What To Do If You Have A Precursor For Heart Disease
There are two common precursors to heart disease, and if you have either of these - this post is for you!
Your two common precursors for developing heart disease are: high LDL cholesterol & high blood pressure. When you reduce both of these, you can reduce your chances of experiencing heart related complications!
These are my 6 tips for a healthy heart, followed by some added tips for the kitchen!
Your quality of life is important and for that, your health is essential.
Increase Water Intake
This literally is the easiest thing you can do to support your heart and health. Drinking water naturally lowers blood pressure. When you aren’t drinking enough water your body attempts to secure its fluid supply by retaining sodium. Most heart attacks happen in the morning, when the body is thirsty after sleeping for 7+ hours. Drink 2 glasses of water upon rising to lower your blood pressure, wake up your organs and energize the body! You should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces (140lbs = 70oz), if you are physically active then your intake should be even higher.
Focus on Fibre
Fibre is found exclusively in plant foods. Consumption of soluble and insoluble fibre are equally important, however consumption of soluble fibre is especially beneficial for heart health as it can decrease "bad" LDL cholesterol. When you consume soluble fibre (which forms a gel throughout digestion) your body removes bile in the form of your #2, this form of elimination prevents the bile from from being reabsorbed . Bile is made from cholesterol, so after the loss of bile through your healthy #2, the liver produces more bile salts by increasing the number of LDL cholesterol receptors. Cholesterol will then be pulled from the blood in order to create more bile salts. With your timely consumption of fibre this bile will be flushed out again and your LDL cholesterol will be managed or reduced.
Oats, oat bran, chia seeds, ground flax seeds and psyllium are all sources of soluble fibre of which has been shown to lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Get in the "Orange Zone"
Heart rate training is an effective way of maximizing the benefits of exercise and supporting the cardiovascular system. Reaching 12-20 minutes in the “orange zone” which occurs at 84%-91% of your maximum target heart rate allows you to experience EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), otherwise known as the ‘afterburn effect’ which can last up to 36 hours post workout, where you continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate. Check out Orangetheroy Fitness and give this scientific fitness a chance. In their 60-minute workout you can support your heart by decreasing stress, shedding extra pounds, decreasing bad LDL cholesterol and improving sleep.
Include Healthy Fats
Coconut Oil, Ghee and Sustainable Red Palm Oil are examples of healthy saturated fats which are best suited for cooking as they can withstand heat. Hemp, Avocado, Grass-Fed Beef, Pasture-Raised Poultry, Eggs, Wild Fish, Raw Nuts & Seeds are examples of healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties when used therapeutically with in a lower carb diet. Healthy fats benefit the metabolism and nourish your body, both deficiencies in healthy fats and over consumption of bad fats (trans fats and fried foods) are a huge contributor to heart related complications.
Don't Stress the Cholesterol
A 'diet-heart hypothesis' has been embedded into many minds that dietary cholesterol and saturated fats raise our blood cholesterol levels. However new evidence does not support this (so you can enjoy your whole-egg omelette again and get rid of those carton incomplete egg whites)! Your body actually produces 75% of your cholesterol and much of the cholesterol in food cannot be absorb by the body or make a significant impact on your blood cholesterol levels.
Beta-carotene found in pumpkin, carrots, spinach and parsley and lycopene found in tomatoes are examples of antioxidants. These guys are like bouncers at the night club kicking free radicals out before they cause damage! Free radicals enter the body due to increased exposure to pollution, car exhaust, chemicals in our food and cleaning products and also from fast foods, processed foods, fast foods and trans fats. Free radicals wreak havoc on the body by damaging cells and increasing the rate of aging as well as causing fatigue, poor memory and also contributing to the development of diseases and cancer. Check out this post for my top Vitamin C boosters.
Foods that are rich in antioxidants are rich in colour. Some excellent examples of antioxidant superfoods are goji berries, raw cacao, turmeric, camu camu, wheatgrass and matcha green tea.
Tips for the Kitchen
Your health begins in the kitchen, so why not implement some of these kitchen tips for your health and heart?
Consume a variety of vegetables in every meal, include leafy greens more than anything; such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, arugula, collards and brocco leaf
Include microgreens into your daily routine to supercharge nutrition
Be mindful of fruit consumption, make the majority of intake berries and other low-glycemic fruits
Consume sprouted whole grains such as kamut, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat
Include clean animal based proteins such as grass-fed beef, pasture raised poultry, sustainable fish and pasture-raised eggs
Don't forget your healthy fats; coconut, hemp, avocado, flax, red palm, grass-fed butter, ghee, seeds & nuts - include a serving in every meal
Don't skip meals, and definitely don't skip breakfast. Eating enough throughout the day prevents cravings and snacks at night
Nourish your body with a source of protein and quick source carbohydrates after a workout to build back up glycogen storage and repair muscles
Don't wait until you are starving to eat, be prepared and avoid catabolism or "starvation mode"