregulated blood sugar is a risk factor for pre-diabetes and diabetes. We know that when blood sugar is continuously elevated (above 100 on a fasted blood test) it can cause diabetes but also being hypoglycemic (low blood sugar below 65 on a fasted blood test) an also cause diabetes. It is important to keep blood sugar regulated throughout the day. You want to eat a diet filled with fiber rich vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbs throughout your day to help keep blood sugar stabilized. Foods also high in omega 3 are good for your heart health, e.g. wild salmon, almonds, walnuts. You also want to incorporate fresh berries, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, oats and sweet potatoes. Your fasted blood sugar should range from 85-99 mg/Dl.
Check your A1C. The A1C test is a good way to look at your blood sugar levels in addition to fasting glucose. The higher your A1C level is the greater the risk of diabetes and poor heart health.
Cholesterol gets a bad reputation but it’s not so much that cholesterol is the bad guy but what having high cholesterol is trying to tell us. High cholesterol is a sign that there is excess inflammation in your body and that your body is trying to repair itself by using cholesterol. In order to control your cholesterol be sure that you are controlling your simple sugar intake and follow the rules to healthy eating I have talked about previously.
The best supplements to help mange high blood lipid levels are red yeast rice extract, garlic extract, Pantethine (B5) and Chromium.
Balancing Estrogen. It has been shown that heart disease risk in woman increases as estrogen decreases after menopause. Some natural ways to help balance low estrogen are to avoid coffee and other caffeine. I know this is almost impossible for some woman so I would give advice to decrease caffeine as much as possible. Try to increase consumption of herbal teas or switch to decaf.
Add flaxseeds to your diet. Flaxseeds contain lignans which are estrogen like chemicals that also serve as antioxidants. Flax also has a good deal of fiber and be added to shakes or sprinkled over salads or yogurts, be sure to you are using ground flaxseeds.
Have more orgasms. Female orgasms and sexual stimulation raise estrodiol levels. Orgasms also raise oxytocin, which works with estrogen to buffer stress and lower cortisol.
Manage high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a direct risk of heart disease and should be managed accordingly. Keep your weigh within a healthy range and exercise regularly, drink in moderation and avoid smoking.
Manage stress and cortisol. Increased stress and excessive levels of cortisol can cause increased strain on the heart. Everyone’s life has stress but the way that you mange it helps to keep healthy. Add activities into your daily life to help lower cortisol like leisure walking, massage, acupuncture, practicing gratitude, meditation and yoga.
Exercise. Obviously exercise has a ton of benefits that I talk about all the time but it is extremely important to keeping your heart healthy. Doing cardiovascular exercise at least 3-4 times a week will help to keep blood and oxygen pumping through your body. You’re heart is a muscle and exercising it will help to keep it strong and healthy.
Healing the emotional part of the heart. The heart holds many emotions, we love with our heart, when we experience something sad in life we say we are heart broken. Paying attention to the emotional part of our body helps to keep our heart healthy also. Take a look at how you are handling love in your life. Are you harboring any feelings of resentment or anger? Are you holding back from loving or keeping yourself from feelings of love? Take time to really think about these questions and see if you need to heal any emotions to keep your heart healthy.
Have you ever noticed that after someone has a heart attack they usually take a whole new perspective on their life. They start to eat healthier, exercise, rethink their priorities in life and begin to live their life with new meaning.
Don’t wait till having a heart attack forces you to make changes in your life. Start making changes to live a healthier life now.