February is American Heart Month, and a great time to add heart-healthy foods, exercises and supplements in to your routine. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, so whether you’re managing type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension or you’re simply interested in cardiovascular protection, there are many lifestyle habits you can adopt. As always, consult your health care professional when it comes to implementing new exercises or supplemental products.
Eat heart-healthy foods
Michael Pollan said it best when he said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Hands down, a plant-based or Mediterranean diet takes the lead as the most cardioprotective diet. Concentrate on vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, healthy fats such as avocado and coconut, legumes and nuts, and berries for their anthocyanin content (which gives the fruits a purple hue and serves as an effective antioxidant).
Get your heart pumping!
If able, aim for at least a half hour of moderate intensity exercise per day, at approximately 70 percent of maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate, take 220 minus your age, then multiply by 0.70.
Example: Maximum heart rate for a 45-year-old
220-45 = 175 x 0.70 = 122
Try supplemental cardiovascular support
CoQ10 is a common supplement used to optimize mitochondrial function, and has antioxidant qualities. Choose a high-quality CoQ10 supplement, or its more “active” and typically more absorbable form, ubiquinol.
Hawthorn can be taken for cardiovascular protection, as well as used a general heart tonic. It is a broadly safe herb and can be used for extended lengths of time without repercussions.
Consider increasing garlic in the diet, or try garlic capsules. Garlic can help to mildly lower blood pressure, as well as decrease cholesterol.
Horse chestnut works as a venous tonic, helping blood flow to the heart, and modulates inflammation. This can be used in the case of venous insufficiency, such as edema or varicose veins.
Visit the Madison Park Pharmaca to check out our complete selection of herbs and supplements that can help support cardiovascular health, and get additional product tips and advice from our team of licensed experts. Here’s to you and a healthy heart!