Eat. Play. Love.

Love Your Heart

  • February 14th, 2013

Although primary foods, the aspects of life that nourish our souls, are most important to heart health, a diet of whole grains, dark leafy greens and healthy fats is vital to the strength and vigor of your heart. If you think about it, your heart is an amazing organ responsible for pumping and circulating nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the cells that need it as well as whisking away blood with cellular waste to the liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys and other areas of the body that assist with the purification process. You can’t live without your heart. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart also controls consciousness, spirit, sleep, memory and houses the mind. As you may have gathered, there is a deep connection between the heart and nervous system.

There are many nutritional studies demonstrating that heart and nervous system conditions are related to calcium metabolism. Alcohol, coffee, excess protein consumption, marijuana, refined flour, refined sugars and refined salts interfere with calcium absorption. In addition, magnesium, one of the most vital minerals for your heart, works in tandem with calcium to keep your blood flowing, your muscles working properly and your bones strong and healthy. Magnesium can dilate coronary arteries and normalize the heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium and calcium are both found in dark leafy greens and blackstrap molasses. Other sources of magnesium include whole grains, seeds, beans, nuts and fish. Calcium is also found in sesame seeds and dairy products. One of your best sources of calcium and magnesium is Granny’s mineral-rich bone stocks.

Other foods that are helpful to the heart are garlic, onions, flax seed oil and wild, oily fish such as 

scallionssalmon. Foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus, leafy greens, strawberries and cantaloupe raise your HDL levels (“good” cholesterol) and keeps your arteries supple. Vitamin E rich foods such as leafy greens and seeds help to protect against the formation of plaque and reduce total cholesterol. Be sure to switch your salt to a high mineral sea salt. Contact me for recommendations as not all sea salts are equal. I personally use Celtic Sea Salt which has roughly half the sodium of refined table salt and over 80 minerals.

So what about fats? Skip the refined vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, safflower and 

sunflower and choose more stable, heart healthy fats such as organic, grass-fed butter (raw if you can source some), coconut oil and olive oil. Some flax seed oil and sesame oil are also helpful in the diet as well. Studies are beginning to show that many vegetable oils in the diet disrupt your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio which creates inflammation in the body. Heart conscious people tend to shy away from saturated fats which is a shame as they maintain the integrity of our cell membranes in the brain and elsewhere. When we consume too many polyunsaturated fats and limit our saturated fat intake, our cells become flimsy and don’t work properly. Saturated fats also protect our livers from toxins and provide the heart with energy during times of stress.

If you are interested in hearing the other side of the saturated fat and cholesterol, controversy, check out the the following articles.

Weston A. Price Foundation: The Skinny on Fats
Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD : The Cholesterol Myth

Of course, your heart needs plenty of oxygen so exercise is a must! Exercise combined with quality whole foods and stress management techniques will keep your heart healthy for some time.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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