Heart Month – How To Keep Your Heart Healthy

All things equal, heart disease will spell the demise to One in Three of us. So heart health is a prevalent concern in modern society, casting a shadow over the promise of longevity.  Despite advancements in medical science, questions linger: Have we truly understood the intricacies of heart health? Are conventional approaches sufficient for ensuring a robust cardiovascular system? In this exploration, we delve into the labyrinth of heart health, scrutinising the efficacy of medical practices while uncovering actionable strategies through lifestyle and nutrition. Nurturing a resilient heart and extending our journey to a healthier life.

Understanding Heart Issues:

The heart, a marvel of biological engineering, is the epicenter of vitality, tirelessly pumping oxygen-rich blood to every corner of the body. However, this vital organ is susceptible to an array of maladies:

  • Hypertension
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Palpitations
  • Heart failure
  • Dysrhythmia

To list only a few.

Heart health woman

These diseases are an ever-increasing risk due mainly to our poor nutrition which is filled to the brim with ultra-processed foods and high levels of processed carbs which put unnecessary strain on our hearts. Simply put, we are fuelling our bodies on the wrong fuel causing our engine to misfire.  While medical interventions have undoubtedly saved countless lives, questions arise regarding their comprehensiveness and their fundamental approach.

The Medical Perspective:

For decades, the medical profession has led the charge in tackling heart issues, emphasising risk factors like high cholesterol, hypertension, and smoking. Statins have become the industry standard in the treatment of heart disease, offering symptomatic relief and mitigating the progression of cardiovascular conditions. However, this type of treatment does not reverse the condition or even offer meaningful prevention. Rather this simply reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. Statins do not target the root cause of cardiovascular diseases, and (despite what the pharmaceutical industry would have us believe) their benefits are modest at best.  Taking statins does not make you immortal, and nor will it significantly reverse the health risks of a modern dietary lifestyle.  We would argue that the medical paradigm often adopts a reactive rather than a proactive stance, addressing symptoms rather than root causes. Moreover, the overreliance on pharmaceuticals raises concerns about potential side effects and long-term consequences. Have we been merely managing heart issues or actually preventing them?

Holistic Approach to Heart Health:

To achieve holistic well-being, a paradigm shift is imperative. While medical interventions can play a role, embracing a multifaceted approach is a key step. Nutrition, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle choices exert profound influences on cardiovascular health, offering a all encompasing approach to conventional treatments.

Diet – Nutrition as Medicine:

The adage “you are what you eat” reverberates with profound implications for heart health. Embracing a predominantly real-food diet, rich in healthy natural fats (not fake, factory-produced imitations) and plenty of protein (animal protein is best- yes that means red meat!) above-ground vegetables, limited quantities of whole grains, can mitigate the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts confer anti-inflammatory benefits, while the antioxidants present in colourful plants help combat oxidative stress. Its really pretty simple…the greatest improvement in cardiovascular health can be achieved by improving your diet. Lack of nutrients, high levels of sugar, and empty calories from our highly-processed diet are the main causes of our nationally declining levels of health.

Exercise – The Ultimate Elixir:

You cannot outrun a poor diet! Yet physical exercise still emerges as a potent elixir for heart health, this can foster endurance, strength, and resilience. Engaging in aerobic exercises like brisk walking, jogging, or cycling enhances cardiovascular fitness, fortifying the heart muscle and improving circulation. Strength training exercises bolster skeletal muscles, reducing the workload on the heart and promoting metabolic efficiency. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, accompanied by muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days. Utilising this potent strategy will revolutionise your health. Short walks throughout the week can be a great way to start.


Stress Management and Mindfulness:

In our fast-paced world, stress has emerged as a ubiquitous adversary to heart health. Chronic stress triggers a cascade of physiological responses, including elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and dysregulated cortisol levels, all of which undermine cardiovascular well-being. Embracing mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can have profound benefits, providing relaxation, emotional resilience, and personal equilibrium. All of these  can be useful techniques if you are prone to bouts of stress through lifestyle or work. However, note that stress management although a useful tool, on its own, is not enough to prevent cardiovascular disease. Stress is not always a major contributing factor. Everyone’s health is unique with different root causes and attributing factors. That’s why ProLongevity offers a completely personalised approach, founded upon “precision nutrition”.


Lifestyle Optimisation: Restorative sleep

Beyond diet and exercise, optimising lifestyle choices can profoundly influence heart health. Obtaining sufficient, good-quality sleep serves as a cornerstone of our well-being, facilitating cellular repair, improving cognitive function, and restoring hormonal balance. Sleep is the very foundation that our house of health is built upon. Strive for 8-9 hours of restorative sleep nightly. This will drastically improve your overall health. There’s no need for you to “hyper-optimise” with hundreds of supplements or starve yourself with drastic calorie deficits. Simply improving your sleep schedule will vastly reduce your risk of hypertension and heart disease. In addition, to improving cardiovascular health it can also help with weight management, so assisting with weight loss! We have written an entire blog about the effects of sleep you should read:

Eat to sleep blog

Alcohol & Tobacco

Abstaining from tobacco and moderating alcohol consumption can further augment cardiovascular resilience, shielding against the deleterious effects of nicotine and excess alcohol on the heart and vasculature. Alcohol & tobacco have many detrimental effects and zero benefits. Increased cancer risk from nicotine and the damage caused on your vital organs from alcohol. We highly recommend removing them from your diet (its amazing how many of us take up the “dry January” challenge. In truth we’re not opposed to modest amounts of alcohol just don’t over do it. For those who smoke and/or consume alcohol heavily, this can significantly contribute to cardiovascular disease, making cessation one of the most significant improvements for patients.

Conclusion: reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Navigating the labyrinth of heart health necessitates a multifaceted approach, transcending conventional paradigms to embrace holistic strategies. While medical interventions remain a vital option for people, integrating nutrition, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle changes is crucially important to develop the resilience of our cardiovascular system, empowering us to traverse the tapestry of life with vitality and vigour. Implementing even one of these simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can drastically improve your quality of life. Providing you with many more healthy years of living into old age.

Heart Month – How To Keep Your Heart Healthy
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