Young (at) Heart
With Valentine’s Day approaching, we want to talk matters of the heart, but not the romantic kind!
this is an empty line
Let’s have a heart-to-heart about how well you’ve been looking after your ticker, hey? Come on, you don’t want to be your own heart-breaker, do you? As you know the topic of wellness is really close to our heart so we hope you will take to heart what we’re about to tell you…
Together with your brain, your heart is your most important and most often taken for granted organ in our body. It’s always there – beating as we move, humming when we sleep… – and we assume it will just carry on tomorrow. Sadly, heart disease has now become an epidemic within our Western civilisation and medical institutions prefer to focus all their efforts on intervention (which has its place and we’re grateful for it) rather than prevention – something in the scope of our own control. But here is the truly shocking statistic: nearly all time and money is devoted to treating symptoms and medication: cardiac and clot-dissolving drugs, and for costly mechanical techniques that bypass clogged arteries or widen them with balloons, tiny rotating knives, lasers, and stents. All of these approaches carry significant risk of serious complications and even if they are successful, they provide only temporary relief from the symptoms. They do nothing at all to cure the underlying disease or to prevent its development. Now, we know that your heart is in the right place and you try to lead a healthy “balanced” lifestyle, but there’s a non-negotiable checklist to follow if you truly want to stay young at heart!
It turns out that the way to one’s healthy heart IS indeed through their stomach! From all our research we have gathered that the most heart-friendly diet is as veganish as you can make it so eat your vitamin-packed veggies and fruit to your heart’s desire as the valuable nutrients and fibre will help you maintain your blood pressure at healthy levels. Whole-grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa) and healthy fats (nuts – NOT oils of ANY kind – sorry Greece!) will lower cholesterol levels and superfoods such as cacao and berries help dilate the blood vessels. It is with a heavy heart that we must proclaim a divorce from animal products… that encompasses all diary and all meat our friends! But don’t lose heart just yet – if you can’t see yourself parting ways with the moo’s or the meeh’s completely, just make sure you stick to the lean meats and fish, and keep the ratios as low as possible. According to our heart health guru, Dr. Caldwell Esselstein, by avoiding animal products we will keep the lining of our blood vessels free of the dangerous blisters or bubbles or cholesterol-laden plaque that causes heart attacks. Just ask one of his patients, the former US president Bill Clinton, who was able to come back from the brink and reversed his heart disease completely. And another sweet “side-effect” of plant-based diet is of course, weight loss which immediately alleviates the heart from the burden of working harder.
Did you know that exercise alone can sometimes be as beneficial to your heart as medication? Yes, it can – cross our heart! Exercise actually works like the beta-blocker drugs – just as exercise strengthens other muscles in your body, it also helps the heart muscle become more efficient and better able to pump blood throughout your body. This means that the heart pushes out more blood with each beat, allowing it to beat slower and to keep your blood pressure under control. It also lowers stress (number one cause of heart attacks) and reduces inflammation throughout your body. And although any movement is heart-healthy, the unrivalled winners are swimming and interval training. It’s advised to combine cardio with total-body workouts (including weight training), as the more muscles involved in an activity, the harder your heart must work to fuel them all—thus, it itself grows stronger. And once you try it, we’re pretty sure that HIIT will win you heart…
The cliché ‘laughter is the best medicine’ has some serious medical backing! Study after study reveals that good vibes equals moderate heart rate and optimum blood pressure. Naturally, happiness helps combat stress and boosts our immune system, which among others protects the heart. Positive emotions also make you more disposed towards making healthy lifestyle choices, such as being physically active, eating a healthy diet and avoiding unhealthy habits (e.g.. smoking, binge drinking, drugs, etc.) The interesting thing is that by leading a healthy life you can actually alter chemistry in the brain which in turn will make you happy. It’s by far our favourite catch 22 yet! So come on, find it in your heart to look after it well…