Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Build Your Heart Strong

Heart Healthy Strategies

Pray. A study released in the American Heart Journal in 2001 says prayer helps the heart when combined with medical and healthcare procedures. Connection with God, a cultivation of your spiritual life, can greatly benefit and positively impact your health. “A heart at peace gives life to the body” (Proverbs 14:30).

Get Regular, Moderate Exercise. Daily low intensity exercise appears to help reduce your chances of having heart disease. Try a brisk walk for at least an hour with your spouse, a neighbor, or a friend. Join a gym and take classes you enjoy, lift some weights, jump in the pool and swim some laps. You don’t need to be a marathoner to maximize your heart health. Plant a garden.

Nourish Yourself with Vegetables. Determine to put only whole foods in your body. Plant-based diets rich in legumes are associated with fewer heart attacks. Beans are full of heart healthy flavonoids which can reduce your risk of heart attack. Whole grains deliver fiber, cholesterol reducers, antioxidants, clot blockers, plus essential minerals. A glass of goat’s milk contains components that might help protect against inflammatory diseases of aging such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Snack on nuts – at least 4 major studies have confirmed that eating nuts has an impact on reducing the risk of heart disease.

Soak up the Sun. Vitamin D in our bodies controls key elements of the immune system, blood pressure, and cell growth. Your skin manufactures vitamin D when it comes in contact with the sun. Without that vitamin D, we increase our risk for nearly all age-related diseases including many types of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and even autoimmune diseases like MS (multiple sclerosis). Living in Minnesota we are limited by our winter months, but can take vitamin D3 to keep our immune systems in top shape throughout the colder months.

Laugh Often. Studies have found that a belly laugh a day may keep the doctor away. In 2005, researchers at the University of Maryland showed that laughter helped relax blood vessels, linking it to healthier function and a possible decreased risk of heart attack. Others have found that laughter may lower blood pressure and increase the amount of disease-fighting cells found in the body.

Sleep Tight. Getting enough sleep keeps the immune system functioning smoothly, decreases the risk of heart attack, and recharges the brain. Adults both young and old need between 7-9 hours per night. To help get it, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning; keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool; and use a comfortable mattress and pillows.
By: Robin Kragness

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