Optimal Heart Health – Top Natural Remedies and Life Hacks
It’s hard to overestimate how hard the heart works. From about five weeks in the womb, the heart is central to our lives and wellbeing.
However, much about our lives puts the heart under constant strain. From poor lifestyle choices to nutrient-depleted diets to the stress of modern life and more, our hearts have to work harder than ever to keep up. The more that we do to support them and overcome these strains will add health and vitality for years to come.
About Heart Health
Heart disease is nothing new. In fact, researchers even found evidence of atherosclerosis (or a tightening of the arteries) in ancient Egyptian mummies. However, in the 1920s, medical professionals began to see a startling rise in heart attacks. Since then, heart health has come increasingly under attack:
- The American Heart Association estimates that 43% of the population will have some form of heart disease by 2030.
- Heart disease accounts for 31.5% of all deaths globally.
- Heart disease is even rising in children: 11% of children ages 8-17 have high or borderline high blood pressure.
Heart health is no longer something that we can take for granted. Instead, most of us need to take proactive steps to ensure our hearts remain strong even into old age.
At its most extreme, poor heart health can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF) or a stroke. However, even reduced circulation is related to a number of health problems, such as:
- Blood clots
- Poor focus and impaired memory
- Varicose veins
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Diminished bedroom desire and performance
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
Protecting our heart, then, is about more than just avoiding a potential heart attack. It means improving overall health and vitality.
How Plants Can Improve Heart Health
In a world that makes improving heart health difficult, we can use all the extra help to ensure it remains strong.
Thankfully, there are natural ways to help promote heart health and avoid unnecessary complications in the future. For thousands of years, health practitioners have noticed that certain plants promoted and enhanced their patients’ heart health. Now, researchers are able to study these plants to understand exactly how they reduce the risk of serious heart complications.
The beet is one plant separated into two parts: the leafy green at the top and the beetroot below that is usually dark red. Health practitioners have long identified how a plant could help promote health based on its appearance. Because of the beet’s deep red color, they long associated it with blood and heart health.
Science has allowed us to find out the real benefits behind beets, and we have mostly found them correct.
Beets are rich in a property called nitrates. Most of us have heard that nitrates are harmful to our health, specifically to our hearts. This is true of processed nitrates found in processed meats. However, scientists have found that the body converts natural nitrates into nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a powerful compound for boosting heart and artery health. In particular, it signals the muscles in the arteries to relax, which improves overall blood flow and heart health. Nitric oxide’s ability to relax the muscles also leads to lower blood pressure, critical to long-term heart health.
As a result, research repeatedly shows that beets are critical for lowering blood pressure. A review of 11 studies found that beetroots helped participants control their blood pressure. Another analysis of 16 studies found it was associated with a “significant” reduction of systolic blood pressure, even without medication.
Research continues to substantiate the relaxing effect of beetroots. A randomized and double-blind study from 2020 found it helped lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure is critical for overall heart health. When arteries are tight, the heart has to work harder to push blood through. Lowering blood pressure can help take some strain off the heart and improve overall health.
Hibiscus is a beautiful tropical flower that cultures typically use in teas worldwide. Referred to as “sour tea” in Iran, practitioners use it for various health complaints. One of its most popular uses is promoting circulation and improving cardiovascular health.
Today, researchers found that it can provide a potent boost to the heart. In particular, researchers have found that it can protect against heart disease.
Inflammation through oxidative stress is linked with many conditions associated with poor heart health. For example, hypertension and mitochondrial dysfunction both affect the heart, and experts link with oxidative stress.
However, hibiscus can fight against this oxidative stress to help promote heart health. One study on humans found that those who took it for six weeks had better oxidative stress. Another 2020 study found that hibiscus had a protective effect on mice against oxidative stress.
It can also help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing hypertension. One review found that it worked better than certain medications in lowering blood pressure.
More recent research continues to find that it can have a protective effect on the heart. In fact, a 2019 study discovered it significantly cut the risk of heart disease and improved vascular function. Another 2020 review found that it helped lower blood pressure.
Garlic is not just a popular flavoring for food; it is also a powerful heart boost. Health practitioners worldwide have known that garlic has many health benefits. Almost every civilization has used garlic in some medicinal form.
Researchers have unlocked many mysterious compounds in garlic that make it beneficial for the heart. In particular, they found that it has a number of properties to help maintain heart health.
In a review of 20 studies, researchers found that garlic significantly lowered blood pressure. Another review with over 2300 participants with high cholesterol shows that it lowered cholesterol by 10%.
