For decades, researchers have been aggressively developing treatments for heart disease, from stents and angioplasties to blood thinners and cholesterol drugs. And while many of these life-saving options have helped people live longer, they have not changed the fact that heart disease still kills more Americans than anything else. In fact, a paper in the American College of Cardiology reveals that heart disease deaths are currently on the rise worldwide.1
What if you could sidestep heart disease all together? It’s completely possible — even if you have a family history of cardiovascular problems. Here’s my natural prescription for protecting your heart and reducing inflammation, a leading contributor to the disease. If you are taking any prescription medications related to heart health, including high blood pressure, statins, A-fib, etc., please talk to your doctor before discontinuing anything.
Lifestyle vs. “Deathstyle” — Which Are You Following?
It’s not surprising that many health experts call the typical Western a “deathstyle” — and unfortunately, that’s not far from the truth. Chronic diseases are rampant in America. According to the CDC, six and 10 adults have chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.2
Most Americans eat too much sugar and other high-carb, processed foods. And they don’t exercise enough, sitting for long periods of time. Many of us are also chronically dehydrated and need to drink a lot more water. We work high-stress jobs and rarely give ourselves time to decompress, never mind take care of our own health.
The good news: Switching from an unhealthy lifestyle to one that nourishes and strengthens your body does not have to be difficult. Yes, you will need to make some adjustments, which may seem daunting at first. But in the end, these changes are easier — and far more rewarding — than dealing with the side effects of drugs and frequent doctor appointments that come with a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
Creates Your Own Anti-Stress Plan
Stress. It’s everywhere these days. There’s the state of the world, the economy, your job, family tensions, and health issues, not to mention a host of smaller, daily stressors. But the issue is less about stress than how you react to it. Some research indicates that people who believe their stress carries meaning, as in work that is stressful but fulfilling, show signs of good cardiovascular health.3 This type of “good” stress, the energizing, stimulating kind, is called eustress and it plays an important role in physical and mental health.
Whether you feel energized or burdened by stress, you can benefit from following an anti-stress regimen. This could be meditation, long walks in nature, quality time with friends, music and art therapy, breathing exercises, or quiet time in a room with lit candles. The important thing is to identify practices that help you decompress — and then actually do them!
Move It or You’ll Definitely Lose It
Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? Too much sitting is just plain bad for your health. The truth is that the human body was built to move, not sit in front of the TV or at a desk for hours on end.
Your body loves activity! And it doesn’t have to be strenuous. Several studies have shown that a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day significantly impacts health in a positive way. One study even showed that just 15 minutes four days per week boosts longevity.4 Be mindful of what you’re doing — if you notice that you’ve been sitting too long, get up and walk around for a bit. Also consider trying a moving meditation such as yoga, Qi Gong, or Tai Chi. These ancient mind-body practices provide the added bonus of boosting your physical fitness while calming and centering your mind.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
The most common recommendations for heart health center on consuming fewer calories and more anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. But proper hydration, which is as important as your diet, is overlooked. Many of us are chronically dehydrated, which can increase blood viscosity and make the heart work harder. Aim to drink half of your weight in ounces a day, meaning a150 lb. person should drink 75 ounces of water (this can include herbal teas).
The No. 1 Heart-Smart Supplement
There are many supplements that have been shown to support heart health. One standout is modified citrus pectin (MCP), a proprietary form of citrus pectin that has been modified for better absorption into the bloodstream. MCP is known for its unique ability to control galectin-3, an inflammatory protein that can wreak havoc in the body.
Galectin-3 is a destructive “alarm” protein that triggers inflammation and fibrosis in organs and tissues. Research has shown that this protein is a key driver of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions.5 More specifically, galectin-3 plays a role in cardiac remodeling and fibrosis, leading to heart failure. A fast-growing body of published research shows that MCP helps control the effects of excess galectin-3 to protect against the progression of cardiovascular disease and its deadly risks.
One recent study showed that MCP prevented cardiac hypertrophy, or enlargement of the heart, due to chronic, increasing stress and inflammation.6 MCP is the most-researched galectin-3 blocker, and independent researchers continue to express interest in studying this highly specialized ingredient.
I also recommend a Tibetan Herbal Formula (Padma Basic) for heart disease prevention. There are more than 30 published studies on this ancient botanical blend related to cardiovascular disease and other areas of health.7 Padma Basic is designed to promote optimal circulation, cardiovascular health, and immune health.
Key ingredients include Icelandic moss, neem, and other powerful antioxidant-rich botanicals.
Why It Takes More Than a Healthy Diet
Too often, people focus on a single lifestyle change — diet for example — hoping it will take care of everything. I think we can agree this is often wishful thinking. Lifestyle means everything: how you eat, how you sleep, how and where you work, and how you handle stress. Cardiovascular disease is a big-picture condition, and you need to take a big-picture approach when it comes to preventing and/or treating it.
Yet if this were easy, there wouldn’t be a heart disease epidemic.
Isaac Newton noted that objects in motion remain in motion, while objects at rest remain at rest. For anyone who has been “at rest” for decades, overcoming that inertia to change diet, increase exercise, practice healthy stress relief, incorporate supplements can seem difficult — at first.
But don’t forget the other part of the formula. Once you are in motion, once you’ve begun the process of making these profound changes, they become woven into your daily life. And the beauty of these approaches, such as supplementing with MCP, is that they are simple to incorporate and can provide powerful results and momentum toward optimizing your cardiovascular health — and feeling your best.