With February being Heart Health Awareness Month, I wanted to talk about some things we can all do to promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
1)Stress management techniques are extremely important to heart health. Stress Kills! Or at least, the effects of chronic stress on our bodies will cause inflammation, lipid dysregulation, blood sugar disruption, and gut microbiome disruption, leading to chronic disease. A great way to manage stress is to incorporate meditation or prayer into your day. This can be as simple and short as 2 minutes twice a day. Box breathing is also a simple, effective way to lower your stress response. To perform box breathing, you just inhale over 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale over 4 seconds, and hold completely exhaled for 4 seconds. You don’t have to focus so much on the time, just focus on slowing your breathing, while inhaling and exhaling completely. Do this for 2 minutes at a time, and then do 2 sessions per day. It works great if you stop and do this when you feel very stressed, but also works any time of the day.
2)Blood sugar control is very important in heart health. Extreme spikes in blood sugar will, over time, cause insulin resistance and inflammation in the body. These can lead to Type II Diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease. But even before progression to Type II Diabetes, the damage is already occurring on your cardiovascular system. So, what should you do? Focus on starting your day with a blood-sugar balancing breakfast. This can be a smoothie or a meal that is rich in protein, healthy fat, fiber, and leafy green vegetables. I, personally, love a smoothie in the mornings because I can quickly get in a ton of nutrients and feel full until well past midday. If we start our day off on the right foot, it is easier to make healthy choices the rest of the day because we aren’t on a blood-sugar roller-coaster. PDLabs carries several clean protein powders to use in your smoothies. My favorite is Opticleanse GHI, the stevia-free, and sugar-free chocolate flavor. (check out January’s newsletter for my go-to smoothie recipe)
3)Exercise is important to heart health, as well. This helps lower feelings of stress and increase lean muscle mass. By doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise 4-5 times per week, we can lower the risk of a future cardiovascular event. (see January’s newsletter for more info on exercise)
4)Supplements are also an important part of promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. Aged Garlic Extract by Wakunaga is an extremely powerful supplement to help control lipid levels and decrease inflammation, along with supporting gut health. Also, for those already on a statin or blood pressure medication, these medications can deplete Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant vital to heart health. So, it is important to supplement with CoQ10 to help combat this nutrient depletion, and PDLabs’ brand CoQ10 is also a good supplement on its own for cardiovascular health. PDlabs carries these supplements, so we can help you get started.
5)Are you just not sure where to start or are you wondering how far away from healthy are you? We can help!
We are now offering virtual or telephone wellness consultations with our pharmacists to help put you on a path to health.