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5 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy.

February is Heart Health month. That doesn’t mean February is the only month you should be concerned about the health of your heart, but it is a good time to re-evaluate your heart healthy habits. We all know that exercise and a well balanced diet go a long way to keep your ticker going strong but what else can you do? Incorporating the following 5 simple lifestyle habits can go along way to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and stroke.  Heart disease is a progressive condition that can start early in life but can also be prevented or controlled by making smart lifestyle choices. Follow a heart-healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, do what you can to reduce stress and live a life of moderation and you will be well on your way to maintaining a healthy heart.

  1. Eat Healthy Fats NOT Trans Fats – We all need fat in our diet. Fats are essential in many processes throughout the body and should be eaten in moderation at every meal. Not only do they give us energy but they are essential for generating new cells, transporting vitamins, protecting the brain and regulating many bodily processes. That being said, not all fats are created equal. The North American Diet is high in fat but can be very low in “healthy fat”. There are three general types of fat including:
    • Healthy Saturated Fat (solid at room temperature ie: butter, animal fat, coconut oil)
    • Healthy Unsaturated fat (Omega 6 plant oils ie: nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and Omega 3 fish oils)
    • Unhealthy Trans Fat (primarily artificially made through hydrogenation and present in fast food, fried food and commercial baked goods)
  2. Get Enough Sleep – Sleep is essential to good health. When we are sleeping our body does its work, repairing and regenerating itself. Lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Good sleep habits including reducing screen time before bed, sleeping in a dark room and maintaining a consistent sleep time. All which can help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
  3. Reduce Stress  – Stress can wreak havoc on your body and your overall health. How much stress you experience and how you react to it can lead to a wide variety of health problems including an increase risk for heart disease including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Stress can negatively affect your sleep, zap your energy levels and create tension in relationships. Finding ways to reduce your stress and mitigate your response to stress can go a long way to improving your health. Tools like meditation, exercise and a healthy diet can help deal with high stress situations. Adaptogen herbs such as Ashwaganda or supplements like L-Theanine can also help with stress management.
  4. Practice Good Dental Hygiene – It may seem unconnected but studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Brush and floss daily to prevent gum disease and reduce your risk of heart disease. Increasing the healthy bacteria (probiotics) in your body can also help defend against unwanted and dangerous bacteria.
  5. Consume Less Added Sugar- Not only will eating less sugar improve your dental hygiene it can also reduce your risk of dying of  heart disease. Added sugars make up at least 10% of the calories in the North American diet (can be as highs 25%). A 15 year study on added sugar and heart disease published in JAMA Internal Medicine, resulted in solid findings that  the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet—and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index. Sugar sweetened beverages (pop, energy drinks, juice punches) are by far the biggest source of added sugar in our diets but cookies, cakes, candy, and other sweet foods also contribute. Sugar has also been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Reducing sugar intake to less than 100 calories (women) or 150 calories (men) can have a positive effect not only on the health of your heart but on digestion, joint pain, cognitive function and more.
Who Gets Your Heart Pumping?FBCover-2

Facebook Contest – Who Gets Your Heart Pumping?

February is all about the heart. It is officially Heart Health month and St. Valentines Day and we want to know who gets your heart pumping. Go to our Facebook page to enter. Find the “Who Gets Your Heart Pumping” Post and tag a friend in the comments. Your friend may be anyone – your confidant, partner, neighbour, relative or other. All entrants will be entered into a draw to win a Heart Healthy Gift including at 17oz Insulated S’well water bottle and a basket of quality supplements to support heart health. ( Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega 3’s and more). If you are the winner, your tagged friend will also win a $20 Granary Gift Certificate.

Contest is open to all age of majority residents in Ontario. Entires must be received by 12:00 noon on February 10, 2018. Winner will be announced on Facebook February 11, 2018. Prize must be picked up in-store at 107 Bridge St. Carleton Place Ontario.

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Keep Your Ticker Ticking!

February is Health Health Month. This Valentines Day really tell someone you love them by taking care of yourself.  Through diet, exercise and supplementation many risk factors for heart disease and stroke can be minimized or even eliminated.

The following article was written by Nelson Narciso, DNM, product educator for Body Plus.   For more great health articles check out his website at keepwell.ca

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the second leading cause of death in Canada, second only to cancer. Statistics Canada reported in 2009 that heart disease accounted for 20.7 percent of all deaths, that works out to be just over 71,000 Canadians. Men account for a slight majority of heart disease deaths at 21.6 percent and women are just below at 19.7 percent. These numbers should hopefully dispel the commonly held belief that men are at much greater risk than women. On a positive note heart disease and stroke related deaths have declined 33 percent since 20003 but with 71, 000 annual deaths far too many Canadians are still dying unnecessarily.

