Top 10 Powerful Heart Healing Elements
Heart disease runs in my family. So when I started having occasional and random chest pains and aching in my arms, I started to worry. I knew those were key signs of a heart attack, but I wasn’t short of breath or sweating, so I figured, (or rather strongly hoped,) that it wasn’t a major emergency. Besides, the pains were brief, inexplicable, and just occasional. Since I like to be proactive, much like you, I researched how to protect and strengthen my heart so I could reduce my risk and (hopefully) alleviate the pain. Here are the top 10 powerful tips that I found:
1. Beta-Glucan is found naturally in several foods, such as certain mushrooms, barley, and oats. They are considered sugars that are found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants. In fact, beta-glucan is the source of many key medicines, including penicillin (antibiotic,) cyclosporine (used in organ transplants, diabetes, and severe hives,) and Krestin (strongest cancer drug). This powerful substance even blocks and stops the growth of HIV and AIDS.
Specifically, the root of the mushroom Agaricus Blazei has 100x more beta-glucans than the root of the common white button mushroom, and has healing properties different from other powerhouse mushrooms, like the Maitake. I found these amazing compounds here.
2. Omegas! We hear about all these all the time…. But there is more to the discussion than meets the eye. There are 3 types of Omegas in the body: 3, 6, and 9. The goal is to keep them in balance. However, the typical American diet has a 20x more Omega 6’s than Omega 3’s due to the high volume of snack foods, which are often high in oils and processed fats. This imbalance causes high cholesterol, blood clots, strokes, and water retention.
Conversely, Omega 3’s are found in fish, avocados, and good oils such as sunflower and coconut. The body can make Omega 9’s, if it needs to, but otherwise it can be found in olive oil and sunflower oil. The key thing is to supplement with Omega 3 in an effort to keep a perfect balance of all three omega types.
3. Vitamin shortages are a very common cause of heart problems. Most importantly, niacin works in the liver to reduce the fatty acids that form cholesterol. Niacin can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels while boosting High-Density lipoproteins (HDLs). (Double bonus!) Making sure all B vitamins are at sufficient levels is critical, as deficiencies in B1 (thiamine) has been shown to cause heart attacks. Lastly, magnesium is vital because it can change the shape and the condition of the heart valves.
4. Red yeast rice has been proven to lower LDL and triglycerides. Red yeast rice contains monacolin K, which is a statin (a chemical compound that lowers cholesterol.) In fact, monacolin K is the principal ingredient in the prescription cholesterol drug lovastatin (Mevacor). The FDA banned red yeast rice because it could interact with drugs that people are already taking, so you likely won’t find this product locally.
5. Plant sterols (phytosterols). Sterols are naturally found in nuts, fruits, vegetables, and some vegetable oils. They have been shown to help lower LDL and are now being added to food products such as juice, mayonnaise, and margarine.
6. The soluble fiber in oats helps the body get rid of excess cholesterol, which can improve heart disease. The American Dietetic Association recommends 25-30 grams of fiber a day to help lower cholesterol and possibly lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, most Americans average 15 grams. Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber, in addition to being an antioxidant, good source of protein and even Omega 3’s. (Triple score!)
7. The Q10 enzyme is found in all tissues of the body and necessary for metabolic reactions. It is vital for better heart health because of its antioxidant effects and ability to stabilize sodium and potassium activated enzymes. Increasing Q10 in the body has also reduced skin cancer, migraines, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s symptoms. CoQ10 can reenergize every cell in the heart and can literally remold the size and shape of the heart after the onset of congestive heart failure.
8. Hawthorn is a plant containing active flavonoids, which inhibit vasoconstriction and activate dilation of blood vessels. Because of this, it is a very popular treatment for congestive heart failure, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and high cholesterol. A real powerhouse here!
9. Chinese Dragon Tea has long been used in China to promote overall well-being, reduce inflammation, and support a healthy heart. Studies show that drinking as little as ½ cup of tea per day can lower blood pressure by 50%. I found this lightly sweet and nutty tasting tea here.
10. Heavy Metal Chelators, such as cilantro and chlorella, can reduce the risk of an acute coronary event. This is because they have ability to bind to excess calcium, which creates plaque in the arteries. Once the chelators bind to the calcium, they can be excreted via urine to leave the body. Opening up the arteries and removing built up plaque reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol, which are both triggers for major heart concerns.
Once I understood all the components that make a heart healthy, I was able to decide where I was lacking, and what I could add in to my diet to make my heart stronger. I now supplement with B vitamins, CoQ10, chia seeds for fiber and omega 3’s, and cilantro, whenever possible. With these helpful alternatives, hopefully you too can strengthen your heart, and even reverse damage, in order to continue to thrive and enjoy life passionately.