February is National Heart Month
Annually celebrated National Heart Month is all about encouraging people to take care of their hearts. It aims to raise awareness about heart disease and the risks associated with heart-related conditions. As an integral part of the human circulatory it is important to stay informed and make the right choices towards keeping our heart’s healthy – after all we only have one!
Fortunately there are many good lifestyle choices that you can make in reducing some of the risk factors associated with the development of heart-related problems, helping you to stay healthy and improve your heart health.
Smoking - The risk of heart attack or stroke is far greater for smokers compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart and health. Your health can improve almost immediately from quitting, and risks associated with smoking decrease, with health benefits continuing to build as people progress through the non-smoking period. It is not an easy thing to do, but there is lots of support and free advice out there; speak to your doctor or nurse for advice or call the NHS smoking helpline.
Obesity – Being overweight can have a major impact on your health, especially when carrying a lot of weight around your middle. Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can develop and become a concerning issue putting extra strain on the heart. Reduce risks by tackling any weight issues; try to eat in moderation; sticking to a regular and well balanced diet containing all of the various food groups, including wholegrains and plenty of fruit and veg. Diet can have a big impact on cholesterol and triglyceride levels, so try to cut down on the foods with a lot of saturated fat, and replace them with foods containing more unsaturated fats.
Physical Inactivity – Our heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised like any other, so it continues to work properly. Adopting a regular exercise routine can also help combat any weight issues. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 - 4 times a week. Being active and undertaking regular exercise can also help you to manage stress – another factor that can affect our health and heart.
Health Checks – Regular health checks such as monitoring your blood pressure, and getting a simple cholesterol check by a professional can highlight any potential dangers or health implications. Long term high blood pressure puts a strain on the arteries and the heart, and high cholesterol is a big factor in the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Health checks are important in prompting people to follow advice, take action and adopt necessary lifestyle changes, all aimed at working towards a healthier future.
There are also a range of heart support supplements out there, aimed at maintaining a healthy heart. Here are some to consider:
- Plant sterols – These are compounds found naturally in plant-derived foods, they contribute to normal blood cholesterol levels, which is important for the health of the heart, since high cholesterol is a known risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. Studies suggest a reduction in cardiovascular risk.
- LP5 Powder - Linus Pauling’s therapy for cardiovascular and heart disease was high doses of 2 essential nutrients – Vitamin C, and the amino acid Lysine. Both are vital in smaller amounts, but can be taken safely in high amounts, with neither having a known toxic dosage.
Pauling theorized that too little Vitamin C elevates cholesterol levels, including the Lp(a) variant that causes narrowing of blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, and Lysine also helps in the formation of Collagen which is the body’s main structural building block.
Based on the findings we have formulated our LP5 blend specifically with heart health in mind; we have combined Vitamin C, along with the amino acids Lysine, Proline and Glycine, which all work in conjunction with the Vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen to promote healthy connective tissue; including that of the veins and arteries for vascular health. As the body’s ability to produce collagen naturally declines as we age we have also combined the formula with additional hydrolysed marine collagen for extra benefit.
- Omegas - Krill oil and Cod Liver Oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), 2 of the most beneficial types of omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to help reduce triglycerides and inflammation, demonstrating supportive effects on overall heart health and a reduction in the risks of heart disease. Several studies have shown beneficial effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on the heart. For an alternative and vegan-friendly source of the essential fatty acid omega-3, why not try Algal Oil capsules.
- Garlic - High blood pressure, or hypertension is a big factor in cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, some of the biggest killers in today’s society. Garlic supplements have been found in human studies to have a significant impact on lowering the blood pressure levels of people with high blood pressure.(¹)
Studies showed its protective effect against cardiovascular disease and its positive effect on the arteries and blood pressure. Researchers found the interaction between the red blood cells and the sulphur in garlic compounds causes the release of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas that relaxes and expands the blood vessels, making it easier to regulate blood pressure. (²) High blood levels of cholesterol may also be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic has been found to lower the levels of LDL-Cholesterol (bad cholesterol). (³)(⁴)
- Lycopene – A potent antioxidant and carotenoid, some doctors believe a daily dose of lycopene or a “tomato pill” may reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow. Studies (⁵) (⁶) around the protective effect of lycopene in cardiovascular disease are ongoing. Our capsules use beadlet technology from a natural tomato source. The lycopene is enrobed in a beadlet for improved stability and absorption.
- Co Enzyme Q10 - This vitamin like nutrient plays a crucial role in the production of energy in your cells, and so the highest amounts are found in the organs that require the most energy, helping them to function properly; like the heart. The body produces CoQ10 naturally, but as we age our tissue levels of it decline, as does our bodies’ ability to produce it. Because of its role in energy production, and the high energy demands of the heart muscle, Co-Enzyme Q10 can support cardiovascular health and aid circulation. Studies have shown that CoQ10 has the potential to lower blood pressure in the treatment of hypertension, and studies around CoEnzyme Q10 supplementation and heart failure have shown promising results demonstrating a reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events.
As always with any new supplement it is advisable to consult with your doctor or a health care professional before introducing it to your diet.
Get involved this month and help to spread awareness by supporting causes that promote heart health.
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