Updated: Mar 18, 2021
A HOT topic... for good reason!
Cardiovascular related diseases and deaths have exponentially increased in numbers over the last hundred years. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, heart disease was not commonly known, and even unknown in many areas.
Your heart beats 2.5 billion times throughout your lifetime; pumping millions of gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels throughout your body. Delivering vital nutrients and oxygen, while moving out waste from all of your organs, tissues and cells. It fuels hormones, vital for your immune system, transports minerals and other nutrients, and balances the pH of your body as well.
Problems with this system, can cause issues for many areas of your body. Due to our current lifestyles, cardiovascular problems are prevalent throughout society, and only continuing to get worse.
Unfortunately, conventional medicine, as well as our governing establishments that make healthcare policies, do not have a good answer when it comes to creating a healthy cardiovascular system, and helping people either prevent heart disease, or reverse disease to a state of health. Both of which are possible when viewing and approaching your health from a different lens.
Before accepting the infamous, ‘Oh, well there’s nothing you can do about it… here’s a statin/high blood pressure med’…
Or, “Just eat better and exercise”.
… closer… but what does that even mean??
Yes, heart disease has been a top killer in the United States (and many Westernized countries) for many decades now, and continues to exponentially worsen.
Like I said, heart disease was a new phenomenon at the beginning of the 20th century. Humans have survived for eons without being riddled by heart disease (or cancer, neurological conditions, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, or most other chronic diseases).
Genes do NOT change that fast. Small genetic shifts happen over thousands of years, major ones over 10s of thousands of years.
All of which can be attributed to changes in lifestyle.
The good news? Since it is a lifestyle related issue… we can address and correct these lifestyle components to prevent and reverse damage done.
It’s time to take your health into your own hands. Your primary care physician is NOT going to do it for you, and most chances are, won’t even provide you with the right tools to do so.
Let’s take a REAL look into what you CAN do to improve the overall health of your cardiovascular system. Based on truth. Meaning, true principles of health that is backed by unbiased research and sound science.
Top tips to improve heart health
(Which, will improve your overall health as well!)
Simple changes can go a long way.
Decrease inflammatory foods
Cut out the sugar and excess carbs
Eat good fats
Lots of veggies, herbs, and nutrient dense foods
Quality animal products
Clean water and broad spectrum minerals
Refined, processed oils.
Vegetable, peanut, soy, Canola.
One of the top promoters of inflammation. Most seed oils are high in omega-6 fats, which is what leads to this phenomenon, which leads to systemic oxidative stress throughout the body. Leading to oxidized LDL and atherosclerosis. Which in turn leads to the ‘hardening’ of arteries that we so commonly hear about.
Sugar, excess carbs
High blood sugar levels promotes inflammation. Through a complex series of events during the inflammatory process, damage to the cardiovascular system can occur. The lining of the blood vessels take a hit when there’s chronic inflammation and glycated cholesterol particles. And no, cholesterol is NOT the primary culprit.
Good healthy fats:
All fats are NOT created equal.
Bad fats will destroy cellular integrity and increase systemic inflammation.
Damaged, rancid, processed fats wreck havoc on your system.
Good fats are required for good cellular function, hormone optimization, and reduction in inflammation.
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Needed for proper cell function, and the production of prostaglandins which modulate inflammation.
Cold-water fatty fish like wild caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, etc. Pasture raised animals and eggs. Organic hemp, chia and flax seeds.
Inflammation busting foods:
VARIETY: Work in all colors of the rainbow!
Work in foods with a high ORAC value
Plenty of dark greens
Add in veggies you typically shy away from at the grocery store: Bok choy, chard, sprouts, saurkraut,
All of these will also have a plethora of antioxidants that will also help scavenge free radicals and provide the body with the necessary compounds to help with inflammation and the resulting damage.
Fresh foods will also provide your body with the proper nutrients; vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to aid in proper cardiovascular function and healing too.
Powerful Herbs n Roots
Garlic : Contains allacin; has been shown to improve cardiovascular function and blood pressure.
Ginger, Turmeric - Powerful anti-inflammatories.
Boost nitric oxide
Beets, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, free-range turkey
Foods that promote nitric oxide production contain L-arginine, which is an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide. Naturally boosting these levels will help with endothelial function. This is the inside layer of the blood vessels that needs to function optimally to promote good blood flow throughout the body.
