With one in six Australians affected by cardiovascular health issues, heart health problems remain at the forefront of the national agenda.
To equip us with the information we need to ensure we are looking after our hearts in the best way possible, leading integrative cardiologist Dr Ross Walker,offers these top five tips for keeping your heart healthy over 60, naturally:
1. Load up on omegas, healthy fats and turmeric
Unhealthy diet is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease in Australia. People of all ages generally do not eat enough of the five food groups and eat too many junk foods high in salt, fat and sugar.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, and additionally, reduce inflammation in the body, particularly around the joints. Load up your plate with salmon, walnuts and oils rich in essential fatty acids like flaxseed and hemp. One study conducted in Japan found that curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its distinct yellow colour, significantly improved cardiac health over a three-week period and reduced inflammatory lesions in the heart area. This ancient spice also has potent anti-inflammatory effects, and many experts believe it can be extremely effective in assisting the reduction of inflammation.
You've probably heard about Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10), a naturally occurring antioxidant in your body, but you may not have heard of Ubiquinol, the active (more easily absorbed) form of CoQ10, responsible for providing your cells with energy. Ubiquinol has also been shown to assist in maintaining healthy levels of LDL cholesterol. If you have a predisposition to heart disease, or you are one of the 2.8 million Australians taking statin medication for high LDL cholesterol levels, speak to your doctor about Ubiquinol supplementation.
3. Manage your stress
Many people are coping poorly with stress and anxiety. There is no doubt your emotional health should be taken seriously - just as seriously as physical health. Stress triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which may impact your blood pressure and heart rate. Health is both a mental and physical journey, and the two need to coexist if you want to maintain a healthy body.
4. Human connection
According to research , people who maintain healthy relationships throughout life typically have a lower risk of heart disease. Reduced stress and anxiety as a result of high quality, healthy relationships plays a significant role in these findings, not to mention the vital happiness chemicals serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, released as a consequence of love and bonding.
5. Exercise, daily
A lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Exercise has incredible benefits not only for your weight and mental health, but specifically for your heart. Cardio exercises, in particular, may lower blood pressure and strengthen your heart, as you slowly increase cardiovascular endurance. Find something you enjoy, whether it be power-walking, swimming or even dancing, and aim to move and increase your heart rate for at least 30 minutes every day.
Speak to your healthcare practitioner to find out which supplement is right for you. Always read the label and use only as directed.
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