by: Chris Raymond, RI
5 Unique Ways To Improve Your Heart Health
This article isn’t another generic article stating that your heart is important and you need to eat healthy and exercise. We all know this by now, but heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. And a study published by the American Heart association in 2015 suggests that poor diet is the largest contributing factor to cardiovascular disease (Mozaffarian D et al. Published online in Circulation Dec. 16, 2015). Telling you to eat healthy and exercise more isn’t enough so here are 5 unique tips to improve your heart health.
- Adequate Vitamin C – A Danish study researched more than 100,000 people, found that the people who ate more fruits and veggies and had the highest plasma Vitamin C levels lowered their risk of heart disease by 31% (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 6, 2015). Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant known to block some of the damage caused by DNA-damaging free radicals. Over time, free radical damage may accelerate aging and contribute to the development of heart disease and other health conditions. It’s through this antioxidant effect that it’s thought vitamin C may play a role in protecting heart health.
- Vitamin K2 Deficiency – Vitamin K has been shown to be a factor in blood coagulation and how you form blood clots. A significant risk factor in the development of CVD is calcium buildup in your arterial system. In a study from the Journal of Nutrition, those with the highest amounts of vitamin K where shown to be 52% less likely to develop calcifications in their arteries and 57% less likely to die from heart disease (J. Nutr. November 1, 2004, vol. 134 no. 11 3100-3105).
- Cold therapy – Exposure to cold temperatures have been shown to stimulate your vagus nerve. Vagus nerve stimulation is related to you parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for calming the body’s state of activity. A dysfunctional parasympathetic nervous system means that someone is in a constant state of stimulation and stress. By splashing cold water on your face or taking a cold shower will help stimulate the Vagus nerve which may play a critical role in preventing heart disease (Thomas S. CoWan, What’s the real cause of heart attacks, 2014).
- Avoid loud noises – Loud noises are shown to produce a stress hormone called cortisol. This can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, and an increased risk for heart disease. A 2007 an article published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science states that noise pollution is causing more deaths from heart disease than previously thought. The noise threshold for cardiovascular problems was determined to be a chronic nighttime exposure of at least 50 A-weighted decibels, the noise level of light traffic. Daytime noise exposures also correlated with health problems, but the risk tended to increase during the nighttime hours.
- Eat more Walnuts – Besides having the heart healthy good fat ALAs, walnuts contain an amino acid called L-Arginine. The amino acid L-Arginine is a precursor for special hormones in the body that regulate blood pressure and help dilate the vascular system. Vasodilation is when the arteries become wider and more blood flow can pass through thus lowering blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure will reduce the amount of stress on the heart which may help prevent heart disease.
*Always consult with your doctor before trying any of these tips