The most recent research substantiates these findings. A 2020 review found that garlic reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients and improved their cardiovascular health.
Most of us want to improve our heart health, lower our risk of getting hypertension, and achieve more vitality. Garlic can be a powerful boost to do just that.
Panax ginseng also goes by “true ginseng” to differentiate it from American ginseng. It is a slow-grown plant found in Korea, Russia, and northeastern China. Practitioners harvest the root at five or six years old to get the most benefits. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have used the plant to aid blood flow for centuries.
Today, researchers are beginning to identify the unique properties and health benefits of Panax ginseng. In particular, they have classified over 40 compounds in the root that combat oxidative stress.
A 2017 review of multiple studies found Panax reduces the risk of diseases related to oxidative stress. The review also found it was particularly potent in protecting the heart. Another review also confirmed the heart-boosting effects. Yet a third review found that it had many benefits for the cardiovascular system.
Bedroom performance issues are often associated with heart issues. Panax may be able to help by improving overall blood flow. One review of multiple studies found its effectiveness in boosting performance. Other research also correlated the root with increased performance and satisfaction.
While most of us know that ginger helps ease an upset stomach, ginger has even more ways to boost our health. Researchers have found that ginger can also be a powerful way to enhance our heart health. One study found that eating it reduced the participants’ risk of high blood pressure.
In particular, research shows that it can help slow and stop plaque formation in the arteries. One study on mice found it stopped atherosclerosis formation, while another on rabbits discovered suppressed plaque formation.
Blood sugar is also associated with heart disease. In fact, type 2 diabetes is a known risk factor for a heart attack. Ginger can also help. One study found that it lowers two blood sugars that are associated with heart disease.
Pine trees can be found worldwide thanks to their hardy properties. It can withstand almost any environment with nearly a hundred different species.
Many cultures, identifying its tough nature, use various parts of the tree to boost their health. The bark, in particular, is full of antioxidants that can boost heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Most of us know that a poor diet can contribute to heart disease. Although no one supplement can overcome a poor diet, pine bark can still provide some help. A study found that it reduced atherosclerosis formation in mice with an unhealthy diet. Another study on rats also found it protected the heart even after an injury.
Human studies also show the promising benefits of pine bark. One review with over 1000 participants found it reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Another study found that it helped lower blood pressure in participants.
Pine bark can also improve blood flow for performance issues. One study discovered that those with performance issues returned to normal after taking pine bark and amino acids.
Life Hacks for Heart Health
Although supplements can help boost heart health, they cannot overcome poor lifestyle choices. Here are some of the ways to improve heart health:
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
The medical establishment insisted that high-fat diets were the underlying lifestyle factor behind heart attacks for many years. However, now experts have pinpointed inflammation as the more likely cause of heart disease.
An anti-inflammatory diet is crucial for heart health. Avoiding corn and soybean oils, sugars, conventional dairy, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats are essential to reducing inflammation. In addition, a diet high in vegetables, fruits, pastured meats, good quality fats, and some whole carbohydrates can all work to lower inflammation in the body.
Smoking does more than damage the lungs. Researchers have found in multiple studies that smoking contributes to a higher risk of heart disease. It promotes plaque development in the arteries, leading to heart disease. Those who want to improve their heart health need to quit smoking first and foremost.
Movement is one of the best ways to improve heart health. In fact, research shows that exercise is as beneficial as certain medications. Find a way to move that you enjoy. Yoga, walking, HIIT, dancing, Tai Chi, Crossfit, and running are just a few options to choose from to improve your heart.
Stress increases cortisol in the body, which contributes to chronic inflammation. Stress is inevitable in modern life, but there are ways to keep it from becoming chronic. Start toning down caffeine, journaling, meditating, praying, and spending time with loved ones. Also, find an enjoyable and creative activity, such as cooking, gardening, or making art, to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Get more sleep
Research has found that sleep can seriously interfere with heart health and increase the chance of a heart attack. One study found those who sleep less than six hours a night had a 20% higher risk of a heart attack.
Make sleep a priority for a healthy heart. Turn off screens at night and do a calming activity before bed, such as a warm bath, gentle yoga, or reading, to get quality sleep.
Boost Heart Health and Maintain Vitality
The heart works hard, so any help it can get is vital. Lifestyle changes are most critical when tackling heart health. However, supplements can provide a crucial boost to give it the advantage it needs for optimal health.
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