The Heart…Your True Love

Ahhh…Valentines Day… chocolate, flowers, romance, vena cava, right ventricle, left atrium…huh? February is Heart Month, a chance to evaluate the health of our hearts and the love we give it in more ways than one.

There are several parts to achieving a healthy heart all of which add up to wholeness.

Choose sustainable ( oily fish rich in Omega 3’s 2-3 times per week in place of red meat or pork. Eat more fruits, vegetables and fiber which will have a positive impact on heart health and weight. Read labels for easy to pronounce, wholesome ingredients, avoiding trans fats and hydrogenated oils present in processed foods. People living in the “blue zone” have a greater life expectancy with a veg-based diet. Try a Meatless Monday or a Vegan Weekend aka Vegend.

Reduce Stress
~While there are things in life we cannot control like an illness or a person behaving badly we can limit time with toxic people and places that don’t serve our greater good.
~Make peace in realizing you cannot “fit it all in.” Say no and don’t overschedule.
~You can only be a good person to others if you are good to yourself. Take a nap or get a massage.
Twenty to thirty minutes a day is what you need to get the heart pumping, squash anxiety and burn calories. The body is meant to move, not to sit and stair at a monitor for hours and hours. Try yoga, brisk walking, weight training, dancing, swimming, biking, spinning or tennis.

Love & Social Circle
~Own a pet. A Minnesota study concluded cat owners had a 30% reduction in heart attacks. And seniors with dogs had lower blood pressure.
~Forgiveness results in feelings of empathy and compassion. Letting go of anger is heart opening and healing.

Live with Purpose
What is something you did and enjoyed but haven’t done in a while? Painting, baking, dancing, volleyball, bowling, gardening or camping? Enjoy life, do something for yourself and then do something for someone else. Help a friend… pay a bill, move, build a doghouse, paint a room. Help a stranger…volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or non-profit. Live and love with conviction.

And since it’s Valentines Day….CHOCOLATE!

Eating a small amount of dark chocolate per day which contains heart healthy flavanols has been shown in studies to increase vascular circulation, have a positive impact on blood pressure and have increased antioxidant presence in the blood stream working against oxidative stress. Choose 70%+ dark chocolate, not chocolate with milk which counteracts the effects of the antioxidants. Support organic, fair-trade which means the bean is grown without harmful pesticides and workers and farmers are paid fair wages for their crops.

heart disease can be genetic. The good news is you can be proactive in the fight against heart disease by living an overall healthy lifestyle. Positive choices will have a positive impact.