The human heart works really hard beating 100,000 times a day pumping blood from the top of our head to the tips of our toes. The 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body is a beautifully intricate network that brings oxygen to our cells and carries wastes out, with our heart at its center.
We regularly hear how healthy diets, exercise, stress reduction, smoking cessation, and targeted supplements are the pillars of good heart health. But how exactly do these things make a difference? To answer this, we need to look at the cardiovascular system as a whole.
The Inflammation Beast
It’s become increasingly clear that inflammation is at the core of heart disease – and we’re not talking about a sprained ankle kind of inflammation. The type of inflammation that affects the circulatory system occurs at a deeper, cellular level and can cause damage to the inner layer of blood vessels. It causes once healthy vessels to become irritated and sticky and can lead to blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
An effective battle plan for combatting inflammation includes a diet rich in inflammation-busting plant foods and antioxidants like turmeric, resveratrol, olive and pomegranate to name a few.
When you partially cover the opening of a garden hose with your thumb, it causes the water to spray out at high pressure. In the same way, a blockage or clogged blood vessel leads to high blood pressure and puts tremendous strain on the heart and body.
Stress, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, genetic predisposition and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the root causes that can come together to make a perfect storm for high blood pressure. A comprehensive strategy to strengthen and heal the circulatory system includes exercise, medication when therapeutically necessary, a nutrient dense diet, and supportive herbs such as hawthorn berry and grape seed.
Long thought to be the primary cause of heart disease, we now know that cholesterol and lipid balance is just one piece of the puzzle. Cholesterol is the fuel, while inflammation is the match that lights the fire and leads to hardening of the arteries (known as atherosclerosis).
It’s not just about how much cholesterol someone has, it’s also the balance between the good and the bad, and the size and properties of these fatty particles. Apart from being aware of how dietary choices may affect our cholesterol levels, there are nutrients and herbs like olive fruit and hibiscus that we can include in our daily regimes to achieve better balance.
Smooth Circulatory Sailing
As we age, blood vessels often get stiff and blood gets more viscous. Red blood cells get increasingly caught in webs of fibrin, a natural clotting agent made by our body. This means our blood isn’t flowing as freely leading to poor circulation, and other health risks. Inflammation can rear its ugly head once again and further contribute to the problem. Slower blood flow can lead to plaque formation and narrowing of the arteries. Not good! The goal is to tip the balance towards healthy blood flow with healthy dietary fats, exercise, inflammation lowering nutrients, and compounds like nattokinase (derived from fermented soy) that can naturally break down fibrin.
From a preventative standpoint, ensuring all the bases of cardiovascular health are covered is the best insurance policy for lifelong heart health. However, it’s not always possible to eat a diet packed with antioxidants and heart-protective nutrition. In this case, a comprehensive, full spectrum supplement, like Heart Protector®, is a great way to show our hard-working heart some love.