A healthy heartNils Lind
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We are in this year’s Christmas month, which is also known as the celebrations of the heart and is commemorated in homes across the world. Unfortunately, dark clouds are still looming from the last years of disease, that is creating fear, nervousness, and anxiety in many of us.
Christmas is at the door, beautiful decorations are characterizing the streets and the store fronts. Let all the lights in and let them guide you to forget the fear, feelings of powerlessness, and anxiety. Surrender yourself in these dark times to the Christmas fun with candle lights and the company of your loved ones, so joy and cordiality can overpower the darkness. It is worth being extra mindful of your heart’s health during these Christmas times. We tend to forget about it when we are enjoying all of the Christmas delicacies, which perhaps is also enjoyed with too much alcohol and not enough sleep. The heart is an amazing pump, which together with the cardiovascular system, makes a huge effort to keep you healthy, but we often do not think about it. Once in a while it might be pressured and ask that you take good care of it. Heart problems can come in many different shapes, for instance arrythmia, which presents itself when the heart has an abnormal rhythm for shorter or longer periods of time, or angina, which is caused by calcification with insufficient blood flow to the heart, and often shows itself as pains in the chest. Atherosclerosis with blocked blood vessels can cause heart attacks and blood clots. Another difficulty is high blood pressure, which has almost become a population-wide affliction. It is one of the greatest dangers of heart attack, but it can also contribute to aneurysms, with the possibility of ruptures from these aneurysms. There are luckily plenty of things you can do personally to help your heart along. Whether your heart is healthy or whether you have a heart condition,.There are a lot you things you can do to keep your heart healthy. If you are genetically likely to have some kind of heart disease, given your family history, are there still many things you can do to help yourself in the best possible way. If you are a smoker, then quit the tobacco. Smoking has been shown to be strongly connected to atherosclerosis and can contribute to heightened cholesterol and high blood pressure. Cut down on the booze during Christmas. Your heart, liver, and brain will be thankful, and you will feel better in the following days when you have only had a few drinks. You may want to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Make sure that you drink sufficient water daily and ensure that its quality is high. Stay physically active. If you belong to the group of inactive people, then it is estimated that your chances of heart disease go up by 50%. Even if the weather is not showing itself from its best side, make sure that you get out on the daily walk, at least for half an hour and enjoy the changing nature. Daily exercise is important, but it should not be excessive. Stay at a normal weight. Obesity can cause cardiovascular disease and other risk factors, such as diabetes. Decide to let go of the extra kilos and do not let yourself be tempted by all the Christmas goodies (at least not too much). Letting go of some of the fat on your hips, does not only improve your heart’s health, but also your mood. Stick to a healthy and proper diet, without refined sugar and too many saturated fats. It is Christmas time and you have perhaps driven yourself quite hard to get all the Christmas preparations in order, but stress is especially bad for the heart, so make sure that you calm down. Everything will probably be all right.
When it comes to keeping your heart fit then healthy and tasty foods are key factors, which you have to keep in mind in your daily planning. If you are big on meat, then reduce the amount and instead include a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and almonds. Remember the avocado, it is rich in both vitamins and minerals and not least in polyunsaturated fats. Eat predominantly ecological, so that the food is not filled with damaging additives. Make sure that your food is not colored, which a lot of cold cuts are. Avoid foods with the flavor enhancer MSG (621), which can contribute to arrhythmia. Foods with added saturated fats should be avoided, they are seen in for instance cookies, biscuits, cakes, and doughnuts. Trans-fatty acid increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In Denmark it has been written into law that you can only use a limited amount of trans-fatty acids in preprocessed foods. Trans-fatty acids are a group of saturated fats, where one of the so-called double bonds, has something called a transposition, making the fatty acid look like a saturated fatty acid, but a large portion of the trans-fatty acids are more damaging, than the saturated fatty acids. The naturally occurring trans-fatty acids, which is seen in small amounts in beef and lamb, are not as dangerous as the industrially produced one. Eat plenty of fish, especially fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, trout, halibut. This ensures that you get the good omega 3 fatty acids, which protects the heart. Fatty fish a couple of times a week is presumed to reduce the risk of blood clots. It can be a good idea to start the day with a serving of oatmeal. Oatmeal is rich in omega 3 and potassium and helps keep the arteries clean. You could perhaps sweeten it with berries and fruits, such as blueberry, blackberry, banana, and a little bit of apple, maybe as apple puree, which can be bought premade and ecological. Use it as a substitute for sugar. Avoid sugary foods and drinks. This also applies to artificial sweeteners, which only aids to keep your sweet tooth alive. Let plenty of olive oil, of a high quality, be a part of your daily diet. Olive oil helps by promoting the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL). Be careful with too much salt in your food. Many pre-prepared meals contain too much salt to give the food flavor.