Cauliflower, spinach, and broccoli are all high in CoQ10. Although your body naturally produces CoQ10, production diminishes with age, and it’s a necessary component for cardiovascular function.
It's worth investing in a quality water purification system. Although we can all be grateful for plumbing and water clean-up plants, there is still a disgusting amount of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other impurities in the water.
Check out more:
What's in your tapwater? https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/
Water filter buying guide: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/water-filter-guide.php
Countless enzymes, hormones, systems, and quite literally every cell in the body require minerals to function. Magnesium for instance is a well documented mineral that has 800+ different functions in the body.
Sodium is unfairly demonized for 'causing' high blood pressure. It's an oversimplified association that doesn't hold merit in the literature. Consuming excess amount of processed 'table salt' is not good for your health, as it's an unnatural combination of just.. sodium, and chloride (instead of a wide spectrum of minerals that are naturally found in sea salt or Himalayan salt).
Consuming naturally derived sea salt or Himalayan salt is a powerful addition to your daily diet. Especially when you've cut out most processed foods, and don't eat out for every meal; you won't be over-doing it on salt. Your body requires an ample amount of minerals, and when you're deprived, it can lead to all sorts of underlying health issues.
Your heart beats ~115,000 times per day... Is your heart getting the right control signals?
Your autonomic nervous system is essential in controlling heart and cardiovascular function, as well as every other automatic function of the body.
It’s quite simple, if your cardiovascular system is not getting the right signals, it will not function properly. Leading to dysfunction. When dysfunction is left for years, uncorrected, disease will progress and cause bigger issues down the road.
What’s the most important thing to check between your heart and your central nervous system?
The fundamental premise of what I check through chiropractic is how well the spine is aligned and functioning. Balancing the spine will support the health and integrity of the nervous system, allowing for optimal function of every system of the body.
A specific analysis and assessment can unveil imbalances in the spine that can affect the nervous system. Xrays in particular can show these specific alignment issues, which typically reside in the upper cervical (neck) region, as well as the upper thoracic spine (upper back-across the shoulders). These findings direct the special treatment of these misalignments and imbalances in the spine, through advanced spinal correction techniques.
Chiropractic adjustments, and helping reduce stress on the spine and nervous system, will assist in Improving heart rate variability (HRV). This is a hot topic in many circles as improving this metric essentially equates to improving overall function of the autonomic nervous system; the part of our nervous system that controls all organ systems and automatic functions of the body. HRV is a measurement of the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and an optimally balanced nervous system will provide an optimal environment for your physiology.
Chronic stress will promote elevated cortisol levels, blood pressure. Chronic stress tends to promote activities and lifestyle factors that lead to further issues. Smoking, drinking, consuming comfort foods, fast food, etc are all things we see when people are stressed. There are endless ways to help identify and mitigate life stressors.
Get outside. Move your body. Do some easy breathing exercises. Dump the toxic things/people/place/thoughts infiltrating your mindset and keeping you stuck. Find the good in life.
Easy to say. Harder to do. It's a process. And in the process, we learn who we really are and let our inner selfs shine.
Reduced sleep, and even poor sleep patterns have been showed to lead to reduced cardiovascular function and eventually disease.
Poor recovery will also affect heart rate variability.
Our bodies are designed to move. When we sit stagnant all day, our cardiovascular system doesn’t have to pump nutrients and oxygen throughout the body as efficiently as it should. Just getting consistent movement throughout the day can dramatically improve the blood flow throughout the body, improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all the tissues and organ systems.
The benefits of movement and exercise for the cardiovascular system are insurmountable. Regular exercise is associated with a lower rate of... well, quite literally every disease, and can decrease your chance of overall mortality by 30-50%. There's no drug on the planet that can even SCRATCH that. I'm wasting space trying to convince you, as I'm sure you're already aware of the importance here. What you may not know, or just need to hear again, is that ANY movement is far better than none. So if you're not currently doing anything consistent, you don't have to feel overwhelmed by starting an intense workout regime. Just get moving!
Do whatever is enjoyable, and keeps you consistent. It will pay off more than you know!
References and Resources
"Heart rate is controlled by the two branches of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases the hormones (catecholamines - epinephrine and norepinephrine) to accelerate the heart rate. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) releases the hormone acetylcholine to slow the heart rate."