What would you consider the most important organ in your body? I believe the brain is the most important organ in the human body but when I ask this question, I most often hear HEART. Okay, if I were to give a second place medal it would be to the heart. This muscular organ about the size of your fist is a real work horse, beating 100,000 times a day to deliver oxygenated blood to every cell in the body, including the brain. If the heart cannot do its job, circulation problems arise affecting organs that contain lots of tiny blood vessels, such as the brain. So let’s address the things that we can do to make our heart relationship a strong and long lasting one.
Chronic inflammation is at the root of most, if not all chronic diseases including gout, diabetes, Alzheimers, cancer, ALS, and heart disease (1). Chronic inflammation is systemic inflammation that can last for months or years. Many things can contribute to chronic inflammation including inflammatory foods, environmental toxins, excess weight, and stress.
Chronic inflammation occurs when our bodies are repeatedly exposed to these influences, and inflammatory mediators are produced throughout the body. The immune system becomes overwhelmed as the ongoing stimulus results in more cell recruitment, increased inflammation, and changes to cells. White blood cells will eventually start attacking internal organs or other necessary tissues and cells. This inflammatory response continues unless and until the cause of the inflammation is addressed.
Inflammation is a normal occurrence which is necessary at certain times. We don’t necessarily want to stop it from happening. It is like having the police show up to stop a crime. We wouldn’t want to stop them from doing their job. We do however, want to do crime reducing measures. If your body is always under attack of chronic inflammation it is like trying to survive in high crime zone under a police state. Let’s just look at ways to reduce our exposure the common ‘bad guys’ that cause inflammation.
HEART HEALTHY DIET
The best diet to address this inflammation and reduce your risk of developing heart disease is the anti-inflammatory healing diet. This diet is a plant-emphasized diet of real food, including low glycemic vegetables and fruits, clean meat, and healing fats. This style of eating helps to address one of the leading causes of chronic inflammation, blood sugar imbalance. You should avoid the three worst foods for your heart; sugar, processed vegetable oils and trans fats, and grain-fed meats. These foods promote inflammation which leads to heart disease. These foods should be eliminated or minimized to keep the heart healthy.
In addition to a meal plan that stabilizes blood sugar, it is critical to consume foods that have been shown to support and protect the heart. Avocado, olive oil, dark leafy greens, fresh wild caught fish, grass fed meats, strawberries, and even dark chocolate! Be sure to read this article (2) that discusses the 12 best heart healthy foods… and the foods you must avoid if you want to protect your heart and circulatory system. Incorporating heart healthy foods that strengthen your heart is easy and tasty. I mean dark chocolate, need I say more?
LIFESTYLE & HEART DISEASE
Rather than focusing on saturated fat and cholesterol for heart disease prevention, it is important to consider lifestyle factors that contribute to heart disease. A 2016 study found that healthy lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of heart disease by 46% regardless of genetic risk (3).
Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, obesity, excessive alcohol use, and not exercising are all lifestyle factors that increase your risk for heart disease. These factors cause high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and elevated LDL cholesterol levels which raise your risk of developing heart disease. It is critical to eat an anti-inflammatory, healing diet to reduce your risk of developing heart disease but also address those lifestyle factors. Increase daily physical activity, like a walk around the block, is the single best and easiest to incorporate into your regular routine.
Love your heart today,
Dr Shauna Lover DC, mobile chiropractor to the Big Island.
Helping those on their healing journey to live an Abundant Life.
Contact for further info 808-209-1856 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hearbeat of the Big Island