The Beat Goes On
The beat is the most important part
of life’s song. That is why it is vital to keep the rhythm going.
Maintaining the health of the heart—the most important muscle in the
body—is probably the most significant thing you can do to stay alive.
There are several disorders related to the cardiovascular system, the
most common being heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, and atherosclerosis.
Heart attack (also known as heart failure)
is caused when the normal flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart
is disrupted. This results in damage to the heart muscle.
Arteriosclerosis is a thickening, loss
of elasticity and calcification of blood vessel walls. This reduces
circulation to the brain and limbs.
Atherosclerosis is a condition where
cholesterol, fats and cellular wastes deposit along arterial walls.
These deposits, known as plaques, because the blood vessel walls to
become petrified and thickened. At best, they only leave a small pathway
for the blood to flow and—at worst—can completely occlude (obstruct
or block) the channel of blood, causing damage to the heart and brain.
The cardiovascular system contains the
body’s pump (the heart) and pipes (the network of vessels responsible
for delivering nutrition to cells and tissues. There are many ways to
ensure longevity and peak performance in this area. A few major ones
Stress control—Try not to get worried over everything. Take time out for relaxation.
Proper diet—Eat plenty of fresh fruits
and vegetables and whole grain products. Avoid high animal protein/fat
meals and excessive dairy products.
Weight management—Obesity puts
a strain on the heart and circulation and makes it work much harder
in order to nourish a broader area.
Exercise—A great stress reliever,
exercise comes in a variety of enjoyable forms such as dancing, aerobics,
swimming, tennis, skiing, hiking, jogging and bicycling. All are great
ways to lower stress levels.
Rest—The nervous system is
connected to all other systems of the body and when it is on edge, the
rest of the body—including the cardiovascular system—will suffer.
Of course, in addition to all these
examples, supplements can greatly enhance the body’s ability to
stay well. Following are some nutritional approaches to heart health:
L-carnitine—This amino acid
nourishes and strengthens muscles and nutritionally supports the cardiovascular
system. Carnitine regulates fat oxidation in the body, and as the heart
produces most of its energy from fats, it is dependent upon L-carnitine
for this function. An L-carnitine deficiency causes extreme metabolic
impairment to heart tissue. L-carnitine helps build strong heart tissues,
as well as reduces blood triglycerides and helps with weight management
by helping the body to metabolize fat.
Garlic—A well-known traditional
herb, garlic is used for enhancing the body’s defense system and balancing
cholesterol levels in the blood. The sulfur compounds contained in garlic
are largely responsible for these effects.
Hawthorn Berries—These nutritional
nuggets have long been favored as a comprehensive nutritional approach
to heart health. Hawthorn is high in antioxidants called “proanthocyanidins”
that nourish the cardiovascular system. Numerous studies support the
benefits of hawthorn berries in balancing blood pressure and
heart rate and promoting blood circulation.
Magnesium—This mineral is a
“must” for the heart. However, many diets are deficient in this
vital nutrient and—with age—the body absorbs and retains less of
it. Magnesium helps regulate activity of the heart muscle, as well as
the nerves that keep the heart beating. It helps stabilize heart action,
thereby preventing arrhythmias, as well as promoting blood vessel health,
balancing blood pressure and inhibiting coronary artery spasms.
As you can see, by combining proper
lifestyle patterns and dietary habits, you can keep your ticker ticking
as long as possible. Be kind to your heart and it will keep you alive
and well for many years!
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This means it may help protect the body cells from oxidation. Oxidation
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damage can lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease.