It’s a sad fact that, today alone, 420 people in the UK will lose their lives as a result of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). CVD affects over 7 million people in the UK every year, causing a quarter of all deaths and costing the NHS £9 billion.
Even sadder is that for many, these deaths are entirely avoidable. Changes to lifestyle and diet can prevent CVD and even reverse heart health problems.
That’s why we want to do everything we can to make our hearts as strong as possible. Here are our five tips for a healthy heart:
A well balanced diet can lower your risk of developing CVD, stop weight gain, reduce risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Fresh fruit and vegetables should ideally form the bulk of your daily diet, alongside whole grains (grains such as barley, millet, lima beans and soya beans are best), some milk and diary products, meat, fish, eggs and beans. Fibre is also a cheap and effective way to reduce oxidised cholesterol – we recommend organic linseed, psyllium husks, rice bran or apple pectin. On the list to limit are sugar and processed foods – also try and cut back your intake of foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, salt and alcohol.
We don’t need to tell you (but we will anyway!) – exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help prevent CVD, lower your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stoke and maintain a healthy weight. It can also help reduce stress, tension and anxiety (see more on that below). If you’re not in tip top physical condition, don’t worry – a brisk walk still counts. So get out there and get your heart pumping!
- Quit smoking!
Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to people who have never smoked. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, causing fatty material to build up and narrow the artery, which can cause angina, heart attack or stroke. It also makes your heart beat faster and harder, which can raise your blood pressure and put you at risk of heart attack.
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to help your heart. Once you do, you’ll be dramatically reducing your risk of heart disease and improving your overall health.
- Relax and laugh
Our emotional well-being is also thought to be linked to our heart health. Stress and anxiety may contribute to the overall risk of CVD, so it’s worth looking at your lifestyle to see whether you can help improve this. Try and identify what you are feeling and what is causing you to feel that way. If you can, make changes to reduce stress levels. Yoga, meditation and exercise can help, as well as plenty of sleep and a balanced diet. Laughter has also been found to help the heart – research suggests that it can increase blood flow by 20%, as well as reducing artery inflammation, and increasing good cholesterol.
- Nutritional supplements
There are a number of natural remedies that can help support cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of CVD, in particular:
- Co-enzyme Q10 – a fantastic antioxidant, CoQ10 reduces levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol and reduces blood pressure. Production of CoQ10 declines naturally with age and is inhibited by statins, so you may find it necessary to take a supplement. We’d recommend Terranova’s CoQ10, as well as Viridian’s Co-Enzyme Q10 with MCT and Curcumin CoQ10 Complex.
- Curcumin – Curcumin, the compound which gives turmeric its yellow colouring, reduces systemic inflammation in the body, improving endothelial function and reducing blood pressure. As well as their Curcumin Complex, Viridian make a delicious Curcumin Latte, which you can make into a hot drink.
- Vitamin K2 – This vitamin is renowned for its reduction in coronary disease risk, due to its ability to help with arterial stiffness and normal blood clotting. It may also aid the prevention of vascular calcification.
- Vitamin B3 – Vitamin B3 can help with cholesterol management through the regulation of lipids in the blood. Research has shown it to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as reducing atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in your arteries.
- Cacao – Cacao is essentially raw, unfermented chocolate (yum!), which is naturally high in flavonoids. This antioxidant has been found to help reduce blood pressure and reduce inflammation associated with heart disease. We love Viridian’s Ariona & Cacoa Frappe, which supports endothelial function (and tastes delicious!).
- Cardio Multi – If it’s general heart health support you’re after, we love Viridian’s Cardio Multi, a specially formulated blend of supportive vitamins to promote cardiovascular health and function. Contains magnesium, vitamin C, garlic, co-enzyme Q10, vitamin K2, B vitamins and zinc.
We are here to help – if you have any questions about the above or other supplements that may help, please contact us. Please note, this blog should not be taken as medical advice – if you have any health concerns or are taking prescribed medication, please consult your GP.