Valentine’s Day isn’t the only matter of the heart being recognized this month. National Heart Health Month has been recognized each February since 1964.
According to the American Heart Association’s 2021 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, heart disease is still the leading cause of death worldwide. The CDC reports that one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease in the United States—that’s 655,000 (or 1 in every 4) deaths from heart disease each year.
To understand more about this disease, we spoke with Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, a board-certified cardiologist specializing in integrative medicine and a certified bioenergetic psychotherapist. He explained to Nutritious Life that the best ways to protect your heart include the Mediterranean Diet, some forms of daily walking, light weights, swimming, or cycling. “Taking targeted nutritional supplements, such as omega-3s, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium are also recommended,” he says.
Read on for Dr. Sinatra’s six insights into how we can protect our hearts starting today.
Be Aware of the Signs
In any male or female, chest discomfort on exertion that radiates into the neck, arm, or jaw should be taken seriously. Women have many more atypical symptoms than men. One atypical symptom is the onset of weakness and extreme fatigue with activities such as walking up a flights of stairs, vacuuming, or carrying a basket of laundry. Any extreme shortness of breath while laying down, or if awakened in the middle of the night with difficulty breathing where sitting up relieves it, these may be heart-related issues.
Don’t overlook any unexplained neck, jaw, or arm pain associated with activity that goes away with rest. Any unusual sensation in the chest, such as a rapid heartbeat that seems to occur spontaneously and not related to any strenuous activity ,should not be overlooked—especially if it lasts for more than several minutes.
Cut Back On Sugar to Increase Immunity
There is no doubt that the more dysfunctional your sugar metabolism is, the more vulnerable you are to heart disease, and to complications from COVID-19, Dr. Sinatra says. Those most vulnerable to cardiac issues include people with insulin-dependent diabetes and overweight individuals with insulin resistance. So, it makes sense to protect your heart and strengthen your immune system at the same time. Ingesting the least amount of added sugar as possible will offer some form of protection.
Exercise to Lower Blood Sugar
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to lower blood sugar as active cells do not require the typical insulin requirements to metabolize sugar. Eating less sugary foods and fewer carbohydrates is also appropriate. Cinnamon, different forms of chromium, and berberine are frequently used in targeted nutritional supplements to help support sugar metabolism.
Ask Your Doctor the Right Questions
Before a doctor visit, you should arm yourself with the right questions. This is especially important if you have a family history of the disease. Some may include:
- If I have a family history for early heart attack or even sudden cardiac death, what steps do I need to take to protect my heart health?
- Should I be eating a certain diet?
- What symptoms are typical for heart disease?
- What should my ideal blood pressure be?
- How low should my LDL or “bad” cholesterol be?
Eliminate These Foods From Your Diet
You should eliminate:
- table sugar
- white bread
Very small amounts of maple syrup and dark chocolate (greater than 70% cacao content) are appropriate as a sweetener and dessert.
Follow Dr. Sinatra’s 6 Pillars of Health
I would strongly suggest my “Six Pillars of Health and Healing” to improve the vibrational nature of our cells, and especially our hearts.
- Follow a Mediterranean Diet, especially with generous amounts of olive oil, on a daily basis. In clinical research, 4 tablespoons of olive oil per day not only has a positive impact on progressive heart disease (patients had fewer heart attacks or high blood pressure, and better cholesterol dynamics), but also olive oil helps to prevent diabetes, aids in Alzheimer’s cognitive decline, and even impacts some forms of cancer. Recent research has demonstrated that olive oil has a remarkable affinity to change pro-inflammatory genes that we all have back to a non-inflammatory state. Perhaps this one fact may be related to why those living in the Mediterranean Basin have the best longevity in the world.
- Any form of physical activity like walking and strength training.
- Targeted nutritional supplements.
- A mind/body program to attenuate the overactive and charged sympathetic nervous system. Yoga, meditation, and prayer are just a few techniques to support the mind and body.
- Detoxification with sauna or steam.
- Walking barefoot on Mother Earth. Mother Earth energy is the embodiment of the Schumann effect. In our research, we demonstrated that grounding the body not only helps to attenuate neuro-chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline, it also helps to balance the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, earthing and grounding thins the blood, which, in my opinion, is one of the most important remedies as sludgy “red ketchup” blood is more and more invasive in the 21st century due to computers, 5G, and harmful electromagnetic energies which may cause the blood to stagnate.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)