Multiple studies show that the right supplements can aid the heart’s function.
- Multivitamin product of a high quality.
- Omega 3 fatty acid. It can be in the form of sea algae oils, fish oils, or as cod liver oil, which are available in many high qualities both as capsules and in liquid form.
- Vitamin-D is a vitamin, that can help you maintain a healthier heart. It is often seen that people have low values of this. If you are in doubt, you can ask to have your levels measured in a laboratory. Vitamin-D deficiency can also be connected to osteoporosis.
- Vitamin-C is something which many people lack. If you are a smoker then you have to be especially mindful about getting enough vitamin-C. Some studies seem to show that vitamin-C protects against atherosclerosis and plaque along the walls of the arteries. The dosage has to be around 1000mg.
- Carnitine, says Erik Kirchheiner’s book, is “the body’s own self producing heart strengthener.”
It is my favorite amino acid, which I personally feel helps my heart immensely. It provides energy to the muscles, especially the heart muscle. It can help reduce the blood’s collective amount of cholesterol and bring down the triglycerides. It can improve an irregular heart rhythm and reduce angina pectoris.
- The coenzyme Q10 is good for your heart’s health and the body’s energy production. It can help increase the quality and length of life.
- Selenium and Q10 work great together and can in many cases help the heart stay healthy.
- Garlic can help improve blood circulation. It is available as powder, capsules, and oil.
- Extract from red rice has in many studies been shown to have an efficient effect in the regulation of the cholesterol levels. It is important that you choose a quality product.
- Magnesium is a mineral, which many people lack. It has been shown that people with sufficient levels of magnesium have lower blood pressure and generally have healthier hearts with fewer heart attacks.
- The amino acid taurine is another one of my favorites. It is great against high blood pressure and high cholesterol and is of vital importance for the heart and circulatory system, but also for your brain, gallbladder, and eyes.
Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid, it is not found in food. If homocysteine levels are heightened, writes Erik Kirchheiner in his book about amino acids, it is actually toxic and can increase the risk of blood clots and other cardiovascular diseases. Perhaps it should be obvious for us to have our homocysteine level measured with regular intervals.
If we have sufficient amounts of B-vitamins in our body, then the homocysteine will be transformed to healthy amino acids. It is one of the reasons that it is so important with sufficient levels of vitamin-B in the body, especially B6, folic acid, and B12.
Recent studies show that vitamin-C presumably has the same function.
Zinc also plays a significant role.
Be careful not to expose yourself to heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury.
Avoid, as much as possible, moving in air polluted areas.
In an issue of the magazine Videnskab, it was written that men with an active sex life has healthier hearts.
Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable environment and end the day with positive and pleasant thoughts. Poor sleep can affect your blood pressure.
If it is possible, then make sure that you live in a nice environment, in a friendly neighborhood without violence or other forms of harassment and without any noisy traffic. Studies show that your house and thereby your home plays a large role for your heart’s health.
With the above in mind, I want to wish you a very merry Christmas with plenty of light and love.