The big scary C word is a word you never want to hear while at the doctors office. Cancer is often seen as the ‘death diagnosis’ but this isn’t necessarily the case. Many people survive cancer, and for the most part, you have an earlier diagnosis on cancer. While this isn’t always the case, it mostly is. My grandfather received his cancer diagnosis and died less than a month later.
Sometimes it really is too late, and this is sad. However, cancer tends to show up in signs and symptoms and it happens to be the #2 killer in the United States. The #1 killer, the #1 culprit however is heart disease. Heart health is incredibly important as your heart is the muscle that pumps blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Here are the stats:
Heart disease was responsible for 167 deaths per 100,000 Americans in 2014. Cancer was a close second at 161.2 deaths. Making heart disease the biggest killer. With heart disease however, a heart attack can creep up on you and it death can happen instantly, whereas cancer at least typically gives you time.
Cancer Has More Focus And Earlier Diagnosis Technology
For whatever reason cancer is more visible when it comes to getting an earlier diagnosis. The head start on cancer is great because you can quite literally begin eating anti-cancer foods, roots, herbs and things. There are many plants, nutrients and foods that are shown to be anti-cancerous at this point.
Heart disease however, isn’t as visible. Doctors may be able to see plaque or calcification of the arteries, but in most cases they cannot. In other words, it’s difficult for the medical profession to know how hard your heart is working. Sure, there is technology to measure this, however, it’s not always seen, that’s the issue.
What Causes Heart Disease?
Heart disease is caused by consuming foods, oils and drinks that deteriorate or weaken the heart. There are specific foods, oils and drinks that do weaken the heart. The foods that harm your heart and arterial health are what you want to beware of. The arteries carry blood to and from the heart and if arterial health is hindered in any way your heart has to work harder to get the same job. So really, your heart and arterial health go hand-in-hand.
Foods To Avoid For Optimal Heart Health:
Processed sugar can raise blood pressure as well as create inflammation in the body. This alteration of blood sugar levels, blood pressure and inflammation ultimately make the heart work harder. Have sugar in the form of fruit, or natural carbohydrates instead of packaged and processed sugary foods or drinks.
Processed salt will harm the body as the ratio of minerals in the body needs to be correct. Most people have too much sodium in their diet and not enough potassium and magnesium in their diet. Potassium and magnesium help to regulate the heart rate and too much salt but not enough of these other minerals will cause blood pressure challenges, and cause the heart to work too hard.
Too Much Calcium:
If your diet is too rich in calcium but doesn’t have enough phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in it then your body can store calcium in the wrong ways, in unhealthy places. Unhealthy calcium storage looks like bone spurs, arthritis, and worse, having calcium and plaque build up in your arteries. This constricts arterial blood flow and causes the heart muscle to pump harder. The challenge here is to get more phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in your diet.
Lack Of Movement:
Movement is critical for heart health and heart rate. To move continuously is an important thing. Walks are one of the best things you can do for heart health.
Research shows that if you’re under the age of 60 years old 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily decrease mortality. If you’re over 60 years old, 6,000 to 8,000 steps daily decrease mortality. Don’t ever underestimate the health benefits of simply going for a walk! Benefits so much!
It’s also important not only to walk, this is a baseline act that should be normal and continuous. It’s also important to get your heart rate up to practice creating an adaptive heart and healthy HRV (heart rate variability) also. HRV is the measurement of fluctuation in the time in intervals between heartbeats. A healthier HRV means that your body, heart and nervous system are more adaptive under stress. The body handling stress better means that your heart can withstand more stress and not carry that load, as long or as far.
Low Nitric Oxide Levels:
Nitric oxide (or NO) is a gaseous molecule that our body carries specifically within the blood. Nitric oxide is a good thing, and you want more of it. Healthy levels of nitric oxide support the micro-circulation in the body. This helps blood flow better and for it to reach the difficult to reach place in the body. This could be the edge of your toes or feet, to the areas of your body that have injuries or atrophy that haven’t received the most optimal blood flow since those injuries.
In other words, nitric oxide just helps things flow better. When the blood transports better the nutrients within the blood get to where they need to also.
You can boost your levels of nitric oxide naturally by eating more nitric oxide rich foods such as leafy greens, pomegranate, cacao (chocolate), beets, garlic, citrus fruits and watermelon! A lot of green and red foods support nitric oxide levels, something to keep in mind.
Beyond diet and nutrition, sunshine is an incredibly healing tool for cardiovascular health. Vitamin D3 helps to synthesize calcium properly. So if your body does have a built up reserve of calcium (which is not healthy) the nutrient you receive from the sun helps to metabolize it naturally. So get outside, drink water, stay hydrated, get some sun on your skin, move your body and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables!
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