Having a healthy cardiovascular system is important. VERY important. This may seem obvious but there are a lot of people who simply aren’t looking after their hearts properly. A recent talk by Perth naturopath Sue Sadler on ‘Healthy Heart, Long Life’ highlighted the importance of having a healthy ticker. Here is a simple summary of how the heart works, what can go wrong and how we can reduce the risk of heart disease.
How the Heart Works
Arteries carry blood from the heart (and spurt in pulses if ruptured), while veins return the blood to the heart. Blood is pumped from the heart into the lungs where it collects oxygen, and then is sent through the body. It takes less than 60 seconds to get the blood to every cell. As it returns, it collects the waste products from the cells, like carbon dioxide, which are then off loaded in the lungs. Blood is composed of plasma, and huge numbers of blood cells that float in the plasma. Of the two main types of blood cell, red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, and white blood cells help defend the body against infection. Blood also transports nutrients, proteins needed for blood clotting, and waste products.
Symptoms of an Unhealthy Heart
A poorly functioning circulatory system can lead to:
• cold hands and feet;
• poor oxygen uptake and distribution which can give you brain fog;
• clotting issues leading to thick, sluggish blood and thrombosis (blood clots);
• low iron;
• low blood pressure which can result in dizzy spells or even fainting;
• high blood pressure which can lead to stroke, kidney failure, or a heart attack. Doctors will typically prescribe medication if your blood pressure is very high because of the high risk of health complications.
How to Help your Heart
There are a couple of ways that you can help yourself and your cardiovascular system.
1. Drink more water. It is amazing how much of our body stops working efficiently when we aren’t drinking enough, even if we aren’t thirsty.
2. Support your body with good nutrition. Eat a varied diet which includes lots of
unprocessed foods, and have lots of colour. Consider a ‘rainbow plate’ which includes foods which are red (beetroot, strawberries), green (beans, broccoli), orange (pumpkin, sweet potato) and blue (blueberries, red grapes). All of these foods are high in antioxidants which help to protect us from the free radicals we make and are exposed to every day. You can also eat more chilli, ginger and onion, which will assist your microvascular circulation.
3. Exercise. The current recommendations have increased from 150 minutes a week (2 and a half hours) to 300 minutes (5 hours). This is not necessarily just sweating it out at the gym, but climbing the stairs instead of using the lift, having a brisk walk, and strengthening exercises (carrying the heavy shopping counts), all add up.
4. Supplementation. Consider a good quality natural wholefood supplement that is bioavailable. We recommend dōTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality Vitamins which includes:
5. Essential Oils. Essential oils are a natural medicine that can help bring us back to balance. They can help regulate blood pressure, improve circulation, help with palpitations, anger and angina. Rubbing a drop of oil over your heart, or on the soles of your feet once or twice a day can help. Here are a few suggestions:
• Try lemon, ginger or helichrysum essential oils to help improve blood viscosity;
• Cypress, marjoram and ginger essential oils can help with microcirculation;
• Ylang ylang, marjoram, or lemon are good as a general heart tonic.
Remember to dilute the oils and follow instructions as they can be hot, and lemon is phototoxic, so needs to be applied under clothing if you are going in the sun.
6. Reduce Stress and Practice Gratitude. Stress can affect our blood pressure, as well as a multitude of other health conditions. Practice yoga or meditation to reduce stress in your life, try using essential oils, practice gratitude and BREATHE! Taking deep breaths at times of stress or anxiety can help reduce heart rate, blood pressure and reduce the release of hormones such as adrenalin. Being grateful of where you are and what you have in life can have a profound impact on stress levels and overall mental and physical wellbeing.
To help deal with high blood pressure, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions and monitor your blood pressure as any medication may need to be adjusted as you make changes and use natural therapies such as essential oils and supplements.
For further information on dōTERRA’s product range or to purchase click here or contact me for a free 20 minute wellness consult (mention this blog).
This information is not intended as medical advice. Everyone should make their own health care decisions, with advice from qualified professionals.
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