Self Care for Cardiovascular Health

Self Care Blog PicMatt Koontz, Certified Herbalist

We know that Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) runs deep in our modern society and is only growing. It’s the most prevalent cause of death in the world and for women – even breast cancer falls far behind in female fatalities. The pharmaceutical industry is booming with the drugs being prescribed for CVD and fad diet promoters have made millions on the promise of preventing CVD, so why are cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attacks still occurring more often? It’s time to update the old-school dogma surrounding CVD therapeutics and get to the heart of healing from CVD. That means addressing the three driving factors of CVD (Uncontrolled Oxidation, Recurrent Immune Activation, and Chronic Inflammation) by using S.O.U.L. foods, diet adjustments, lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, key supplements, and a variety of herbs.

Even the American Heart Association admits that “one of the biggest contributors to CVD [heart disease being the No. 1 killer in the United States and stroke being No. 5] is a lack of commitment to a heart-healthy lifestyle” and that “your lifestyle is … your best defense against heart disease and stroke.” Their downfall is their disregard for the quality of food. This is where S.O.U.L. foods come in. The S.O.U.L. foods acronym helps us choose quality foods that are Seasonal, Organic, Unadulterated/unaltered, and Local, simplifying the process of choosing the foods that won’t contribute to the three driving factors of CVD. The S.O.U.L. food principles apply when it comes to the big topic of cholesterol and saturated fat as well. However, the important part to addressing cholesterol levels is to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol within the body by choosing the right diet, lifestyle, and therapeutics.

The other key aspect to diet adjustment is pinpointing food allergies and sensitivities and becoming serious about eating foods that support you rather than hinder you. The trick is learning how to choose the right foods for you to eliminate, how to fill the void left by these foods, how to properly reintroduce these foods, and what telltale signs and symptoms indicate a possible allergy or sensitivity.

When it comes to lifestyles changes and stress management so much revolves around being mindful and present. Where can we start when it comes to CVD? A relaxing 30-minute walk in Nature after lunch or dinner. Taking baby steps, especially when changing activity level, is often the best plan of action.

Attend the Self Care for Cardiovascular Health class on Tuesday, January 31st at 6 p.m. and get a complete therapeutic list for addressing CVD. Become an expert on the ins and outs of cholesterol and saturated fat so you have no fear when eating these supportive foods properly. Also, learn what supplements and herbs should be on your radar to help reduce your risk of CVD and which ones aren’t worth your time.

Watch for the final blog/class in the Cardiovascular Health Series, Complementing your Conventional Cardiovascular Healthcare, and if you missed it, check out the earlier blog post called Understanding Cardiovascular & Heart Health.

References

American Heart Association. (Sept. 16, 2016) Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Lifestyle-Changes_UCM_303934_Article.jsp#.WIAicLGZMy4. Accessed on Jan. 18, 2017.

Bowden, Jonny Ph.D., and Stephen Sinatra, M.D.. The Great Cholesterol Myth. Fair Winds Press, 2012.

Center for Disease Control. (2014). Leading Causes of Death. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm. Accessed 27 April, 2016.

World Health Organization. (2014). The Top 10 Causes of Death. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/. Accessed 27 April, 2016.