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Cardiovascular Health

Though laughter is good for the heart, heart disease is no laughing matter. One person dies of heart disease every 33 seconds in North America! Heart disease by definition is something that affects your heart.Cardiovascular disease, on the other hand, also involves the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the trillions of cells that make up your body.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to optimize your cardiovascular health and avoid the pitfalls that lead to heart disease. There are simple ways to take charge of your cardiovascular health. Remember to drink enough water daily (proper hydration), get plenty of exercise and get plenty of sleep. There’s a difference between surviving and thriving. You and your loved ones deserve to thrive and live a full, healthy life.

There are three risk factors for heart disease. The first is cholesterol. It’s not just the total cholesterol that’s the problem, but also the ratio between good and bad cholesterol.Another factor is homocysteine, which is something in the blood that’s an independent risk factor for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

The third risk factor for heart disease is inflammation. It also affects the quality of your life. Any type of inflammation in your body (conditions usually ending with the suffix “itis”) should be controlled and treated immediately. Examples are sinusitis, dermatitis and appendicitis.

How does one manage cholesterol? You need to control your stress. Improper management of stress leads to higher cholesterol, greater food radical damage and out-of-control inflammation. Stress erodes away at your health. You also need to make sure you have proper and regular bowel movements (2-3 bowel movements a day is ideal). Eating plenty of foods with fiber can help you achieve this. A healthy colon is a healthy you! Less than 11% of Americans consume the right amount of fruits and vegetables. Be a healthy part of the population! Examples of fibrous foods you can eat are broccoli, grapes, carrots and apples. Fiber binds up cholesterol and eliminates it on a daily basis.

Some foods/supplements that help lower cholesterol are:

• Soy peptide and soy foods
• Policosanol (extract derived from sugar cane)
• Traditional Chinese mushrooms (contains antioxidants, lessens inflammation in your body, bolsters your immune system)
• Fish oil (has essential fatty acids and DHA, improves brain function and concentration and also lowers inflammation in the body)
• Flaxseed oil (alternative to fish oil for vegetarians)
• Botanicals (herbal medicine that lessen inflammation, example: white willow and tumeric)
• Folic Acid, B12 and B6 (B Vitamins help manage stress)
• Vegetables (examples arebroccoli, cauliflower and kale. Avoid iceberg lettuce)

The important thing is to be proactive in managing your cholesterol. When you get your blood drawn, ask for your cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels. You want your C-reactive protein to be below one. The higher your C-reactive protein level, the higher the risk of heart disease.

Also avoid food allergies. Watch out for delayed food allergies that cause allergic reactions about 72 hours after you consumed the food allergen. Get a simple food allergy test, which is a home test that determines which foods you are allergic to.

These are simple steps you can take to manage your health. Encourage your family to take care of themselves, too. Enjoy growing old together. Now that you know how to manage your cardiovascular health, lower your cholesterol, reduce inflammation and beat stress, you can be proactive in taking care of yourself.

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