It has been said that for men between the ages of 35 and 55 the first sign of heart disease is a fatal heart attack. Now that is a frightening statistic! Please don’t allow that to happen to you!
As with many other health conditions, heart health is impacted by what’s known as the three dimensions of stress; physical, bio-chemical, and emotional. Let’s take a closer look at applying the three-dimensions of stress reduction to our heart health and some recommendations that might just be what the doctor ordered to save your life!
Physical: Any heart health program should start with strengthening the muscle responsible for pumping blood throughout our body! Gone are the days where hours of a sustained cardio workout are recommended. Rather, the best cardio workout is by implementing interval training which is also known as burst training or HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training.
To achieve HIIT, you want to get your heart beating at 80-95% of your Maximum Heart Rate. You determine this by subtracting your age from 220:
For me at age 67, my Maximum Heart Rate is 153 (220-67=153); at 80-95%, my HIIT heartrate goal is between 122 and 145 (153x.8=122 to 153x.95=145). The key is to maintain your max heart rate for 1 to 3 minutes, and then rest for 1 to 3 minutes, and then repeat.
What makes your heart strong is the ramping up of your heartrate and the bringing it down. This routine better prepares our heart for stress. The disclaimer here is: before beginning any new workout routine, please be sure to consult your physician.
Bio-Chemical: Specifically, we are referring to our diet and just like you will find differing opinion in how to exercise our heart, so too you will find dietary recommendations that seem to contradict each other. Whatever diet you do choose, there are a few basic tenets that can be applied to heart smart eating.
Across the board, most everybody agrees that saturated fats are best to keep at a minimum. Yes, even while following a keto diet. Saturated fats are generally those fats that remain a solid at room temperature. If you are following a keto diet, the best fats to consume are olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, and avocados.
Beyond fat consumption, we should be most concerned about our intake of sugar and processed foods. Processed foods typically contain hidden sugar and chemicals. Excess sugar, leads to obesity and insulin resistance. Both are stressful on our heart.
Bottom line, cut back on saturated fats and sugar, as much as possible.
Emotional: This one hits home for me, since I come from a long line of, dare I say it, hot-headed Italians. In fact, my grandfather on my mother’s side died while he was in his early 50’s. This was just before I was born, but as I understood it, he would frequently fly into an angry rage. He was also overweight; he likely did not eat well, or exercise. Let’s just say, he didn’t have a lot going for him regarding good heart health. However, there is no doubt that his hot-headedness was definitely a contributing factor to his early demise.
Whether you are admittedly a hot-head or if you internalize your anger, it might be a good idea to work in this area. In fact, we do a test in the office called Heart Rate Variability. It can determine how much stress you have. It takes just 3-minutes and we would be happy to perform this test for you if you are curious, just let us know!
Ways to mitigate emotional stress include CBD oil, meditation, BEMER, and intentional breathing techniques. One such technique is known as Box Breathing. While using this technique, you want to sit comfortably, hands on your thighs palms up, and eyes closed. While relaxed, begin by breathing in slowly for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 4, breath out slowly for a count of 4, hold that for a count of 4, and do it 4 times.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions, and as always, your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
Solutions for Better Health, Naturally!
Peter A Holst, DC