Common Sense Care for
Cardiovascular Health and Heart Disease
The cornerstone of a program for cardiovascular
health includes the following: Watch what you eat, control your weight, and exercise
regularly. Avoid cigarettes, drink in moderation or not at all, exercise, and learn to
A heart friendly diet emphasizes foods low in fat, and high
in complex carbohydrates. Programs such as the Pritikin diet and Dean Ornish's "Program for Reversing Heart Disease" have been successful in slowing or even reversing heart disease in patients whose diet contained only 10 percent of calories from fat.
Avoid red meat as much as possible along with
butter, cheese, ice cream, and other foods high in saturated
fat. Include moderate amount of
fish in your diet. Eat skinless chicken. Include several servings of fruits and vegetables
daily. As far as possible, reduce or eliminate the foods that are processed or fried.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas found that some of the flavonoids in tea are considerably more potent antioxidants than either vitamin C or vitamin E. Green tea is even better.
Eat Plenty of Beans, Especially Soybeans
Beans, especially soybeans, are good for your heart. Several studies have shown that beans help lower cholesterol.
Make Garlic Part of Your Diet
Garlic is very good for heart. It lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, reduces blood pressure, help prevent the clotting of blood that cause heart attack. Use more garlic in cooking. Add one to four cloves of garlic in your food a day.
Take Vitamin B Supplements, Especially Folic
Recent clinical studies have shown that a high homocysteine level boosts heart disease risk.
B Vitamins reduce homocysteine. Take 3 milligrams of B6 and 400 micrograms of folic acid.
Take Vitamin E Supplements
In 1993, two landmark Harvard studies -one of men, the other of
women- showed that supplemental vitamin E reduces the risk for heart disease. Compared with men who did not take the vitamin, those who did experienced 37 percent fewer heart attacks. Women who took vitamin E supplements for more than 2 years saw their heart disease risk drop 41 percent. Take 400 international units (IU) of Vitamin E a day.
Take Vitamin C
In Britain, 30 percent more people die of heart attacks during winter than during summer. A Cambridge University study offers an explanation for this phenomenon: The British consume nearly 50 percent more vitamin C in
summer- 90 milligrams a day, compared with 65 milligrams in winter.
Vitamin C appears to be especially beneficial to people with heart disease who smoke. Take 500 to 4,000 milligrams of Vitamin C a day.
Take Coenzyme Q10
Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 has been shown
to help treat the chest pain of angina as well as symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Co Q10 supplementation also reduces your risk of developing arterial blood clots, which can lead to heart attack.
Take 50 to 300 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 a day.
Take A Baby Aspirin A Day
A great deal of research has shown that a low-dose aspirin-one-half to one standard tablet a day-reduces heart attack risk substantially and aids recovery from mainstream heart surgery.
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart.
If you're physically active, you're far less likely to die of a heart attack than people who are sedentary. Exercise makes your arteries healthier, helps control your weight, lowers your stress and blood pressure, and increases your levels of 'good' high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Research suggests that vigorous aerobic exercise is not necessary for heart health; a
30 minute walk 3 to 5 times a week is quite sufficient. If you are a heart patient or are over 40 and have not been exercising regularly, consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Smoking puts stress on the cardiovascular system, weakens the heart and lungs, and shortens the life span.
If you smoke, quit. It is the best thing you can do for your heart and your health.
Take Hawthorn, The Herbal Heart
The leaves and flowers of hawthorn are rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids. Hawthorn is
important for treating congestive heart failure. It strengthens your heart, improves blood flow through your heart, pumps antioxidants into your blood, and lowers your blood pressure a little. It helps treat angina and can support recovery from
a heart attack. Take 80 milligrams of a standardized hawthorn extract twice a day
Stress and tension put pressure on the circulatory
system by reducing the blood flow to the heart. They also create wear and tear on the body and generate free
radicals. Spend at least 15 to 20 minutes practicing Progressive Relaxation, Transcendental Meditation. the Relaxation Response, visualization. or
any other technique that helps you deeply relax.
Learn and Practice
Self-hypnosis that involves meditative deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization of relaxing scenes has been shown to help prevent heart attack and aid recovery from them. It is also useful when preparing for surgery.
Listen to Music
Music reduces the levels of stress hormones. A study conducted at the Catholic University School of Nursing in Washington, D.C. has shown that those who practiced the relaxation response or listened to music had significantly lower heart rates and stress hormone levels than those who didn't. Those who listened to music were the least stressed, suggesting that music can be even more relaxing than meditation.
Yoga stretching exercises can improve circulation to the heart. Unless you have a heart
condition, do several cycles of the Sun Salutation every day,
along with the Cobra, Locust
and Corpse poses. This will help stretch the coronary arteries and increase blood supply to the
heart. A gentle Spinal Twist
and yoga nidra relaxation
are also good for the heart.