Diet 

Fortunately heart disease can be readily prevented through strategic dietary, lifestyle and supplement choices. A heart healthy diet has been shown to lower the risk of dying from a heart-related reason by an incredible 35 percent! When you break down some of the figures by the type of cardiovascular event they’re equally impressive: a 14 percent risk reduction of having a heart attack, a 28 percent reduction of congestive heart failure and a 19 percent drop in stroke.

There are some basic dietary principles that are proven to be effective at reducing the risk of CVD. One commonsensical and well researched dietary strategy is to simply consume more fruits and vegetables. Researchers have shown that for every 1 serving of a day increase of fruits or vegetables there’s a subsequent 4 percent drop in coronary heart disease. Combine the two together and increase servings by more than one a day and one can expect even more dramatic results. Researchers at Oxford University published a study showing that consuming at least 8 portions of fruits and vegetables a day had a 22 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. Remember to vary your fruit choices and choose fruits and vegetables that reflect a rainbow of colours. These colourful foods are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals all of which are heart friendly.

Once upon a time fats were viewed by many as enemy number one when it came to heart health. This was especially true in allopathic circles were part of a heart healthy program was the avoidance of fats with little regard for differentiating the good from the bad. Fortunately the bad practice of clumping all fats into one category has passed. We now have evidence that healthy fats in fact support a healthy heart. Of particular importance are the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. These include fish, flax, chia, hemp, walnuts and dark leafy greens. Fish are an especially important source because they not only have the omega-3 fats alpha linolenic acid but they also posses the all important EPA and DHA fats needed for optimal health in general and heart health in specific. Polar opposite to healthy fats are trans fats. These have been shown to dramatically raise the risk of heart disease. Avoid foods that say trans or hydrogenated fats and don’t just read the “nutrition facts table” which often state zero trans fats but also read the ingredient list. Health Canada allows food manufacturers to state the food is free of trans fats when it has less than 0.2 grams per serving. The problem with this arises when someone has several servings of a so called trans-fat free food. Sugar has not only been shown to impact your waistline and type II diabetes but it has an impact on the heart as well. Sugar intake has been shown to increase several markers of heart disease. This may be in part due to the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which have been increasingly implicated in heart health especially for diabetics. Especially noteworthy is the fact that high fructose corn syrup is especially problematic in that it seems to have greater impact than does glucose.

Lifestyle

Like diet exercise has also been shown to play an important role in heart disease prevention. Exercise was shown to lower levels of a blood marker known as C-reactive protein that have been linked to an elevated risk of heart disease. Exercise benefits the heart in numerous ways: strengthens heart and cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, lowers bad LDL and raises good HDL cholesterol and helps with weight management. That being said you can have too much of a good thing. Research suggests that excess exercise, as in the case of marathon running, can cause permanent heart damage.

Exercise alone shouldn’t be the only lifestyle choice on makes. Reducing stress should be another. Chronic stress may in fact predict the occurrence of heart disease. It’s not entirely clear what mechanism or mechanisms are invoiced in this association but nonetheless it is worth noting. Theresore it is prudent to mange stress and engage in stress reducing activities like yoga and Thai Chi. In fact both have been shown in research to benefit the heart.

Supplementation

Although nothing is more important than diet and lifestyle, supplementation can play a very important supportive role. Hundreds of studies have shown the heart health benefits of supplementation. These include

Multivitamins (Progressive Multivitamins)
men and women that use a multi have fewer heart attacks than those that don’t
Antioxidants like vitamin A, C, E and beta carotene (Progressive Vitamin C Complex)
prevention of atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries.
protects vascular endothelium – cells that line interior surface of blood vessels
Fish Oils (Progressive OmegaEssentials)
lower high blood pressure
reduce inflammation
improve blood vessel elasticity
Vitamin D (Progressive Sunshine Burst)
low vitamin D levels were associated with increased rush of “heart failure, sudden
cardiac death, stroke, overall cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular death
Vegetables and Fruits
Average daily intakes are well below recommended levels making supplementation
with Progressive Vegegreens and Phytoberry prudent. These products are also rich
in antioxidants.
Whey Protein
May lower blood pressure reduce cholesterol and elevate glutathione
levels all of which are important to heart health, Harmonized Protein provides
not only whey but co-factors that support its adsorption and utilization
Veeva
Chronic stress is a well-known predictor of CVD24. Aside from adopting techniques
that can help manage stress (yoga, Qigong, tai chi, meditation) using a
comprehensive stress management product like veeva that has clinically proven
stress modulating ingredients is a wise idea.

Following a program that incorporates a healthy diet, balanced lifestyle and supportive supplementation one should dramatically lower the risk of developing heart disease and for those with it reverse it .

download article with full references “Keep You Ticker Ticking”:http://granary.ca/file_download/19/