MONTH 4 OF OUR WELLNESS FEATURE
LOVE YOUR HEART!
Let’s do a quick recap of our SIX MONTHS OF WELLNESS FEATURE. In our first month we discussed AWARENESS and how this is the fundamental basis to initiating better health. You can’t fix what you don’t realize is broken. Click here: July Wellness Feature. In the second month, we discussed ADRENAL health and stress management and how you can eat super healthy and exercise but if you are overworking your body or not incorporating some type of stress management such as breathing, mindful body movement or meditation, this can lead to adrenal fatigue and other health problems. Click here: August Wellness Feature. Last month, we talked about DIGESTION and the intestinal problems that can arise, even when eating healthy, due to too much stress or when digestion has been compromised due to SIBO or other factors. Click here: September Wellness Feature.
This month, we are going to talk about HEART HEALTH and remembering to LOVE OUR HEARTS! Eating healthily definitely contributes to better heart health but so does regular exercise (especially cardio) and keeping anger under wraps with stress management techniques. Anger can cause issues within the liver and also weaken the heart. If you find you are constantly irritable or angry all the time, it could be time to assess liver and heart health. The heart definitely can be affected from physical, mental and emotional strain and yes, while a broken heart can heal, if you are suffering from many emotional upheavals in your life over short time, this can damage heart muscle and function. Too much stress can cause irregular heart beats or high blood pressure and too many fatty foods can cause heart plaque and inflammation. It can be easy to take our hard-working hearts for granted. Pumping and circulating blood all day long and keeping us alive, we need to nurture and protect this life-giving organ!
WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF HEART DISEASE AND WHAT CAUSES THEM?
Some of the conditions that a compromised heart can lead to include:
This is where a buildup of plaque causes blood vessels to become narrow and sometimes blocked due to too much inflammation, causing slower circulation and eventually possibly leading to a heart attack. This can be prevented or improved with exercise, following a Mediterranean diet and stress management. Keep reading below the conditions for specific ways to manage/prevent this disease.
These are abnormal heartbeats causing chest pain, breathlessness and sometimes fainting. Keeping the heart rate steady with regular exercise and avoid a racing heart by keeping blood sugar stable as well as managing stress levels, will help regulate your heart beat. Avoiding caffeine can also make a big difference.
This disease is where fat in the arteries harden and becomes plaque in the vessels and stiffens the artery walls. This fatty plaque prevents proper circulation throughout the body. It is the most common cause of heart disease and caused by a lifestyle consisting of poor diet, lack of exercise, sedentary job, smoking and obesity. Lifestyle changes can prevent this disease and also greatly improve any existing condition.
Not as common, this is an infection from bacteria or other germs surrounding the heart’s chambers and valves. When the immune system is functioning well, the body can rid the infection on its own. Usually those with a heart condition already are more at risk and especially those with both a heart condition and a compromised immune system are at the most risk. Being on top of your immunity health and improving any heart conditions can prevent this disease.
Also known as an enlarged heart, people can be born with this condition however, high blood pressure and the effects of the aging process can contribute to this disease as well. Keeping blood pressure levels stable with a healthy diet rich in vegetables and potassium as well as exercise and incorporating healthy aging into your lifestyle can help prevent this disease as you get older. Life doesn’t have to go downhill just because you are aging! The numbers may increase but longevity can be achieved!
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We all love our comfort foods especially in times of stress. However, it’s during those times of stress when we need to be most diligent about what we are putting into our bodies. Stress is already creating wear and tear so we need to be aware of what we are doing and eating to manage that wear and tear. If you have heart disease and you’re under lots of stress, try to be as strict as possible with the following diet:
1) Minimal Refined Carbohydrates
Did you know that if you do not burn off the carbohydrates that you eat and/or you are overeating a carb rich diet, that carbs and sugar turn to fat? Ensure you are eating whole grains in moderation (unless you’re vegetarian, then your meals will consist of mostly whole grains paired with legumes for a complete protein) which are full of fibre and slow digesting such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat, spelt, rye. Unfamiliar with some of these? Try something new; you can make flour out of these grains and prepare pancakes and muffins or cook the whole grain as an oatmeal or side dish. You can find many recipes online using these grains and more. The key is to AVOID white flour, starches such as potato and corn starch, and most sugars. If you have trouble tolerating any grains and you are not vegetarian, keep all whole grain and starchy carbohydrates to a minimum. Focus on getting your carbs from vegetables such as beets, non-GMO corn, sweet potatoes as well as non-starchy vegetables such as lettuces, kale, green beans, celery, carrots and broccoli.
2) Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill
Ever hear that saying? It’s true; refined, oxidized, deodorized and yes, even some oils are bleached. These are poisonous in the body and are usually found in refined vegetable oils used for cooking and frying. Combined with the high heat, this is a building block right here for heart disease. On top of this, too many unhealthy fats found in butter and milk fat can accumulate inflammation causing even more risk. Some dairy is ok if you are tolerant, but if you have a diet high in cream, full fat milk and yogurt and butter on a regular basis, consider reducing your consumption. A cow’s milk molecules are meant for a baby cow and while we can enjoy dairy in moderation, most people are intolerant due to the large molecules that can’t be broken down properly in the human digestive track. These undigested dairy fats can end up accumulating as toxins which is why sometimes dairy causes eczema, asthma and IBS. If you do enjoy dairy and can tolerate it well enough, opt for grass fed, organic and if you have heart disease, low fat. Eat it in moderation. A test to see if you are not digesting it well is to remove it for 10 days and see if certain things improve. Regarding fat, the key here is NOT AVOIDING FAT. We need fat to survive but we need the RIGHT fats and in the right composition so we get all the EPA and DHA we need from Omega 3, 6,9. The best healing fats are ones that are unprocessed, unheated, raw and most of the time, need to be refrigerated and have a short shelf life such as cold pressed flax oil, raw nut and seed oils, hemp oil and of course good quality fish or cod liver oil (Omegas 3 and 6). Coconut oil is great as you can also cook with it (Omega 9). Unrefined extra virgin coconut is the best for you however this is a saturated fat so if you are lowering the amount of saturated fats in your diet, use this one in moderation. Extra virgin olive oil should be used as your primary oil (omega 9) and can be used raw or at medium heat for cooking. Eating a diet rich in fish, nuts and seeds and olive oil will give you all the fat nutrients you need for general health but also physical performance and mental clarity.
3) Clean and Lean Protein Sources
Protein is important. We need to pay extra attention if you are not eating meat and relying on a plant food diet only. We need all the amino acids in order for protein to be utilized properly in the body. Meat eaters will get all their amino acids from that source of protein however, sole plant eaters must ensure they are combining their proteins correctly to get the full amino acid complex. The quality of the protein is also key in reducing inflammation. Lean meat is preferred as too much saturated animal fat can contribute to clogged arteries and excess plaque/inflammation. Organic chicken and wild fish are great choices . Organic sources of meat will have less risk of antibiotic contamination, hormone injections and pesticide residue. Grass fed cows contain more of the essential Vitamin E well as B Vitamins and EFAs. If you’re a plant eater, combine whole grains and legumes and/or raw nuts to get a complete protein. Avoid starches such a pea, corn and rice as much as possible as these easily turn to sugar. Organic natural tofu and soybeans (opt for non-GMO) are considered a complete protein and can be used in lieu of meat. Focus on lean and quality (yes organic meat can be pretty unaffordable at times so then do the next best thing and seek foods that are non-GMO, wild, grass fed, free range, antibiotic free and hormone free). Eggs are also a great source of protein but if you need to lower your cholesterol, limit yourself to a few per week.
4) Other Diet Tips
Drink lots of water and herbal teas. Use spices and herbs such as fresh garlic, ginger and cinnamon. If you have heart disease, avoid high sugar soda and sugary juices and drinks. Avoid most alcohol but enjoy a little red wine if you like. Avoid caffeine if you are experiencing heart arrhythmias which can make them worse. Following this as much as possible while indulging once in a while, will decrease your risk of getting heart disease.
