The first Friday of every February is designated as American Heart Month. Since 1964, this federally designated month has encouraged millions of people to unite in a common goal to eradicate heart disease and stroke. You may even notice many people wearing red to recognize this day.

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women? This is the case in the United States and world wide. More than half of all people who die due to heart disease are men. [1]

 

Lower Your Risks With Exercise
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of daily physical activity, and either 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly. Broken down, can you find 21 minutes a day for moderate exercise, or 11 minutes a day of vigorous activity? Walking is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. A half hour of brisk walking lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

 

Healing Herbs For Prevention
1. Fermented Garlic: Fermented garlic may help support healthy levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Participants in a 3-month study saw increased HDL levels after consuming 6 grams of fermented garlic twice a day before meals. It appears that a certain compound in garlic relaxes blood vessels which may lower blood pressure. [2]

2. Hawthorn: This herb strengthens deteriorated heart muscle, reduces cholesterol buildup in artery walls, lowers blood pressure and helps with arrhythmia and enlarged heart. Hawthorn dilates coronary arteries to improve circulation within the heart. [3]

3. Bilberry: This berry contains compounds that help with blood flow by strengthening capillaries. In fact, research has shown that bilberry not only strengthens coronary arteries but works on the tiniest capillaries in our eyes, which results in vision improvements. Strong antioxidant properties make it a great tonic for overall health.

4. Cayenne: Many herbalists think that cayenne should be added to herbal preparations because it gets blood flowing quickly. When a part of the body is ill, blood plays a key role as a delivery system. The blood has to get to the problem area to bring it the nutrition and healing elements it needs. Cayenne is remarkable for getting blood circulation going. Cayenne makes its way through any mucus that might be blocking veins, which in turn may help lower blood pressure.

5. Ginkgo Biloba: You may know Ginkgo Biloba best for improving brain function. This is due to its ability to boost circulation by facilitating arteries, capillaries and veins to dilate where needed. In addition, it inhibits blood from forming clots and stops free radicals from causing damage to vascular walls.

 

A Heart Healthy Diet
1. Oats: Oats contain large amounts of soluble fiber, which helps sweep up cholesterol in the digestive tract to prevent it from being assimilated by the bloodstream, keeping it from being deposited into the arteries.

2. Fatty Fish: Salmon, halibut and sardines contain heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart arrhythmia and atherosclerosis. If you are not a fish eater, omega-3 supplements are another option.

3. Berries and Citrus: Even just one weekly serving of strawberries, raspberries or blueberries can improve heart health. Berries contain high amounts of flavonoids and anthocyanin which help dilate blood vessels and have shown to reduce blood pressure. Studies show that oranges, lemons and grapefruit may significantly lower the risk of stroke and cerebral infarction (stroke). [4]

 

Let’s make February the month to develop good heart-healthy habits. If you are not already exercising, start slowly and work your way up (you may want to check with your physician first). Everyone has to start somewhere. Make realistic goals and build on them. Add heart healthy foods into your diet. Cut out processed foods. You may want to add those heart-boosting supplements, and/or think about Juice Plus to fill in the gaps.

Since February is also the month of LOVE, and because we LOVE our families, friends, and YOU, we want everyone to be HEALTHY and HAPPY. A healthy body produces better thoughts and mindset, increased productivity, better mobility, and better experiences by not holding you back physically, and even promotes better relationships! Wouldn’t you like to feel like a younger version of yourself and take back the energy and vitality you once had? You can! Implement good things every day and eliminate the bad things every day. Before long, you will notice your health improving and your risks lowering! It’s easier than you think!

 

We’re Here to Help YOU!
Sue Froschheuser

Sources:
[1]. Nichols, H. (2019). What are the Leading Causes of Death in the US? Retrieved on 2/02/2020 from medical news today.com
[2]. Heartland Nutrients Team (2019). Fermented Garlic Cloves. Retrieved on 2/02/2020 from heartlandnutrients.com
[3]. Eaton, L. MD, MHP; Kinkade, S., MD (2003). Hawthorn Extract Improves Chronic Heart Failure. Retrieved on 2/02/2020 from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
[4] Pacific College of Health & Science. Herbs for Heart Health. Retrieved on 2/02/2020 from pacificcollege.edur

 

About the Author

Sue Froschheuser M.H.

Sue Froschheuser M.H.

Master Herbalist
Sue received her certification as a Family Herbalist from the School of Natural Healing, and Master Herbalist certification from Trinity School of Natural Health. Sue is also continuing her Herbalism training in the areas of wound management, first-aid, and animal care.