So many individuals have stepped up their game on taking preventative care for their cardiovascular system by making exercise more of a weekly routine. Even cutting down on fatty fried foods, sugar or by increasing good sources of fiber as well as more whole foods.
Yet heart disease remains the #1 killer disease in America with the CDC(Center for Disease Control) reports every 42 seconds someone dies from some form of heart disease in the U.S. While one in every three lives with coronary vascular disease, making it well over 80 million people who present with unhealthy cholesterol levels.
As you’re probably aware, the cause is inflammation that activates an immune response which silently causes chronic challenges, tipping the balance of health. With our circulatory system consisting of arteries, veins and capillaries that would extend for thousand of miles and responsible for bringing nutrients, oxygen while carrying out waste. It’s working 24/7 in stealth mode as we go about our daily life and for which, we often take for granted.
Gluten, wheat and their lectins provoke an inflammatory response in everyone! In about 80% of people they precipitate changes to the intestinal wall which then allows various compounds, food particles and bacteria along with their immune suppressing toxic components like lipopolysaccharides to enter the bloodstream. This is why today individuals are more susceptible to diabetes, cardiovascular and auto immune disease.
Embracing an anti-inflammatory lifestyle thwarts the progression of chronic diseases. As the inflamed area in the cardiovascular system accumulates cholesterol, dead blood cells, minerals and larger protein particles like calcium that with time can become oxidized or calcified leading to a buildup of tissue. Arteries become less flexible and narrower causing blockages or if plaque deposits break free in a critical area a heart attack or stroke will occur. Another condition that is on the rise is peripheral vascular disease especially in diabetics, that which constricted inflamed arteries also limit the circulation to the extremities causing pain and tissue damage.
We now understand that lifestyle changes are key, as eating too much of the wrong things has left us sick, fat, undernourished and with leaking guts also known as leaky gut syndrome. Removing non-nutritional white flour products, sugar, processed foods, hydrogenated (trans fat)products, genetically modified food sources including gluten is the first step towards building a better you, but yet, research reveals how a compromised micro biome is how it begins. Yes, you must heal your gut to heal your heart that could ultimately save your life.
The three main warning signs of silent inflammation that should be monitored: High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. When these markers are ignored and inflammation remains smoldering like an out of control fire that slowly brings the body out of balance, like the fire alarm continually going off and no one’s responding to the emergency call. Blood tests should be taken on C-reactive protein, homocysteine markers, hemoglobin, a metabolic & lipid panel, plus a test for liver functioning.
Any deficiency of vital nutrients and minerals should be considered a warning sign that the gut is compromised especially if levels of vital D3 are low, which is responsible for keeping the junction gaps tightened in the small intestine. If these gaps widen it is a sure sign that the inflammation is running amuck systemically. If you present with debilitating Osteopenia and/or Osteoporosis, run down with iron deficient Anemia, battle with a compromised immune system suggesting zinc and vitamin C are insufficient or have any auto-immune disorder from thyroid to cancer its essential now to clean up your circulatory system.
PREVENTING CIRCULATORY ISSUES
When understanding the impact that prevention can have, the first simple changes that will improve cardiovascular health is to become more active, manage stress daily, all while consuming anti-inflammatory foods and increasing digestive health habits in the following manners:
- GO FOR THE GREENS, that includes lots of leafy greens, spinach, kale, arugula, dandelion, ocean and sea vegetables like dulse, kumbo, wakeme, nori, chlorella, sprulina and algae that deliver necessary vitamins and minerals. One of these being magnesium which is essential for heart and muscle function as its been proven to lower blood pressure all while reducing stress. Not only will a daily dose of greens deliver energy but B vitamins have been shown to reduce homocysteine in the blood stream and help to build up a better gut flora. I like to include green tea in this category as it has awesome compounds to not only reduce cholesterol but keep it from oxidizing. Bottom line is that those who regularly drink green tea have been shown to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease up to 31%.
- ANTIOXIDANT UP to support the immune system with some citrus fruits like berries, kiwi’s and pomegranates. Vitamin C is for circulatory rich fruits that help absorb the arterial fat accumulation, reduce oxidative stress, inflammation as well as lowering blood pressure.
- ADD SOME SPICE TO YOUR LIFE with tumeric being well studied for its amazing inflammation reducing properties that will promote healthy circulation. Cayenne pepper also good for the circulatory system giving the hearts pathways a cleansing. Digestively it lowers the bodies acidity and has detoxing properties as a bonus.
