Our cardiovascular health is SO important. Whether you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, a personal history or have never experienced symptoms, it is incredibly important to ensure your heart is as healthy as possible. Here are my top tips for improving heart health naturally!
What we eat has a direct effect on our cardiovascular health. If we are eating processed foods, or foods high in unhealthy fat, our arteries will suffer. These foods can cause an accumulation of plaque on the artery walls, making them narrower, leading to a decrease in blood flow and potential heart risks. Studies show that the DASH diet (or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can help to decrease blood pressure. Following the dash diet has shown to decrease systolic blood pressure by up to 14 points! This diet consists of mainly consuming vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and fish.
Check out https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-eating/dash-diet for more information on this diet and how you can help to improve your cardiovascular health!
Movement is extremely important for our cardiovascular system. Getting the blood flowing, your heart pumping, your body sweating – are all key components to making sure your heart is working correctly. Our heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in our body, if you don’t use it – you lose it! Now, in the heart’s case, this means the less you exercise this key muscle, the weaker it will get, and as we age, the harder it will have to work to pump from one moment to the next. Daily movement is ideal, however, life can get busy and as long as you are getting 3 days a week with 45 minutes-1 hour of exercise in (make sure you are breaking a sweat and are out of breath for a portion of this exercise!), then this will dramatically improve the health of your heart!
We all know fish oil can help with inflammation and joint health, but did you know it could help improve our heart health too?! Studies show that fish oil supplementation can help to reduce triglyceride levels by 20-50%. That’s huge! Studies have also shown that supplementing with high-quality fish oil can help to preserve kidney function, reducing long term rise in blood pressure after a heart transplant. Fish oil can also be beneficial in preventing heart failure. A higher intake of fish oil is associated with a 15% reduction in heart failure! The American Heart Association advises patients with heart failure to supplement with fish oil daily.
Clinical evidence also suggests that fish oil decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension taking beta-blockers or diuretics medication. Fish oil supplementation reduces systolic blood pressure by 2.5-5.5 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.5-3.5 mmHg in patients suffering from hypertension. The quality of your fish oil is also important, so make sure when purchasing fish oil supplements, they are from a reputable supplement company with no added fillers, sweeteners or other ingredients.
There is research suggesting that low levels of this particular enzyme are associated with heart failure. Co-enzyme Q10 levels may be a predictor of mortality in patients with heart failure! A 2017 analysis of clinical research in patients with heart failure shows that taking 30-300 mg daily of Co-enzyme Q10 improves exercise ability and reduces mortality by 31% compared to placebo. The largest study in this analysis shows that taking 300 mg of Co-enzyme Q10 daily for up to 2 years lowers death or hospitalization in patients with Class III-IV heart failure who are also receiving conventional therapy. Other clinical research shows that adding oral Co-enzyme Q10 to conventional treatments seems to improve quality of life and decrease symptoms of heart failure such as shortness of breath, swelling, enlarged liver, and insomnia in patients with mild to severe congestive heart failure. Other clinical research shows that taking Co-enzyme Q10 30 mg each day for 1 year alongside standard care can reduce the frequency of atrial fibrillation by about 73% compared to standard care alone!
In your first Naturopathic visit with me, I always ask to bring your most recent blood work. I am a huge advocate of getting your blood work done and looking over a patients lab tests before supplement suggestions. The cholesterol panel is important when looking at the health of the cardiovascular system. I look at HDL and LDL, the “good” and “bad” cholesterol, respectively. It is important for the health of our arteries that our HDL is higher than our LDL.
Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. About 1 in 12 Canadians over the age of 20 are diagnosed with a form of heart disease. You have the ability to change these statistics by taking an active roll in your health TODAY. Even if you are not currently suffering from symptoms related to heart disease, preventive medicine is extremely important to decrease your chances of being diagnosed with a heart condition.
Contact Dr. Danielle Commisso TODAY to make an appointment!
*The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to educate and in no way replaces consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.