February is Heart Disease Awareness Month. It’s a great time to commit to learning the right information that will guide you to having a healthy lifestyle and making some changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women.
Heart disease is poorly addressed regarding the aspects of its prevention. I want to simplify the information you need for a quick-start guide containing the best information to prevent heart disease.
How do heart attacks occur?
All diseases including heart disease and the processes that lead to all chronic diseases have an inflammatory component. To get to the root of the matter one needs to address the prevention of the initial inflammation. Before I address the three main categories that are causative factors creating inflammation, I’ll walk you through what occurs in an artery before a heart attack happens.
Step 1. Other than genetic abnormalities, there are many risk factors that can lead to heart disease. The combination of these factors advances the weakening of the internal walls in the coronary arteries causing cellular damage. This weakened tissue is accompanied by inflammation in the arteries.
Some risk factors for heart disease are:
- High blood pressure
- Chemical/heavy metal exposure and/or ingestion
- Lack of proper nutrients and antioxidants
- Excess calorie and/or sugar consumption
- Visceral belly fat/excess weight
Step 2. The body perceives the inflammation in the artery as an injury. The body responds to the inflammation in the artery by collecting cholesterol and minerals to form a crust-like material to heal over the injury.
Step 3. Over time the accumulation of cholesterol and minerals forms a clot where the damage has occurred in the artery. The clot can continue to grow until it occludes the artery thereby stopping the vital flow of blood required by the heart. When the flow of blood to the heart is stopped by a blockage in the artery a heart attack will soon be the result.
Reversing the 3 major categories that can lead to heart disease
Emotions aren’t just something that we “feel”. They create many biochemical reactions in the body. Stress depletes many nutrients in the body such as B vitamins. If the stress continues and the nutrients are not replenished, cellular breakdown can occur. This leads to inflammation.
Stress causes the body to produce hormones like cortisol. A major or continuous influx of cortisol overtime depletes several minerals.
Minerals affected by cortisol include:
- Magnesium – there are over 300 biochemical reactions that occur in the body that require magnesium. It is a natural muscle relaxer (your heart is a muscle). It plays a major role in regulating blood pressure and helps convert blood sugar to energy.
- Calcium – Ninety nine percent of the calcium in your body is used for bones and teeth. One percent of the calcium in your body plays key roles in cell signaling, blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve function, and regulating cellular function.
- Potassium – Maintains acid/alkaline balance in your blood, crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function.
- Zinc – needed for the immune system to work properly. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, digestive health, and is needed for the senses of smell and taste.
Many foods contain several minerals. Adding the following foods to your diet will provide magnesium, potassium, calcium, and zinc.
dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt (plain), bananas, lamb, chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) , pumpkin seeds, cashews, cocoa , chicken
Don’t let your emotions overcome you. Proverbs 17: 22 explains that a cheerful heart is good medicine. Hebrews 13:6 informs that the Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm (I will not fear or dread or be terrified).
2. Chemical/heavy metal exposure and/or ingestion. Since Word War 11 there have been over 80,000 chemicals added to society. Many of these chemicals are harmful to your health. They cause cells to breakdown and create an inflammatory response. Several of them are known as carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).
Get started tips to avoid toxic chemicals and metals
- Whenever possible buy organic foods. Avoid foods that contain chemical additives and preservatives.
- Avoid chemically scented products. Ex: soaps, lotions, air fresheners, etc.
- Avoid using aluminum foil for baking or aluminum cookware. Antiperspirants contain aluminum. Use a natural deodorant without an antiperspirant instead.
3. Nutrition and body weight. You must have the right nutritional intake to attain and maintain your healthy weight range. You may think that the overconsumption of food is the problem. However, the real problem is not getting enough of the right nutritious foods your body needs daily. If you would daily feed your body what it needs to be truly healthy you wouldn’t desire to over consume excessive calories and carbohydrate junk foods. What is truly amazing is this. It is possible and easier than you think to lose weight, feel satisfied, and not be hungry!
Hundreds of my patients have lost weight and kept it off without being hungry. This has dramatically changed their lives! Not only do they have more self-esteem, they have more energy to do the things they love and were meant to do in their God-given life. In short, they feel better and they are better! Would you like more information about how they did it? Check out www.the21daybellyfatsolution.com/program
Belly Fat. The most dangerous fat on your body is belly fat. The worst type of belly fat is visceral fat. It is the fat that is hard to the touch. Visceral fat creates hormones and inflammatory chemicals that are contributory to heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer. Need help with getting rid of your belly fat? Take the new Belly Fat Quiz at www.the21daybellyfatsolutionquiz.com.
Chia Seeds and Heart Health
One ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber. It is recommended to have 25-30 grams of fiber daily. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fats which are powerful antioxidants that protect your body against inflammation. That alone makes them extremely healthy for your heart. They also contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
Chia Banana Chocolate Pudding
Simply blend one cup of chocolate almond milk with one banana, stir in 3 Tablespoons of chia seeds and refrigerate overnight. This will create an irresistible tapioca-like chocolate pudding.
Courtesy of Abigail Libers (freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn)