February is Heart Month: a reminder to all that heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death.
Although we can’t change some risk factors, such as age and heredity, many factors – including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and inactivity – can be modified, thus significantly lowering the risk of heart disease.
And because lifestyle habits (e.g. diet, exercise, and appropriate supplementation) can strongly influence these modifiable risk factors, here are 10 lifestyle strategies you can implement to promote a healthy heart.
See afterwards, how Shaklee can help you achieve these goals.
1. Make more healthful food choices.
One of the best weapons for fighting off heart disease is eating a healthful diet, particularly one rich in whole grains, legumes, fish, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and choosing lean meats. And choose organic as much as you can to cut down on chemical intake.
2. Lose the belly fat and keep it off.
This fat, also known as visceral fat, may in fact be the most dangerous fat you can have. It’s been linked to high cholesterol, high insulin, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and other health problems.
Lose the belly fat and keep it off by following a sensible weight-management program designed to preserve muscle mass while promoting fat loss, especially around the waist.
3. Get more of the “sunshine” vitamin.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is made in the body when the rays of the sun are absorbed by the skin. Health care professionals and nutrition research scientists have known for years that this vitamin is needed for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus to help build and maintain strong bones.
Studies also indicate that a vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased cardiovascular risk, above and beyond established cardiovascular risk factors such as blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
4. Go fishing with omega-3 fatty acids.
You need a certain amount of oils and fats in your diet, as they supply calories and help our bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E.
It's important to choose healthier unsaturated fats – also known as mono- and polyunsaturated fats – because eating too much and the wrong kinds of saturated and trans fats may raise the bad LDL cholesterol and lower the good HDL cholesterol, which can increase your risk of high blood pressure, a narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, and stroke.
One type of polyunsaturated fat is omega-3, which can help prevent clotting of blood, reducing the risk of stroke. It can also help lower triglycerides, a type of blood fat linked to heart disease.
5. Protect your body against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic, progressive disease in which plaques build up in the walls of arteries. Over time, these plaques can lead to a complete obstruction to blood flow or suddenly rupture, causing a blood clot to form and leading to a total blockage of the artery.
The development of atherosclerosis is complicated, but the primary event seems to be repeated, subtle injury to the artery‘s wall through various mechanisms.
Some researchers believe that oxidative stress and free radical damage to the walls of blood vessels is the initial insult that causes this disease.
Many nutrients such as vitamins C and E, and the mineral selenium, are potent antioxidants that work to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and scavenge free radicals, so getting adequate amounts of these nutrients is another important strategy for promoting cardiovascular health.
6. Boost your phytonutrient intake.
Eat your fruit and vegetables; they’re good for you! Population studies from around the world suggest that diets rich in fruit and vegetables protect against heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
The goodness of these foods comes not only from the essential nutrients they contain but also from the array of phytonutrients they provide.
These phytonutrients impart the tastes, aromas, and colours of food. They also have profound physiological effects in the body, acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, mimicking hormones, and suppressing the development of disease.
Scientific research has revealed that phytonutrients called flavonoids (resveratrol, catechins, and ellagic acid) may act as potent antioxidants, inhibit inflammation, and help slow down cellular aging.
Another class of phytonutrients – the carotenoids lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene – also exerts potent antioxidant activity, possibly helping reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions such as age-related eye disease and cancer.
7. Fill up on fiber.
Another reason a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains is associated with a decreased risk of disease is that these foods are also a great source of dietary fiber.
There are two types of fiber in foods, and we need both. Insoluble fiber, found in the outer layer of grains such as wheat bran, promotes a healthy digestive system and colon health.
Heart health benefits come from soluble fiber, the type of fiber found in oats and apples. Increasing soluble fiber intake helps lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
8. Find a friend in Coenzyme Q10.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance found in every human cell. It's involved in key biochemical reactions that produce energy in cells.
It also acts as an antioxidant, working with vitamins E and C to protect cells against oxidative stress and free radical damage. Although the body is capable of making its own CoQ10, production slows as we age.
Cholesterol-lowering medications (e.g., statins) also block the body’s ability to make CoQ10, and supplementation has been shown in clinical studies to improve cardiac function in people with existing heart conditions such as congestive heart failure.
9. Get moving.
Physical inactivity is a risk factor for developing heart disease, and research studies indicate that more than 60% of adults don’t engage in the recommended amount of regular physical activity.
In fact, 25% of all adults aren't active at all. If you’re one of them, it’s time to get moving.
Regular physical activity promotes a healthy heart in so many ways: it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps control weight, reduces anxiety, and improves blood circulation.
Do your heart a favor and try to get 30 minutes or more of physical activity most days of the week.
If you haven’t been active for some time, or have a chronic health problem such as existing heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, be sure to consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program.
10. Take time to de-stress.
There’s no denying we live in a stressful world, and most of us experience stress on a daily basis.
Whether it’s physical or emotional stress, your body reacts in the same way: it sets off its “fight or flight” response. As a result, stress hormones are released, increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose in an attempt to provide our body with an increased energy supply.
Over time, this chronic stress response wreaks havoc: slowing digestion, weakening immune function, and increasing the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Take time, then, to de-stress your life. Start by getting more sleep and ending those unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking too much, and overeating.
Think about what you truly must get done, set priorities, and learn to say no.
And, finally, don’t forget to exercise (a great stress reducer) and incorporate relaxation and deep-breathing techniques into your daily routine.
Your heart will love you for it.
Below are some ways Shaklee can help you achieve these goals. Just click on the links for more info:
1. Shaklee’s ingredients are always organic and never contain any artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives.
2. Cinch Weight Loss Program is an easy and delicious way to lose those unwanted pounds.
3. Shaklee has increased the amounts of Vitamin D in its multi formulas, but you can also add additional Vitamin D with Vita-D3.
4. Shaklee’s EPA & DHA product, OmegaGuard delivers a full spectrum of ultra-pure, pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Arm yourself with the best antioxidants Vitamin C & Vitamin E.
6. Make up for a lack of fruits and vegetables with CarotoMax that has a rare blend of alpha carotene, astaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin delivering of a broad spectrum of carotenoids; and with FlavoMax that has flavonoids which are powerful water-soluble plant nutrients that deliver potent antioxidant protection to the blood and blood rich tissues, especially the liver and intestines.*
7. Shaklee has some wonderful and easy to take fiber supplements as well as some other great products that help with digestive health.
8. New Triple Strength CoQHeart with Q-Trol™, delivers a powerful 100 mg of CoQ plus resveratrol in a bioavailable softgel.
9. Share Shaklee with a walking buddy or a workout partner and help improve the lives of the people you care about.
10. Try Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex for those really hard days.
There you have it – some ways to help improve your heart health and ways Shaklee can make it easier.
Your heart works hard for you ever second of your life – return the favor by giving it what it needs.
Love your heart and it will love you back.
If you would like more information, please contact us by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Your Good Health,
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Info from Shaklee Health Sciences Feb 2009 by Dr. Jamie McManus