White Flour or High Starch Items
(Most store-bought bakery items)
White Sugar, Fructose, Artificial
(salad dressings, margarine, canola oil)
Full fat dairy
Snack bars, cookies, granola bars, peanuts
Soda, juice, hard alcohol and beer
Whole grains and whole grain flour
(Quinoa, Millet, Oats, Buckwheat, Spelt, Rye)
Honey, Pure Maple Syrup, Cane Sugar in moderation
(Omega 3-6-9: raw nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil)
Low fat dairy in moderation (organic or grass fed)
Apples, Almonds, Nut and Seed Butters, Pears, Grapes, Pomegranates
Coconut water, water with lemon, herbal tea, red wine
For anyone with heart disease, cardio is the best form of exercise. This can be a brisk walk for a half hour per day if you are limited however running, hiking, biking, swimming, kick boxing, martial arts, or using the cardio equipment at the gym, will get your heart pumping most effectively. You need a minimum of half hour per day and work up to an hour for best results or if you need to lose weight. If you have trouble working out, you’re immobile or do not presently have the energy, using an infrared sauna session can help you get the cardio workout you need. A single 30 minute session can burn up to 600 calories and works your heart equivalent to a 30-60 min cardio workout. On top of these benefits, you will sweat out toxins at the cellular level, reduce inflammation within the body, repair any injuries quicker, boost your immunity by heating and destroying bacteria and viruses while also reducing muscle tension and pain. For other mindful movement exercises for better flexibility, stress management, chronic injuries and pain, see below for other types of exercises that will complement your cardio exercises.
Check out our sauna specials this month or try a session today using our first-time discount. Not fussed about getting hot and sweaty? An infrared sauna heats up the body slowly at a more tolerable temperature than a conventional sauna. It is a comfortable and effective treatment with many benefits.
Heart disease and stress/anger can exacerbate the other. Therefore, if you have heart disease and you are also under a lot of stress and/or pressure, then stress management is a must. There are many different ways you can manage your stress as discussed in our previous months of the 6 Months of Wellness Feature including:
1) MIND/BODY WORK
This can be as simple as slow deep breathing. Try yoga, meditation or some type of mindful movement/exercise. Here are some suggestions:
Stress Management Therapy
Not sure where to start or which practitioner to see first? Check in with Lehla Moran (owner of Salt) for a Stress Management consultation.
Lehla Moran – firstname.lastname@example.org
Counselling or Coaching
Claire De Boer, RCC
Somatic Yoga/Breath Work
Edi Spanier – online group and in person private
Osteopathic Approach to Pilates
2) STRESS RELIEF/THERAPY AND SELF CARE
a. Sensory Deprivation/Floatation Therapy – with 800-1000 pounds of Epsom salt, this therapy forces your muscles to relax inducing a deep restorative state of calm for the mind. An excellent method to restore and relax the body without any effort.
b. Massage Therapy – there are so many types of massage from all over the world, choose whatever suits you best to take you away for an hour or two and let all the focus go to your hard-working body – our therapists at Salt Wellness uses special techniques to relax muscles and soothe the nervous system.
The following supplements can assist with heart health management and disease prevention:
- Coenzyme Q10 – can lower blood pressure either on its own or along with medications and can also help with the side effects from cholesterol lowering statins which affect the amount of CoQ10 the body can make on its own.
- Good quality fish oil – add this supplement especially if you don’t eat fish or very little of it. Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids. It can greatly reduce levels of triglycerides, which is unhealthy fat in your blood and also improve blood pressure.
- Vitamin D – low levels have shown an increased risk in heart disease
- Resveratrol may protect blood vessel walls and promote healthy levels of both HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also promotes normal blood pressure.
Maple Orange Salmon with Mango Salsa
Health Cleanse Bowl
Chickpea and Lentil Curry
This month’s winner is NEIL KUMAR. Please enjoy a complimentary Infrared Sauna session! Redeemable for the next three months!