- FUEL UP ON FIBER at least 25-40 grams per day to improve on regularity and lowering cholesterol. If you don’t eat enough soluble fiber then bile can build up in the body and repeatedly get re-circulated in our system becoming more concentrated with toxins that can lead to inflammation and immune related disorders including cancer. The more fiber in the diet the less likely the liver will need to pull cholesterol out of the gall bladder and better for cleaning up that which is destructively within the blood. As fiber helps the liver clear up fat-soluble waste it also deals with excess estrogen that also gets dumped back into the bloodstream becoming the culprit which can stimulate the growth of abnormal cells. High fiber diets of nutrient dense pseudo-grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet and steel cut oats. Lentils, beans, pea’s, almonds, and brazil nuts are examples of soluble fiber. One large pear has the highest soluble fiber content, with about 3 grams each. Apples, blueberries, plums, strawberries, fresh and dried apricots, bananas, oranges, cherries, dates, peaches, cantaloupe, grapefruits, grapes and pineapple are all good sources of soluble fiber. Vegetables like parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts, spinach, squash, string beans, cabbage, baked sweet potato, turnips, broccoli, kale and zucchini all contain at least 1 gram of soluble fiber per serving so load up on these sources of whole foods.
- EMPHASIZE ON HEALTHY FATS that your metabolic engine needs. Good sources like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, wild caught salmon, sardines, flax seeds, chia seeds and nuts. These omega 3 fatty acid foods make red blood cells more slippery reducing the risk of clotting, nourishing the brain and they’re vital for quelling inflammation. Most importantly, avoid the toxic trans fats, excess sugar, sweeteners and processed meats and foods in a box that contain genetically modified ingredients. Look for the GMO project label for safe ingredients.
- OPT TO BOOST YOUR GUT FLORA as the guts micro-biome is essential for one’s overall health and well-being. Acidophilus and Bifidus are essential flora for intestinal health to help with absorption, immune defenses and prevent any re-absorption of cholesterol from lower intestines, the overgrowth of candida yeast,
digestive disorders to allergies and other pathogens.
- HELP YOUR HORMONES by knowing that food releases these chemical messengers, that are responsible for optimal functioning and balance to all the organs and systems of the body. By simply eating a diet of whole fresh foods that contains minimal packaging you can substantially reduce chemically laden foods and exposure to phthalates, BPA, and dioxins. Our drinking water and the leaching of toxic plastic from water bottle usage is a bigger factor in disrupting hormones, growth factors, enzymes and more seriously modulate processes that cause cancer. Excess estrogen enhances the risk for developing coronary artery disease and why xenoestrogen’s need to be on the watch list. That means its not only what you put in your body, but also what you put on your body or inhale. As personal care products, perfume, makeup, sunblocks and even laundry detergents chemicals can mimic estrogen(xenohormones) leading to elevated levels of recycled estrogen in the body. For women going thru menopause and simultaneously, the drop of good estrogen is what levels the playing field for women and men regarding heart disease risk. Once the effects of naturally occurring hormones wears off, cholesterol can crystalize and blood vessels become stiffer because of a lack of our fountain of youth. Menopause is the time of a woman’s life if one hasn’t already begun to take responsibility of creating healthier and sustainable lifestyle habits.
- POWER UP WITH POLYPHENOLS that come from the naturally occurring antioxidant substances from some amazing plants. They increase the number of mitochondria found in all of our cells giving us vital energy, defend against oxidative stress especially as we age, help in DNA repair and they become a powerful fighter of inflammation and disease. Scientists have discovered that resveratrol and a combination of other polyphenols(blueberries, muscadine grape, goji berries, pomegranates and other berry bearing plants) inhibit the formation of AGE proteins that naturally occur with aging. With a product known as Vivix that is said to be 13X more powerful than resveratrol alone it’s been studied to activate a key genetic regulator called Nrf2 that downgrades cellular stress and strongly impacts the aging process. Who doesn’t want to age more gracefully? So power up your defenses with more polyphenols by boosting your antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, E and selenium(gotta love, brazil nuts for this) while consuming a healthier plant based diet.
- GOT GARLIC, if not, you might want to include this gem that lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, increases white blood cells and has properties that are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
- BETTER “B” SURE because of our compromised and leaky guts due to the American diet, stress, the consumption of carby snack foods, alcohol, too much sugar intake, medications and lack of good bacteria it’s recommended to take a vitamin B complex to promote a healthier cardiovascular system especially if you’re not a big plant based eater or like myself, prefer to supplement daily with a powdered supergreen food. This berry tasting supergreen powder is a real winner and can be found here.
- REMEMBER YOUR REDS and I’m not referring to a full bodied merlot although there’s one glass I do enjoy and used to give myself consent being its comprised with antioxidant rich grapes. I’m talking…pomegranates, tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, beets, red or chili peppers that all contain compounds that support protecting pathways to the heart.
- COQ10 FOR THE COMPROMISED CARDIOVASCULAR INDIVIDUALS as its been linked and medically acknowledged that Coenzyme Q10 is vital for heart health and used in treatment for congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina and arrhythmia to help produce heart pumping mojo to its cells and other major organs.
Nourish harmony within for good health from my heart to yours.