The statistics around heart disease are staggering, making a strong case for the importance of implementing everyday lifestyle strategies that support heart health and prevent disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Every 36 seconds, one person dies from cardiovascular disease.¹
Just because heart health issues may run in your family, that does not mean they have to be your reality as well. Studies actually show that lifestyle behaviors have a greater impact on developing heart disease than genetics.²
So what can you do? These five lifestyle strategies are a helpful place to start when it comes to supporting your heart health for the long haul.
1. Support Heart Health By Reducing Toxins
Most diseases share one common denominator: inflammation. Heart disease is no exception. It originates with inflammation and blood vessel dysfunction. (Learn more about this process in our book, Cholesterol: Medicine’s Biggest Scapegoat.) The first step in preventing disease, therefore, is preventing inflammation.
Toxins play a big role in contributing to the body’s overall inflammation load. Everyday you are exposed to toxins in the world. Some you have little control over, like chemical toxins circulating in the air. Others, like your intake of alcohol or exposure to cigarette smoke, you can control. The number of diseases and conditions that are known to be caused by smoking has now risen to over 30, including heart disease and cancer.³ When it comes to alcohol, research shows that the detrimental effects of excess alcohol consumption are linked to increased blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.⁴
Not smoking and reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption both have a positive effect on reducing inflammation and overall toxic load.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
It will likely come as no surprise to hear that maintaining a healthy weight will support your heart health. What may surprise you, however, are some of the factors that contribute to weight gain. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always as simple as “calories in, calories out.”
Hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, fatigued adrenals, food allergies, and gut dysbiosis can all contribute to metabolic disruption that cause the body to gain weight. The myth of counting calories has misled and frustrated many people. There is no “formula” for weight loss.
The best, most comprehensive strategy for managing weight and restoring metabolic health is to get properly tested so that you understand exactly what is happening in your body. That’s why we value testing so much at The Wellness Way! Addressing the cause of the metabolic issue will in turn positively impact weight management and heart health.
3. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet
A diet that supports heart health is one rich in organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and healthy fats. Yes, fats! Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, fatty fish, and nuts and seeds like walnuts, sesame, and pumpkin exhibit cardio-protective benefits in the body.⁵ Eliminate processed foods like refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, and gluten-containing grains that drive inflammation. Get your food allergies tested if you haven’t already.
Incorporate sea salt into your diet as well. Adequate salt consumption helps maintain normal blood volume and also helps correct the balance of water in and around our cells and tissues. In this video, Dr. Mitch Sutton explains the important role salt plays in maintaining electrolyte balance in our extracellular and intracellular fluid. In short, consuming sea salt ensures you are maintaining a sufficient sodium level, which will help balance electrolyte ratios (namely sodium and potassium). Sodium and potassium work synergistically to maintain the proper balance of fluids in your blood plasma.⁶ This contributes to the maintenance of healthy blood pressure levels.
4. Avoid Sedentary Habits
Too much sitting has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death.⁷ Make a point to incorporate activity throughout your day and avoid long periods of sitting. Consider working at a standing desk, taking a walk while on phone calls, and taking up active hobbies that encourage you to be on your feet. Implement a regular exercise routine. The best routine for you is the one you’ll stick with!
5. Manage Your Stress
Stress is an inflammation creator that can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and an elevated heart rate. Though it is often the most difficult factor to address, breaking the stress cycle is one of the most important steps you can take for your overall health, including your heart health.
If you have been through a season of prolonged stress, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue as well. Overstimulation of the adrenal glands can lead to an inconsistent level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the bloodstream. Cortisol is a driver of inflammation, which, as we’ve discussed, impacts heart health.
The Wellness Way Can Help!
At The Wellness Way, we understand the body functions similar to a Swiss watch. All systems affect one another and need to function properly as a whole for optimal health. That’s why we use focused testing to give us a clear picture of what systems we need to address in order to restore whole body health.
We can guide you in navigating heart health concerns and assist you in taking a path toward healing, disease prevention, and vibrant living. Reach out to one of our clinics below to get started on your wellness journey!