By Stacey Gavin
The heart is the most vital organ in the human body. Our heart supplies the body with blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide and metabolic waste.
By Stacey Gavin
Given our reliance on our heart, it is crucial that we are mindful and take care of our bodies with primary importance on the cardiovascular system. Most of us are very familiar with the most common approaches to heart health — good diet and exercise. But there are many lesser-known ways that you can improve your heart health along with a healthy lifestyle.
Eat More Fish
Fish tastes great, but it’s also great for you! Eating fish one or two times a week can greatly reduce your risk of potential heart issues.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids at least once or twice a week. Omega-3 essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can cause damage to the blood vessels and heart, leading to heart disease and stroke. Omega-3s may also serve to lower triglycerides and blood pressure, reduce clotting and alleviate irregular heartbeats.
When it comes to Omega-3 content, not all fish are equal. Salmon, herring, mackerel, lake trout and sardines have the highest Omega-3 content. Avoid certain fish like catfish and tilapia if your main goal is to get the most Omega-3s in every meal.
Ever wonder why we are instructed to take certain medicines and let them dissolve under the tongue? The tissue under your tongue is an immediate route to the bloodstream.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth — the same bacteria that causes gum disease — can travel into the bloodstream and cause elevations in C-reactive protein — a biomarker for inflammation in the blood vessels. Elevations in C-reactive proteins correlate to an elevated risk of heart disease and stroke.
Flossing daily and practicing good dental hygiene is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Bacteria travels from the mouth to the bloodstream, eventually reaching the heart, so keeping the mouth free of bacteria is one of the best ways to keep your most vital organ in good shape.
Take Systemic Enzymes
Systemic enzymes are a natural and easy way to support your cardiovascular health. Enzymes such as serrapeptase and nattokinase support the cardiovascular system, so working them into your daily routine promotes your cardiovascular health.
Serrapeptase has fibrinolytic properties, and supports C-reactive protein levels. The popular enzyme nattokinase supports clotting activity, providing much-needed support to the cardiovascular system as a whole.
A couple of keys to selecting the right systemic enzymes supplement, according to Ankit Rathi, Quality Manager at Specialty Enzymes and Probiotics:
1. Look for a supplement that is produced in a ISO 9001:2000 and GMP-certified facility. This will ensure that the product is manufactured and stored at the appropriate temperature, humidity, and light conditions in order to avoid reduction of potency or changes to composition.
2. Choose one with enteric-coated serrapeptase and nattokinase; enzymes are sensitive to pH and temperature, and enteric-coating allows them to survive until they reach the intestinal tract, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream and can work more effectively.
3. Find a blend of serrapeptase and nattokinase. While each enzyme is effective solo, blending them together multiplies their effects.
Taking both of these systemic enzymes concurrently may alleviate cardiovascular risk factors. The best part is, you don’t have to change your diet or routine too drastically to work in heart-healthy supplements!
Get Enough Sleep
We live in a very fast-paced world where demands are high and rest is low. We’ve all sacrificed sleep here or there — for some of us, it’s a necessary part of our schedule.
But skimping on the sleep isn’t good for your overall health. In fact, deprivation throws off our internal clocks and disrupts nearly every biological process. A lack of sleep can severely affect our energy levels, mental clarity and mood.
Not getting enough sleep is also detrimental to your heart, regardless of age or lifestyle. A recent study analyzed 3,000 individuals over the age of 40 and discovered that sleeping just six hours a night or less doubled their risk for heart attack or stroke, as compared to individuals that slept between six and eight hours.
Lack of sleep can aggravate underlying health conditions and promote inflammation, which is devastating to the heart.
Get Moving More Often
So you work in an office all day, but you hit the gym after work, and then you go home and eat a salad. You’ve got all your bases covered, right? Wrong!
The most recent research consistently proves that sitting for extended periods can cut years off your life, regardless of whether you exercise or not. A recent study indicated that sitting for more than 10 hours a day can increase the risk of heart disease by eight percent and sitting for more than 12 hours a day can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 percent.
Many of us work office jobs and have long commutes. Being active throughout the day can be quite a challenge. Just try your best to keep moving. Even a casual stroll to the water cooler is enough to get the blood circulating and to prevent some of the harmful effects of sitting for too long.
When it comes to movement, it’s important to sweat the small stuff, too. Minor adjustments to your lifestyle can make it easy to get more activity in, which will benefit your heart and overall health in many ways.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s also not always totally straightforward. Taking a few minutes to introduce some oft-overlooked heart-boosters into your everyday routine may help lengthen your life.