Real love: Heart healthy behaviour

Heart health with Dr. Aoife Earls Oakville Naturopath

Happy Valentines’ Day! Yes, this “hol­i­day” is very com­mer­cial, but per­haps we can think about it as a day oth­er than one to stuff ourselves with candy and chocol­ate, or wheth­er we have a “date” to cel­eb­rate with (which in truth, is irrel­ev­ant). Valentines’ Day should be a day of love, love of all kinds, and atten­tion to keep­ing our phys­ic­al hearts and emo­tion­al hearts clean and clear.

5 Heart Healthy Nutrients for our Physical Heart

  1. Omega-3’s: My favour­ite source is fish oils, but algae-based oil (my vegan friends) is also from the sea and both types sup­ply enough good essen­tial fats that reduce car­di­ovas­cu­lar incid­ents (heart attacks) whenev­er they are included in the diet in ample supply.
  2. Magnesium: When used after car­di­ovas­cu­lar epis­odes (heart attacks), mag­nesi­um sig­ni­fic­antly pre­vents a sec­ond­ary attack by allow­ing the heart to pump more effi­ciently and with improved rhythm.
  3. CoQ10: Also known as ubi­quin­ol, CoQ10 provides energy to cells, and for muscle cells spe­cific­ally (of which the heart is a large muscle), CoQ10 improves con­tractil­ity and takes pres­sure off weakened heart tis­sues. It is an import­ant part of cho­les­ter­ol syn­thes­is (yes, we still need cholesterol).
  4. Plant ster­ols: Good cho­les­ter­ols from plants help our body to syn­thes­ize good cho­les­ter­ol and add to the total good cho­les­ter­ol (HDL or Happy Cholesterol as I nick­name this for my patients) in our body. When we have bet­ter qual­ity cho­les­ter­ol, then we have reduced inflam­ma­tion and more supple arter­ies, mean­ing less pres­sure on the heart to pump overall.
  5. Amino acid sup­port: Taurine and L‑arginine are two amino acids that have the capa­city to reduce blood pres­sure when used appro­pri­ately and admin­istered by your natur­o­path­ic doctor.
  6. Exercise: 3 – 4 times weekly for at least 20 minutes at a pace that feels right to you. You should be breath­less but not exhausted after every workout. Mix it up; walk­ing, bik­ing, jump­ing on a tram­po­line, spin­ning classes, you name it. Something that makes you feel invig­or­ated and it is fun.

5 Healthy Heart Habits for your Emotional Heart

  1. Express your love. If you love your friends and fam­ily, tell them or show them as much as you can. Giving love will get it back to you, and think of how warm you phys­ic­ally when you express positivity?
  2. Express “neg­at­ive” emo­tions appro­pri­ately. Repressing feel­ings con­sidered “bad” like anger is not healthy because it cre­ates stress in your body, but scream­ing at every­one you meet because you are hav­ing a bad day isn’t appro­pri­ate either. Learn to express your feel­ings in a way that hon­ours your needs but respects oth­ers. Get them out so you can move on.
  3. Develop lov­ing beha­viours. Find organ­iz­a­tions or char­it­ies that make you feel like lov­ing and giv­ing, the best parts of your­self, and get involved. Your efforts will cre­ate joy and love for oth­ers that money can­not buy.
  4. Forgive oth­ers, and for­give your­self. It does­n’t feel good when someone hurts your feel­ings, or when you hurt someone else unin­ten­tion­ally. Holding onto the emo­tions of anger or sad­ness are really only tak­ing away from you. Forgiveness provides a lot of peace to a weary, burdened heart. Don’t know how? Ask for help from a trus­ted ment­or, good friend, or health professional.
  5. Love thy­self. You are imper­fect, and that’s okay. What you have to offer the world will be appre­ci­ated by many dif­fer­ent people, and that is pretty cool.

When we think about ourselves as a whole, our heart will be able to func­tion as it should — with love. Loving hearts are heal­ing for oth­ers’ to be around as well as a joy­ful life to live.

Biggest hugs,

Dr. Aoife ND

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