Sunday, February 21, 2010

Super Stars for a Healthy Heart


By Kathy Thorpe, MA, Chom ©2010

Cardiovascular disease is still
the No. 1 cause of death in the United States among men and women. So whether you already have an issue with your heart or you feel relatively healthy, now is the time to take positive steps to protect your heart and improve your overall health and vitality at the same time. Remember, when you protect your heart, you protect every organ, tissue and cell in the body. Although allopathic medicine has made great progress in treating heart diseases, many people find that alternative medical approaches are able to treat the whole body as well as the underlying causes.

Homeopathy - a professional homeopath sees heart disease as an imbalance in the organism as a whole and takes into consideration the totality of a person in selecting a remedy: the main complaint, what makes it better or worse, as well as one's disposition, personality, dreams, fears, incidences of grief, likes & dislikes, how his or her body responds to different environments, stress and so on. The homeopathic remedy then acts as a stimulus to bring the body back into balance. When the body is in balance, profound healing occurs on all levels: emotionally, physically, and mentally. A person who tends to be anxious, for example, will be less so and much more able to handle the stresses of every day life.

Chinese Medicine has been treating heart issues for centuries. "The focus is on eliminating stagnation in the body and increasing blood flow and circulation," says David Scrimgeour, Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist in Boulder, Colorado. Scrimgeour has been treating people with heart disease for over twenty years and finds that many of the classical herbal formulas that support the heart in addition to acupuncture are extremely beneficial for people today. "Chinese medicine strengthens the heart, the body, and deals with the root of the imbalance," adds Scrimgeour

Acupuncture is one of the best natural treatments for your heart. It is able to correct subtle energetic imbalances in the body even before hypertension or heart disease is diagnosed. Recently in a ground-breaking study at UC Irvine, researchers found that acupuncture, using low levels of electrical stimulation, can significantly lower elevations in blood pressure. They identified at the cellular and molecular level how acupuncture excites brain cells to release neurotransmitters that modulate sympathetic nervous system outflow that precipitates coronary ischemia, arrhythmias and hypertension. This research leads the way for lowering blood pressure without medications and their side effects.

Important Supplements for the Heart
Coenzyme Q10 100 mg.-As the heart requires the highest level of energetic support in the body, CoQ10 is a powerful nutrient that sparks the energy within the cells of the heart.
L-Carnitine - transports fuel into heart cells to be burned as energy.
Magnesium 400-800 mg.- enhances blood flow, increases HDL and has a relaxing effect on the heart muscle and vascular system. Very important for arrhythmias.
Folic Acid increases blood flow to the heart and lowers homocysteine levels thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Vitamin C: 500 - 1,000 mg: antioxidant properties fight free radicals and protect the body's supply of nitric oxide which has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.
Vitamin D: lowers inflammation in the body, may lower blood pressure and supports the immune system.
Omega 3 Fish Oils (EPA&DHA) 2,000 - 3,000 mg.- enhance blood flow, prevent it from clotting too quickly, lower triglycerides, support healthy blood pressure, and DHA has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Kong May-is a powerful Chinese medical heart formula that lowers cholesterol & LDL, keeps blood vessels elastic, prevents coagulation and breaks down fibrin with Nattokinase- helping to prevent atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Lifestyle Suggestions:

Exercise for the Heart
Lower blood pressure naturally and support your heart with regular exercise such as walking, yoga, meditation or Qigong. Regular exercise strengthens the heart and helps it function more efficiently. Recent studies show that walking (45 minutes a day) is as good for your heart as strenuous cardio-vascular exercise. Since stress is one of the enemies of the heart, yoga, meditation, Qigong or T'ai chi protect the heart by promoting deep relaxation.

Food for the Heart
Support your heart with the best foods available: Increase the amount of organic vegetables and fruit you eat. They are high in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and nutrition. Cut down on salt and eat high-quality protein such as wild fish. If you eat red meat, choose buffalo, elk, or grass-fed beef. Increase high-fiber foods such as beans, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Eating a high-fiber diet decreases the levels of C-reactive protein (an indicator of inflammation and a high risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease). Bananas and raisins are a great source of potassium which is needed to maintain a low heart rate.
Don't forget the richly-colored foods high in polyphenols such as beets, red wine, pomegranates, green tea, cinnamon and turmeric - they have been shown to protect against oxidation, atherosclerosis and lower LDL. Finally, make sure you eat plenty of the good fats: omega 3s from cold-water fish, olive oil, avocado, olives, or flax seeds. They are a rich source of fuel, but also help prevent inflammation in the body.

Lower the Stress
Take a good look at the things in your life that cause you stress and worry. Every time you go into a state of stress, adrenaline and cortisol are released causing the arteries to constrict resulting in a rise in blood pressure and a decrease in blood flow and less oxygen circulating through the body. When this cascade of physiological events happens once or twice a year, the body readily returns to normal without damage. But when stress is occurring on a weekly or daily basis, nothing can be more detrimental to your heart. Certainly exercise, walking, yoga, meditation and Qigong can help enormously, but what can you do to reduce the causes of stress in your life? What changes you can make to bring more love, calm and joy into your life?

Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom, is a professional homeopath. She received her certification in classical homeopathy from the Homeopathy School International and has studied with many of the great homeopaths from around the world including Rajan Sankaran, Mahesh Ghandi, Anne Schadde and Will Taylor. She sees patients in her Boulder office and also does consultations on the phone. She can be reached at 303 583-0179. Prior to becoming a homeopath, Kathy taught English, Literature and Business English at U.C. Berkeley, the University of Colorado, and the Economics Institute.

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