Heart Health For A Longer Life

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Your heart is an amazing living pump. Its only job is to move blood through your body. Blood is sent to the lungs to get oxygen and then throughout the body to deliver that oxygen to cells.  There are also many nutrients in your blood from the things you eat, drink and breathe in that influence heart health.

Good Blood Pressure = Good Heart Health

Just like your sprinklers require pressure to push water through, there is pressure in your blood vessels to move blood. Systolic pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels during heart beats and diastolic pressure is the pressure between beats.  A healthy blood pressure (BP) is at or below 120/80 (systolic/diastolic).  1  Of course keeping your blood pressure under control is important. In the same way too high a pressure can blow out one of your sprinkler pipes, high BP can “blow out” your blood vessels. When this happens, a heart attack or stroke will follow. If high blood pressure doesn’t kill you it can cause problems such as pain, blindness, dementia and kidney failure. 2

Cholesterol and Fat in Heart Health

Fat and cholesterol are essential nutrients, but they can stick to your blood vessels.  In due time, this shrinks their size, sort of like the gunk that sometimes clogs your shower drain. When this happens, blood cannot travel through and cells die from a lack of oxygen. Ultimately, if these cells happen to be in your heart or brain—lights out!3 For the most part, your total blood cholesterol should be below 200. An HDL level above 40 is also recommended for optimal heart health.  4

A Diet for Heart Health

Here are some simple diet suggestions that may just keep you alive longer:

Avoid fat/cholesterol

  • fats from animal products and solid fats such as butter should be limited.

Choose low-salt/high potassium

  • Salt increases blood pressure while potassium lowers it.5, 6  They work together, but it is really easy to get too much salt and throw off the balance between the two. 7

Alcohol in moderation

  • Before you argue that red wine is good for your heart, understand that only small amounts of alcohol may be good for you.  There is little doubt however, that significant consumption puts you at risk. 8

Eat fish

There are actually “good” and “bad” fats and those found in fish and seafood (especially “fatty” fish) actually improve heart health. 9

Eat high fiber foods

A diet high in fiber reduces your chances of heart disease, but also your chances of dying for any reason.10

Lifestyle for Heart Health

Stop smoking

  • The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and quitting significantly reduces it.11

Control your diabetes

  • As long as you have diabetes, your risk of heart problems is even greater. Consequently, you are much more likely to die from heart problems! 12

Get moving

  • Of course, exercise benefits every part of your body and your heart is no exception. In fact, aerobic exercise in particular helps your heart become stronger and more efficient. 13

See Your Chiropractor About Heart Health

A special adjustment which realigns your atlas (the topmost part of your spine) has been shown to reduce blood pressure as much as medication. 14  It probably doesn’t make sense to suppose that one adjustment will lower your blood pressure forever, but if you see your chiropractor regularly, your ticker may just thank you.

References

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